Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

makes 8 buns

12 ounces (slightly less than 2 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour 

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast 

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 Tablespoons honey

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk

1/4 cup potato flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)

3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons lukewarm water

1/4 cup (2 ounces) orange juice

1 extra large egg

For the egg wash

1 extra large egg

1 Tablespoon water

Wheat bran (optional)

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, honey, butter, dry milk, potato flour, water, orange juice and egg in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes.  You can also make this by hand or in a bread machine.  Adjust the dough's consistency with additional flour or water as needed but remember, the more flour you add, the heavier and drier your buns will be.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball.  Lightly spray the inside of a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the dough in the bowl and loosely cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a draft-free space to rise until doubled in size (this will take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Gently deflate the dough and divide into 8 equal portions.  Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball and flatten into a 3 1/2-inch disc.  Transfer discs to a parchment lined baking sheet spacing them 2 1/2-inches apart.  Cover lightly with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a warm, draft-free space.

Preheat the oven to 400º F.  In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and one tablespoon of water.  Brush the top of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with wheat bran if using.  Bake the buns until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Slice and use for your favorite burger or sandwich recipe.  Enjoy!

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