Good Question: How to Make Soft Hamburger Buns?

Andrea sent us this question about making soft bread – a good one for the picnic season!

I know that crusty bread is all the rage but I sometimes I really just want to make soft burger buns/rolls with no crust. How can I get the perfect golden, sesame seed bun that's soft and light and crust-less? Oh! And not sweet either - the only time I've come close to that is by making a sweeter bun.

You’re totally right, Andrea! Super crusty bread is all fine and good, but there are definitely times when you want something a little softer. There are two ways that you can get bread like this:

The first way is to add fat, dairy, or sugar into the dough itself. All of these ingredients interfere with gluten formation, meaning your bread will end up with a soft, tender crumb. These ingredients also keep the bread fairly moist, so the crust will stay soft instead of getting crispy.

The other way is to brush the surface of your loaf or rolls with milk, melted butter, or a lightly beaten egg just before baking. This coating will also help the crust stay soft. This is a great method to use if you already have a recipe that you like, but just want to get a softer crust. You can also use this method in addition to the dough additions in the first method.

Since you say that you don’t want a particularly sweet bread, try replacing some or all of the liquid in your recipe with milk and also add a few knobs of butter. Then brush the top of the bread with either milk or melted butter. That should do the trick!

There are also a lot of great hamburger bun recipes out there. Here are a few to try:

Hamburger Buns from King Arthur Flour
40-Minute Hamburger Buns from Taste of Home
Homemade Hamburger Buns from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook via Serious Eats

Does anyone else have tips or recipe suggestions for Andrea?

Related: Best Burger Toppings

(Image: Flickr member pointnshoot licensed under Creative Commons)