For the past three weekends, I’ve tried out different recipes for homemade buns. We were looking for a nice soft bun that would be perfect for sliders, little burgers or pulled pork.
After a bit of tweaking, I think I’ve found the recipe! It is basically a milk dough recipe, so the main form of enrichment is milk (whole, skim, buttermilk, non-dairy… all should work). Egg and sugar are also added, giving this bread a really soft, fluffy texture.
The recipe is based on one from Peter Reinhart’s bread book. I’ve made many recipes from his book, and all have been superb. I tried his milk dough recipe with three variations:
- All white flour,
- A mix of white and whole wheat flour,
- Different quantities of egg.
In the end, the all-white bread recipe turned out the best. We were both hoping that a whole wheat version would be good but, while the buns were still very tasty, they just didn’t have the same “slider bun” consistency we were looking for.
I cut the original recipe in half, and this gave me 14 (50 g) slider buns. They freeze really well and this is a good amount for the two of us.
Making bread is not as difficult as some people may think. It’s like all things, the more you practice, the better you get and the more you know what the dough should feel like while you’re mixing it. And the taste? Well, like most homemade food, the taste is just so much better than the store-bought kind!
These buns are so light and soft. They’re the perfect size for a little slider-burger and are fantastic toasted or plain. Hopefully you will agree!
Soft Homemade Slider Buns
- 4.5 g (1/2 tbsp) instant yeast
- 213 g (3/4 cup + 3 tbsp) lukewarm milk (any kind)
- 397 g (3 cups + 2 tbsp) white all-purpose flour
- 39 g (3 tbsp) sugar
- 43 g (3 tbsp) vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter / coconut oil
- 25 g egg (1/2 large egg)
- Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm milk and let stand for about 5 minutes.
- Crack 1 large egg into a bowl and whisk very well. Measure out half of the mixture (~25 g for a large egg, or about 2 tbsp). Reserve the remaining egg to use as an egg wash for the buns.
- Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, oil and egg into a mixing bowl, then add the milk. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix at lowest speed for 2 minutes (or stir with wooden spoon by hand). The dough should be coarse and slightly sticky.
- Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes (or knead on a floured surface by hand), until the dough is soft and smooth.
- On the counter, knead the dough by hand for 1 minute, form into a ball and place in a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover, place in a warm spot, and wait until it has doubled in size (1.5 to 2 hours).
- Line a square 9×9" pan with lightly-oiled parchment paper. If you have a scale, weigh the buns into 50 g pieces. If you don't have a scale, divide the dough into 14 equal pieces. To shape the buns, pat the dough into a rectangle, then bring all four corners into the centre and pinch them together. Turn the ball over, cup your hand around the ball, and rotate the dough on the counter to make a tight, round ball. Place the ball in the pan, seam-side down. To make pull-apart buns, make sure the dough balls just touch when you place them into the pan.
- Let the buns rise again, covered, until they just dome over the edge of the pan. Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Just before baking, brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash (the other half of your egg + 1 tbsp water). Bake for 12 to 18 minutes. When done, the tops should be golden brown and the sides firm and brown.
- Remove from the pan and leave to cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.