Why Do Hamburger Buns Have Sesame Seeds?

Sesame seeds were initially popularized in the late 1800s and have become widely utilized for multiple purposes. The flavorsome seed can be found in many tahinis and creative vegetarian dishes. However, sesame seeds are overwhelmingly associated with being on hamburger buns, which range from healthy wholewheat buns to ones found in fast food chains.

Hamburger buns have sesame seeds due to the subtle and nutty flavor they add. In addition, sesame seeds enhance hamburger buns’ aesthetic appeal and textural makeup. The usual dullness of brown or white hamburger buns was permanently decreased with the introduction of sesame seeds.

why do hamburger buns have sesame seeds

Globally, sesame seeds and hamburger buns of all shapes, colors, and sizes go together like hamburgers and french fries. However, before the late 1800s, hamburger buns were seedless, which has left many people wondering how they became a global food staple and the household item they are today.

Who began placing sesame seeds on hamburger buns?

In the early mid-1900s, McDonald’s ran an advertisement campaign that was so successful that it resulted in sesame seeds becoming a global household item.

McDonald’s was not the first company to discover sesame seeds and their various benefits, although they permanently placed the multi-function seed directly into mainstream consciousness.

In 1891, an Oklahoma native known as Oscar Weber Billy was the first person to place sesame seeds on a hamburger bun, a move that would eventually revolutionize global hamburger bun production.

While Oscar Weber Billy’s claim to have been the first person to put sesame seeds on a bun has frequently been disputed. A Time magazine article published in 1955 was the first mainstream reference to publish the article that referenced it.

The magazine article was based on a fast-food chain store in California that was affectionally known as Bob’s Big Boy.

Moreover, the magazine article claimed that Bob’s Big Boy’s owner had initially placed sesame seeds on his hamburger buns following an unusual request from a customer. On that unforgettable day, the customer requested that his hamburger be different from the traditional offerings. 

So, the owner produced a mouth-watering double patty burger topped with the unheralded sesame seed.

How do sesame seeds not fall off the bun?

Over the decades since sesame seeds have become globally popularized, many techniques have been developed to ensure they do not simply fall off the hamburger bun.

The primary method currently utilized by fast food chains and individuals alike is to carefully place the sesame seeds on the proofed dough before the hamburger bun bakes in the oven. However, even if the procedure is followed perfectly, you should accept that almost ten percent of the sesame seeds will drop off during baking.

Sophisticated bakeries worldwide implemented a newer baking technique. The technique states that the baker should lightly apply melted butter to the hamburger bun after removing sesame seeds from the oven to prevent any loss of sesame seeds during the baking process.

Additionally, people have experimented with applying milk and egg during different stages of the baking process to varying degrees of success. However, while these techniques are effective and reliable, they are not implemented by fast food chains as their focus is mainly on profit, production speed, and efficiency.

Are Sesame Seeds Flavorsome or Just For Show?

Sesame seeds have a subtle but distinctive nutty taste to them. While they are mainly applied to hamburger buns for aesthetic appeal and to liven them up, many people adore the seeds’ scent.

Sesame seeds positioned on the top of a hamburger bun are flavorsome. However, the taste is incredibly light and almost unnoticeable to the everyday consumer.

The seeds’ flavor is more pronounced when used for different reasons, such as in vegetarian dishes and traditional tahini meals. Sesame seed lovers prefer the subtle, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor of the seeds in their favorite dishes.

Moreover, experienced chefs, cooks, and bakers have realized that sesame seeds can absorb and enhance other flavors they are combined with. The absorption properties of sesame seeds have opened up a whole new world of opportunities and scents, demonstrating the considerable versatility of the often-overlooked seed.

Which Is Better Black Or White Sesame Seeds? 

It all comes down to personal choice and preference. Some claim white sesame seeds are more flavorsome and useful, while others assert that black sesame seeds are the way to go.

Generally, white sesame seeds are found on fast food and bakery hamburger buns as they are aesthetically appealing to the average consumer. Furthermore, white sesame seeds are more frequently utilized as they are associated with a sweeter, nuttier, and subtle taste to the tongue.

White sesame seeds are more desirable to the general population as black sesame seeds have a much more bitter taste. While some people prefer the bitter taste, most consumers prefer the subtlety, sweet, and nutty taste given off by white sesame seeds.

How To Activate Sesame Seeds’ Unique Tastes and Textures?

To release the desired flavors of sesame seeds, you must cook them individually or with hamburger buns.

The first and easiest method to cook sesame seeds is to place a handful of dry seeds in a pan at a mild to medium temperature. Once in the pan, you should allow them to cook evenly for between three and five minutes while continuously stirring them to prevent the seeds from burning.

After a few minutes, the seeds’ color should transform into an aesthetically appealing shade of golden brown. The traditional method utilized for over five decades is the second way to cook them.

The standard method requires you to place the sesame seeds into an oven with a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once in the oven, stir them around every three minutes to prevent them from drying. After fifteen minutes, the seed’s color should be golden brown when they are ready to be served.

Final Word

Sesame seeds are found on hamburger buns since they significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal of traditionally plain and boring buns. 

In addition, the seed adds to the bun’s texture and can be related to a nutty, sweet, and subtle flavor on the tongue. It is claimed that sesame seeds were first placed on hamburger buns by Oscar Weber Billy in 1891.

However, many dispute the Oklahoma native’s claims, and the history of sesame seeds remains murky. 

Time magazine’s 1955 article is the first mainstream demonstration of using sesame seeds on buns, with the practice becoming commonplace globally following McDonald’s widely successful advertising campaign in the mid-1900s.

Related Articles



Skip to content