Sourdough Baps

July 29, 2021
7 Ratings
Photo by Maurizio Leo
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • makes 8 baps
Author Notes

To the uninitiated, a bap is simply a soft, yeasted bun. It’s usually composed of a mix of fat—typically lard—some sugar, and perhaps a touch of milk. It’s not a sweet bun, but rather a more neutral-tasting affair, playing the support role for sandwiches of all kinds. The hallmark characteristics of these wonderful buns are the light-colored crust, soft texture, and flour-dusted topside. In my naturally leavened approach below, we’ll change things up by omitting lard in favor of vegetable oil, a fat more commonly kept in U.S. kitchens. This method also provides a little more flavor and increased digestibility thanks to the lengthy natural fermentation time.

Traditionally, baps forgo much in the form of last-minute embellishment and simply opt for a white-flour dusted top. I like to brush the dough with a light wash of whole milk before dusting on the flour to give them a little extra color when baking, but if you want to make these sourdough baps completely vegan, skip the milk wash and dust on only the flour. They’ll still color wonderfully thanks to the residual sugars present in the dough, but if you’re of the other camp and want to go with maximum shine (and eke out a little more rise, too), brush them with an egg wash (one whole egg and one tablespoon milk, whisked), then dust on the flour.

These baps are delicious for breakfast with sausage and eggs, but they also make for a stellar hamburger bun. —Maurizio Leo

What You'll Need
  • Levain
  • 57 grams bread flour
  • 57 grams water
  • 23 grams ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 11 grams caster or superfine sugar
  • Dough
  • 518 grams bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 310 grams water
  • 64 grams vegetable or canola oil
  • 42 grams caster or superfine sugar (or granulated sugar if that’s all you have)
  • 11 grams fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, or 1 large egg and 1 tablespoon milk, for wash (optional)
  1. Make the levain (9:00 p.m.)

    In the evening, when your sourdough starter is ripe (when you’d typically give it a refreshment), make the levain. In a large-size jar (this levain will rise relatively high, so be sure to give it plenty of headspace), combine 57 grams bread flour, 57 grams water, 23 grams ripe sourdough starter, and 11 grams caster sugar. Cover the jar loosely and let the levain ripen overnight at warm room temperature (I keep mine around 74 to 76°F/23 to 24°C).
  2. Mix the dough (9:00 a.m.)

    To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, on low speed, mix the 518 grams flour, 310 grams water, 42 grams caster sugar, 11 grams salt, and the ripe levain until combined and no dry bits of flour remain. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for 3 to 5 minutes, until the dough clumps around the dough hook. This is a firm dough at this point until we begin to add the oil after a rest.

    Let the dough rest for 10 minutes in the mixing bowl, uncovered.

    It will take several minutes to mix in all the oil for these baps. Turn the mixer on to low speed and begin to add the vegetable oil, about a teaspoon at a time, while the mixer is running. Patiently add more oil only as the previous addition has been absorbed. While mixing, continue adding all the oil until the dough smooths out and holds together in a cohesive mass.

    Transfer the dough to another large bowl or container for bulk fermentation.
  3. Bulk ferment the dough (9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)

    Cover the dough with a reusable airtight cover and let it rise at warm room temperature (76°F/24°C) for a total of 3½ hours. During this time, you’ll give the dough three sets of “stretches and folds” (see next step for explanation) to give it additional strength. The first set is performed 30 minutes after the start of bulk fermentation, and subsequent sets at 30-minute intervals, then the dough will rest for the remaining 2 hours. Set a timer for 30 minutes and let the dough rest, covered. After 30 minutes, give the dough its first set of stretches and folds.

    For each set of stretches and folds: With wet hands, grab the north side (the side farthest from you) of the dough and stretch it up and over to the south side. Then, in the same way, fold the south side up to the north. Then, perform two more folds, one from east to west, and one west to east.

    After performing the three sets of stretches and folds, let the dough rest, covered with the same airtight cover, in the bulk fermentation container for the remainder of bulk fermentation.
  4. Shape the dough (1:00 p.m.)

    This dough can be proofed on a parchment or silicone-lined full sheet pan (18x26-inches) or two half-sheet pans (13x18-inches). Uncover the bulk fermentation container and lightly flour the top of the dough. Using a bowl scraper, gently scrape the dough out to your work surface. Then, using a bench scraper, divide the dough into eight equal portions (each weighing about 125 grams). Using the bench scraper in one hand, shape each portion into a very tight ball with a seam on the bottom. I like to use my bench scraper at a 45° angle to the work surface to push the dough against the surface, creating tension along the sides and top of the piece of dough. Once shaped, transfer the piece to the prepared sheet pan.
  5. Proof the shaped dough (1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

    Cover the sheet pan with a large reusable piece of plastic or bag and seal shut. Proof the dough at a warm temperature (74 to 76°F/23 to 24°C is ideal) for about 2 hours. The dough is ready to bake when it has puffed up, feels light and airy, and a gentle poke springs back very slowly. If there is any resistance felt in the dough when poked, let it proof for another 15 minutes and check again.
  6. Bake the baps (3:30 p.m.)

    Position a rack in the middle of the oven; heat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
    Pour the ¼ cup of whole milk (or whisk the egg and 1 tablespoon whole milk) into a small bowl and gather a pastry brush. Additionally, gather a small amount of bread flour and a fine sieve to dust flour on the top of the rounds.
    Once the oven is preheated, use the pastry brush to brush on a thin layer of milk or egg wash onto each round. Then, use the sieve to tap out a light dusting of flour onto the round. Alternatively, skip the wash and simply dust the baps with flour.

    Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, rotate the pan back to front, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (175°C), and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until the baps are golden.

    Once the baps are baked, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • Karen Brooks
    Karen Brooks
  • Liz Summers
    Liz Summers
  • Maurizio Leo
    Maurizio Leo
Maurizio is the software engineer-turned-baker behind the award-winning sourdough website, The Perfect Loaf. Since baking his first loaf of bread, he's been obsessed with adjusting the balance between yeast and bacteria, tinkering with dough strength and hydration, and exploring everything sourdough. His New York Times Bestselling sourdough cookbook, The Perfect Loaf, is now available.

19 Reviews

Tiff August 10, 2023
Just returned from Ireland and wanted to recreate an amazing breakfast Bap I had in County Clare. This is a perfect analog for the original one. As always, I'm grateful for your great recipes!
Smaug July 15, 2023
I suppose I'll have to try this, though I generally just wing it on buns; I often make just one or two with starter discards. I also typically use about 75g. dough for a bun (3 1/2" which is what mostly threw me about this- 125 g. seems like an awful lot, even accounting for differences in the consistency of the dough. By the by, I find it useful to use English muffin rings with buns; it leaves a vertical side that makes it easier to split the bun and eliminates thin edges that burn when toasted.
Smaug July 15, 2023
ps- I also wonder about the term "bench scraper", which seems to have come into common use among recipe writers. I suppose its taken from the woodworking tool of the same name, which looks similar although it functions quite differently, but woodworking takes place on benches, whereas cooking is typically on counters or tables. I generally stick to the traditional "dough scraper", though "counter scraper" has a certain rhythmic appeal.
Karen B. August 25, 2022
Well worth the time and effort. Great as a hamburger bun. Toasted as a base for sloppy Joe's or pulled pork sandwiches. Husband likes them split, toasted and spread with butter and marmalade for breakfast.
Maurizio L. August 26, 2022
So glad to hear these worked out for you, Karen!
Raydee8 August 26, 2021
Looking forward to making these….but prefer using lard as you mentioned… many grams?? Same as oil? Thanks!
Maurizio L. August 26, 2021
Hey there! Yes, I'd say that would be a good place to start.
Liz S. August 26, 2021
The second time I made this recipe, I used lard (non hydrogenated fresh leaf lard) and used 64 grams ... same as the oil. I liked the lard version best ... but I did also sub 40 grams of potato flour for same amount of bread flour. I often add some potato flour to "roll" recipes or other bread that I'd like a bit softer. My bread flour (WheatMT) is a hard red spring flour.
Liz S. August 26, 2021
Oh ... I warmed the lard to liquid ... you probably know that :)
Maurizio L. August 26, 2021
Awesome, Liz! I need to try this myself as well 🙂
Raydee8 August 29, 2021
Nice! I was wondering about liquefying the lard…and love the potato flour suggestion too…..thanks!
Liz S. August 29, 2021
I feel like I need to do a full disclosure, just in case ... with any bread/sourdough recipe ... so much is dependent on each person's conditions: flour, temp, humidity, method, etc., etc. AND experience with knowing when dough is "ready" at each stage.

I am a huge fan of Maurizio and several of his recipes are my absolute favorites ... BUT ... I vary in method. Long story about why which is not important. I mostly skip overnight levain. I put in stand mixer bowl, in this order: water, starter, oil, flour, salt. (this recipe has some sugar so I add with the salt). Then, I mix at slow speed until all incorporated. Let rest for 30-60 minutes. Then mix at gradually higher speed until full speed and until the dough is on the hook. Typically, I mix late afternoon, then an hour or 2 of "bulk" at room temp, then refrigerate overnight. Shape, rise and bake in the morning. This works FOR ME :) There are lots of reasons for levain and other methods and Maurizio explains all on his site.

The other thing. With these enriched rolls, I found that I needed lower temp and less time than recipe. I don't know why. But, just a heads up to keep an eye on things your first round.
Maurizio L. August 30, 2021
What you said there in your comment is exactly what I hope for every baker in the long run: they adapt to the always-changing conditions in their kitchen to make the best bread possible. What works for me will likely need changing in your own kitchen, and vice versa, and I'm always hoping to teach a little more about the "why" something is done to help bakers build up their own intuition. For me, the best thing about baking is the variability, it keeps me on my toes and always engages my critical thinking. And then at the end of it all, we get to eat delicious and healthy bread 🙂 Thanks for the comments as always, Liz!
Kiwi5 August 6, 2021
These came out perfectly. Thanks for the great recipes. Hamburgers are on the menu for tonight
Maurizio L. August 6, 2021
So glad to hear that! Send one my way, please 🙂 Enjoy!
Abryce August 3, 2021
Absolutely husband is from Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 …had a bacon roll..yum yum 🤤 is all I can say..graci
Maurizio L. August 3, 2021
Huge praise coming from you guys! Thank you and enjoy 🙂
Liz S. August 1, 2021
I liked these a lot!! I followed the timeline in the recipe, differed from method slightly as I added all ingredients including oil (canola) and mixed at high speed (after initial incorporation) until all dough was on the hook. Despite a heat wave here in Montana, because I refrigerate my house to 68-70F, I let the bulk and the shaped rise go 1 hour and .5 hour longer. I used the milk wash and flour and they are gorgeous and delicious. I think I have made all of your bun recipes and these plus the ciabatta rolls tie for my personal favorites. Flavor, texture, how they hold ingredients ... both work very well for me. Thank you again, Maurizio! (Photo results on my IG post)
Maurizio L. August 2, 2021
So happy to hear all of this, Liz! Great work on the adjustments to suit your climate, and even though you added everything at the get-go, it'll still work in the end as long as the dough is mixed to sufficient development—which it sounds like you did 🙂 Enjoy!