I like making things from scratch and seriously, who in their right minds would make buns from scratch? The commercial buns are light and fluffy. Great toasted with meat patties or frankfurters. But the idea kept taunting me and finally I gave in and decided to plunge right in. This recipe from the King Arthur Flour site was really good. The buns are more crunchy than fluffy and denser than the bites of air you'd get from commercial buns.
This yields 3 buns.
1 teaspoons granulated sugar
0.8 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon water
5 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon warm milk (41°C to 46°C)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds or coarse salt (optional)
1) In a large bowl, add the sugar, yeast, water, milk, oil, salt and 1/4 cup of flour. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Gradually add flour, 3 tablespoons at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.
2) Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Because this dough is so slack, you may find that a bowl scraper or bench knife can be helpful in scooping up the dough and folding it over on itself.
3) Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 3 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls into 3 1/2-inch disks. For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they'll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart.
5) Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
6) Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 204°C. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy.
7) Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 87.7°C. (A dough thermometer takes the guesswork out of this.)
8) When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.