How to Make Super Soft Charcoal Burger Buns | Yudane Method

Activated charcoal is a flavourless ingredient that can be used to turn various foods black for aesthetic purposes. It being Halloween I decided to make some spooky burger buns.

Of course, activated charcoal was not designed as a food colouring. It is commonly used for medical purposes to alleviate food poisoning or in the treatment of drug overdoses. It is perfectly safe to consume and will not have any effect on most people.

If you are on certain types of medication, then you should consult a doctor about it because activated charcoal may prevent some medication from being absorbed by the stomach.

Right, medical warnings out the way, let’s get on with the burger buns. I chose the yudane method because my original yudane burger buns worked so well in the past. It is my go-to burger bun recipe.

The yudane makes the buns extra soft and light and that just adds to the weirdness of this recipe. Looking at a solid black piece of bread you would not think it would be very soft or light, but when you bite into it, it totally surprises you.

Here is a sourdough loaf I made using charcoal.

This recipe makes 4 large burger buns. To make more simply multiply all the ingredients.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


For the yudane

50g (1.75oz) white bread flour

50g (1.75oz) boiling water

2g (0.07oz) activated charcoal powder


For the main dough –

250g (8.8oz) white bread flour

150g (5.3oz) cold milk*

4g (0.14oz) instant dry yeast or 4.8g (0.16oz) active dry yeast or 12g (0.42oz) fresh yeast

20g (0.7oz) sugar

20g (0.7oz) softened butter

1 egg yolk

6g (0.21oz) salt

5g (0.17oz) activated charcoal powder

1 egg white for glazing


*To learn more about dough temperature control click here.

The flour I use has a protein content of 13%. If your flour is weaker, then you may need to lower the hydration.

If you are using active dry yeast, then you may need to let it sit in the water for 10 minutes before adding the other ingredients or else it could take a lot longer to raise the dough.

If you are curious about why the dough contains butter, egg, and sugar, click the links to learn more about the effects those ingredients have on bread dough.


For the burgers –

500g (1.1lb) beef, minced

70g (2.5oz) onions, finely chopped

15g (0.5oz) garlic, finely chopped

2g (0.07oz) thyme, finely chopped

7g (0.24oz) salt

2g (0.07oz) ground black pepper

10g (0.35oz) Worcestershire sauce

50g (1.75oz) stale bread soaked in water and then squeezed dry

Mix all ingredients, divide into 4 and shape into patties. Leave in the fridge for later.


  1. Make the yudane. Combine the flour and charcoal powder. Mix well. Add the boiling water and mix until there is no dry flour left. Cover and leave to cool down. You can refrigerate this mix to control the final dough temperature if your kitchen is quite warm.
  2. Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the milk, yeast, salt, egg yolk, sugar, and charcoal powder. Mix well. Add the butter, yudane, and the flour. Mix until there is no dry flour left.
  3. Tip the dough out on the table and knead for 6 minutes using the slap & fold method. *Desired dough temperature 24C (75F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
  4. Cover and ferment for 2 hours.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Pre-shape and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Final shape and place on a non-stick paper lined baking tray.
  7. Cover and final proof for 1.5 hours. *During the final hour of fermentation pre-heat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
  8. Brush the buns with the egg white. Place the stencil on and dust with flour. Remove carefully and repeat with the other buns.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes.
  10. Bake the burgers at 250C (482F) fan off for 12 minutes. Add the cheese and bake for one more minute. I let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking. This helps them cook more evenly and quickly.


Enjoy your spooky burgers!


Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.

Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.

Watch the video here

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