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Homemade Hamburger Buns

Ingredients

Yields: 12 to 16 rolls
Cook time: 40 minutes

1 cup milk (110 degrees F.)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, room temperature and lightly beaten
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided*
3 teaspoons instant yeast (I use SAF Instant Active Dry Yeast)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water (optional)
Toppings: Sesame, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, and/or coarse salt (optional)

* You can also substitute whole wheat flour or rye flour for some of the bread flour

Instructions

In a stand-up mixer or a large 5 quart bowl, combine all the ingredients in the order given except the Egg Wash and Toppings. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface (I use a nonstick cooking spray), and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
After resting, shape the dough as desired (see types of rolls below). Divide dough into 12 to 16 equal parts. Shape into smooth balls, flatten slightly, and place on a silicone mat covered baking sheet. For soft-sided buns, place them on a baking sheet 1/2-inch apart so they'll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them 3-inches apart.
For hamburger buns - Flatten the balls into 3 1/2-inch disks. Flatten the cylinders slightly (as dough rises more in the center so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top).

For hot-dog buns - Roll the balls into cylinders, 4 1/2-inches in length. Flatten the cylinders slightly (as dough rises more in the center so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top).

For 16 small rolls - Weigh dough into 2-ounce pieces.

For 13 large rolls - Weigh dough into 3-ounce pieces.
Bake Immediately After Making:

Cover rolls loosely with plastic film and let rise in a warm place for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until almost doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).

Oven Bread Rising: Sometimes I use my oven for the rising. Turn the oven on for a minute or so, then turn it off again. This will warm the oven and make it a great environment for rising bread. If you can't comfortably press your hand against the inside of the oven door, the oven is too hot. Let it stand open to cool a bit.

Cool or Refrigerator Bread Rise: If I don't have the time to wait for the rise to finish or I know that I will be interrupted before the completed rise, I do a cool rise. A cool rise is when the dough is place in the refrigerator and left to rise slowly overnight approximately 8 to 12 hours. I usually do this after the first rise and the dough has been shaped into the rolls.

If desired, after rising and before baking, brush rolls with Egg Glaze and Toppings of your choice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread is between 200 and 210 degrees F. using your digital thermometer. 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.