I have searched high and low for a light, fluffy, whole wheat-ish bun recipe. My previous attempts had always failed, giving me dense or small buns that tasted good but were a bit of a chore to eat.
I found a recipe for light wheat rolls and it has worked for me on several occasions. This may be due to the high yeast content, but the reason really doesn't concern me. These are light and fluffy, and I can make large hamburger-sized buns or divide them into 32 small dinner rolls with a single batch.
Mix yeast into water and let stand for about 10 minutes:
- 1 3/4 cup warm (yeast-friendly temperature) water
- 2 packages active dry yeast (1 package is about 2 1/4 tsp)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine
- 1 beaten egg
Mix yeast and water into flour mixture and then add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (I love my KitchenAid mixer for this). Add more flour if necessary. Then knead either in stand mixer or on well-floured surface until smooth and elastic - about 8 minutes. The dough should be sticky but not so much that it gets all over your hands - it should hold mostly together.
Oil the bowl, turn the dough to coat, then cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled. At that point, punch it down and let it rise again. If my kitchen is warm the first rise takes about 45 minutes and the second one only half an hour or so.
Turn out onto floured surface again, divide into about 16 large buns or 32 small ones (anything that's a multiple of 8 is easy to divide). Roll into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. I choose to cover them with greased/oiled plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until buns have doubled in size. They will look large and puffy and round. I don't usually butter the tops of the buns but if you like the glossy look feel free to do that. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake for 11-15 minutes depending on the size. Be careful not to have them too close to the top or bottom elements - I find the tops brown very quickly if I don't put them on the centre rack. They should be golden brown when finished, and when you turn them over they should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let them cool on a rack and enjoy!