Remember about 13 or 14 years ago when everyone and their dog shunned even the thought of allowing a morsel of bread past their lips? Well, a bandwagoner I am not so I never really got on board with this whole bread = bad thing. I mean, come on! Bread is AMAZING! Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that cutting out bread might very well lead to miraculous weight loss for some and there are a whole ton of people out there who literally can’t stomach the stuff due to allergies and sensitivities but, oh man, it is a pretty fantastic thing.
Making bread yourself does take a little bit of time but it is as easy as anything! Half of the process feels like you're a kid again playing with modelling clay and the rest is pretty much just waiting. Even if it was more difficult, it would be totally worth it just to have your house basking in the heavenly smell of fresh bread as it bakes in your oven.
Here is my tried and true recipe for buns. Feel free to divide the dough into 12 to make perfect burger-sized buns or 24 for the tastiest little dinner rolls you ever did eat!
Easy Homemade Buns
Makes 12 burger buns or 24 dinner rolls
¾ cup milk
¼ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup cold water
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus some for shaping the buns*
2 ¼ tsp (1 package) quick-rise dry yeast
7 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk or water)
2 tbsp sesame and/or poppy seeds, optional
In a small pot over medium heat, heat the milk and butter until all of the butter is melted and the mixture is quite warm but not yet simmering.
Meanwhile, combine 2 cups of flour with the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Set aside.
Once the milk mixture is hot, remove it from the heat and pour in the cold water to bring the temperature down a bit. This will help ensure that the yeast is activated without killing it with too much heat.
Pour the liquid into the flour mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour and begin to knead either with your hands or the dough hook attachment for your stand mixer. The dough should be a bit tacky but if it seems too sticky, add a bit more flour while kneading. The dough should be smooth and ready after about 6 minutes of kneading in your stand mixer or 8 minutes by hand.
Form the dough into a ball and plop into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft free place for 30 – 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal pieces for burger buns or 24 for dinner rolls and shape into smooth little buns… it was really difficult not to laugh after typing “smooth little buns”…
Place the buns on a greased cookie sheet leaving a few inches in between each and cover with the clean kitchen towel. Pop the cookie sheet back into that warm, draft free spot and allow to rise for 25 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400F and prepare your egg wash.
Once risen, brush each bun with some egg wash and, if you fancy, sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds. Bake burger sized buns for 13 – 16 minutes and dinner rolls for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden all the way around.
Allow the buns to cool slightly on a wire rack before diving in for the cook’s taste test (aka the saddest looking bun)!
*Feel free to try a mixture of whole wheat and white flours! I’ve made this recipe with half whole wheat/half white and they turned out great – I would note that if you’re looking for a super tender and light bun, don’t go with 100% whole wheat as it tends to weigh these guys down.