This blog has been focusing on buns a lot lately.  And I confess – I'm the culprit for the monotony (if you're not a bun lover); or inspiration (if you are).

I happen to love buns. Fat, golden little loaves, one-serving wonders that baby your burger, harbor your hotdog, or simply serve as a base for melting butter.

And buns aren't just for cookouts.

Imagine your favorite tarragon chicken salad on a soft, buttery bun. Stuff a bun with peanut butter, honey, and chunks of banana; or layer it with lunch meat to make a double-fisted Dagwood. Any and all sandwich fillings are just as tempting on a bun as between two slices of bread.

Trying to eat healthier, and add fiber to your diet? Try our Hamburger or Hot Dog Bun recipe with 2 cups of King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour for an equal amount of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Deli Rye Rolls are perfect for one of my favorite sandwiches: liverwurst and onion; or think a fat Reuben. Harvest Grains Buns go especially well with cold cuts and cheese.

And when Thanksgiving rolls around again, make our Stuffing Loaf as buns: layered with leftover turkey and a touch of cranberry sauce, they're the perfect Black Friday, on-the-go lunch.

Three weeks ago, we focused on Beautiful Burger Buns, golden-yellow egg and butter buns perfect for Memorial Day and the start of grilling season. Last week it was No-Knead Cheese Burger Buns, soft, tender buns scented with cheddar.

Today we're following a slightly different path. These Deli-Style Hard Rolls are high-rising and light textured, chewier than the typical soft roll, with a crunchy crust. 

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

1/3 cup (43g) Hi-maize Fiber*
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder or sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter or 2 tablespoons (25g) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (170g) lukewarm water
2 1/4 cups (269g) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

*No Hi-maize? We love the way it adds fiber to baked goods "invisibly;" but if it's not in your pantry, substitute additional bread flour or all-purpose flour. Check the dough texture as you knead; it shouldn't be "gnarly," but rather should form a smooth ball. You may need to increase the water by a tablespoon, since flour is higher-protein than Hi-maize.

Mix until everything comes together.

Switch to the dough hook, and knead until the dough is smooth. This takes about 7 minutes at low-medium speed using a stand mixer.

You may also choose to use the dough cycle on your bread machine. Let the dough go all the way through the cycle, which will be through its first rise.

If you've kneaded the dough by hand or in a mixer, transfer it to a lightly greased bowl or other container, to rise.

I like to use an 8-cup measure – it gives me a quick visual as to the dough's progress.

Cover the dough and let it rise until it's noticeably puffy, about 1 hour. It should just about double in bulk.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and divide it into 6 pieces (about 3 1/4 ounces each).

Easiest way to do this? A scale.

So, 581g divided by 6 = ...

97g, more or less.

Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball.

Grease the wells of a hamburger bun pan, or lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.

Dip the top half of each roll into water...

...then into the seeds of your choice. I'm using sesame seeds here; poppy seeds are equally pretty/tasty.

Place the rolls into the cups of the bun pan, or onto the baking sheet, spacing them evenly on the sheet and leaving a couple of inches between them.

Press gently to flatten.

The buns will shrink back a bit; see how they don't quite cover the bottom of the pan? That's OK; they'll spread as they rise.

Cover the pan, and let the buns rise until they're puffy, 30 to 40 minutes.

They won't rise a ton, but you don't want them to. They'll rise some more once they go into the oven, and you don't want them TOO tall; these are sandwich buns, after all.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Bake the rolls until they're a deep golden brown, 22 to 26 minutes.

Remove them from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool.

So, why use a hamburger bun pan, instead of just a baking sheet?

The sides of the bun pan impart immediate heat, allowing the roll to rise its highest. In addition, the pan contains the roll, forcing it to rise up, rather than out.

So is a bun pan necessary? No, not at all. Does it make a difference? Yes.

If desired, just before serving, reheat the rolls in a 375°F oven for 5 minutes or so, to crisp.

As I mentioned earlier, these rolls are perfect for pulled pork and other substantial fillings, fillings that might lay waste to a softer, more delicate bun.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Deli-Style Hard Rolls.

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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was an award-winning Maine journalist (favorite topics: sports and food) before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. Hired to write the newly launched Baker’s Catalogue, PJ became the small but growing company’s sixth employee.PJ wa...
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