With all of the warm weather we’ve had here lately, I think grilling season is officially here. It arrived a bit earlier than usual this year, but I’m not really complaining (though, I’m not entirely sure I’ve ruled out an April blizzard, either). I can come up with endless possibilities for grilling, but one of my favorites is the good old burger. They don’t have to be a fancy flavor or stuffed with cheese or bacon. Just give me a standard hamburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayonnaise, and I am a happy girl.
The one part of the burger that I do tend to get a bit picky about, though, is the roll. While you won’t find me turning down burgers at a cookout because of an ordinary store bought roll, I definitely prefer homemade burger buns. Most often, I make homemade buns using my light and soft dinner roll recipe (a family favorite passed on to me from my grandmother)… And, if you’re looking for regular white rolls, it is definitely a winner.
The thing is, I often prefer whole wheat rolls to white rolls. So, I decided to work on a whole wheat version of the beloved dinner rolls. I sweetened them a bit with honey (instead of the granulated sugar in the original recipe) since I thought it would pair nicely with the wheat flour. Since I did use 100% whole wheat flour (a blend of white whole wheat and traditional whole wheat flour), the rolls weren’t quite as fluffy and soft as their white counterparts… That said, I think they turned out beautifully. Of course, I really tend to like the flavor and texture of whole wheat bread… But, if that’s not your thing, try using half whole wheat flour and half bread flour and adjust from there!
I was really pleased with the flavor of the rolls… The honey added a nice touch of sweetness to balance out the flavor of the traditional whole wheat flour. They would make great dinner rolls, but I thought they were especially delicious with some freshly grilled burgers on a warm afternoon!
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Makes 12 rolls
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups traditional whole wheat flour
- Additional 1 tablespoon of milk to brush on rolls
Combine the milk and butter in a microwaveable dish (or liquid measuring cup). Microwave on high for approximately 30 – 45 seconds, until the milk is warm, but not hot. The butter will soften but may not be completely melted.
Transfer the milk and butter to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the honey and sprinkle the yeast on top of the liquids. Stir to dissolve. Add in the egg, white whole wheat flour, and salt. Use a large dough whisk (or a wooden spoon) to beat the mixture by hand until a sticky, loose dough begins to form. Gradually stir in the whole wheat flour until the dough thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Use your (clean!) hands to knead the dough, working in the remaining whole wheat flour and adding just enough to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Knead for about 6 – 8 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft. Be careful not to add too much flour or the dough may get too stiff and tough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise until it has just about doubled in size, and the imprint of two fingers remains in the dough. Punch down the dough and let it rise until it has doubled again.
After the second rise, punch down the dough and divide it into three sections. Divide each section of dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and then use the palm of your hand to flatten it into a smooth disk. Place the shaped rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Cover the shaped rolls, and let them rise again until they get puffy and an imprint remains when you lightly touch the sides of the rolls.
As the rolls finish rising, preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush the rolls lightly with the remaining tablespoon of milk, then bake for about 12 – 13 minutes. The rolls will be golden on top and sound hollow when tapped lightly. Allow the rolls to cool on the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.