The Stock Pot: Homemade Sandwich Buns
Now, wait just a second. I know what you’re thinking. Why in the world would I make sandwich buns from scratch when I can go out and purchase some that come in a plastic bag? And to that, I would tell you: Because once you’ve tasted these homemade buns – they’re sturdy, yet light and tender, you will say, “Why in the world would I buy buns in a bag when I can make these at home?”
If you’ve never baked your own bread before, this is the recipe for you. There isn’t a lot of labor involved – your stand mixer will do most of the mixing and kneading – you’ll just massage the brioche-like dough gently for a few minutes on your lightly floured counter into a soft, supple ball and then you let it do its thing for about an hour or two. Next, you deflate the risen dough and shape it into round balls, let it rise and shine again while you make a cup of tea; pop them into a warm oven and fifteen minutes later, your house will smell amazing and you’ll be watching the clock until they’re cool enough to slice in half so you can begin making your sandwich masterpiece. It’s totally worth diving in and trying. Trust me! Have I ever steered you wrong before?
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cups bread flour
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg, room temperature, lightly beaten, plus one for the egg wash
- Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside. In a glass measuring cup, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours and salt. Add in the milk, butter, egg (save the other for the egg wash you’ll brush on the tops right before baking) and yeast mixture and mix for 5 minutes. The dough will pull away from the sides but will stick a little at the bottom. Lightly flour your work surface and scrape the dough onto it. Knead a few times until the dough is soft but still a little tacky (resist the urge to add more flour as this will make the buns tough). Shape the dough into a ball and place in the oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Gently press on the dough with your fist to deflate it and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, roll each piece into tight, smooth rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. Gently press on the tops of the buns with your fingers to slightly flatten the rolls. Cover with pieces of parchment paper that have been lightly oiled with non-stick spray – sprayed side down – and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow the buns to rise until they’re nearly doubled in size, another 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Whisk the reserved egg with a tablespoon of water ; brush each bun with a little egg wash and bake until the buns are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
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