4 ¾cupsall purpose flour + extra for kneading (570g)
2tablespoonsgranulated sugaror liquid such as maple syrup or agave
2 ¼teaspoonsinstant yeast (about 1 packet)
1 ½cupswarm water (not hot - warm to touch) ranging between 110 to 120°F
4tablespoonsolive oilor any oil
Vegan Egg Wash
3tablespoonsunsweetened vegan milkpreferably one with a high protein content
1teaspoonmaple syrup or agave syrupuse only ½ teaspoon if you don't want any hint of sweetness on your buns
1teaspoonregular mustard or dijon
1tablespoonmix of sesame seeds, for topping
In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together.
Create a well in the centre of the flour. Slowly add the warm water and olive oil to the dry ingredients, and then mix together with a spatula until just incorporated. The dough should look shaggy.
Flour a clean surface, and then pour/add the dough onto the surface. Flour your hands and fold the dough together. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes with your hands and knuckles. The dough might be sticky at first, but you can add up to ¼ cup flour while flouring and kneading to make it easier to manage. You want the end dough ball to be smooth, with slight dimples with a bit of tension formed.
Lightly grease the ball of dough with some additional oil and place back into the bowl in a ball. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it sit for at least 1 hour on the counter in a warm area. If your kitchen is too cold, you can place it in your OFF oven with the pilot light on which will provide enough residual heat for it to rise. The dough should rise and double in size.
Punch down the dough and fold over.
Divide the dough into 8 equal balls and roll each into a ball. Using your fingers, pinch and pull the undersides to shape each ball round. Now would be a great time to check out my highlight on Instagram where I video'd this for clarification! But you essentially want to make them round.
Line up the balls, about 4 inches apart if you don't want them to spread into one another/touch, on one or two baking sheets (depending on the size or your baking sheet - you want them decently spread out since they'll puff up, then spread again while baking).
Cover with a light kitchen towel and allow the balls to proof/rise for another 45 minutes.
You can also begin preheating your oven to 400°F/200°C within the last 20 minutes so it's ready when they're done rising.
Using a silicone brush/pastry brush, brush the vegan egg wash over the buns and the sides. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top and any other seeds you might desire.
Bake your buns for 15 minutes in the oven. Remove, and allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to your cooling rack. Allow to cool fully. The buns also get much softer once they begin to cool.
Slice, tear, slather in butter, and enjoy!
Vegan Egg Wash
Mix the vegan milk, maple syrup/agave and the mustard thoroughly together to combine. If you don't want any sweetness, you can lower this to 1/2 teaspoon maply syrup/agave. You don't have to use all of the vegan egg wash, just as much as you desire for a golden brown top.
HOW TO FREEZE
Line the buns up on a baking sheet once fully cooked. Place in your freezer and flash freeze for about an hour. Once the hour has passed, you can stack the buns in a freezer safe bag so they won't stick.To thaw, bring to room temperature, then lightly toast in your toaster oven, on your stovetop, or in your air fryer.
Expert Tips & FAQ
Firstly, these buns have a rise, and proof (a second rise essentially). These separate rises actually help to make these pretty foolproof and help create their beautiful rounded shape. You don't want to skimp on rising time or skip either, because they result in the ultimate end product.
Always have some bench flour with you in a small container while kneading the dough - which just means extra flour. If you live in a humid climate like me, you may end up needing up to an extra ¼ cup flour while kneading. If not, perhaps only 2 tablespoons extra. The recipe is designed in a way that it'll still turn out incredible either way.
Speaking of kneading, kneading here is key. Kneading helps to work the gluten, which is crucial for the texture and pull of these buns. I always set a timer while kneading, and throw on a show so the time goes by faster. To knead, you want to fold the dough over onto itself, then push into a ball. Fold and push. You want to really work at it because those ten minutes of needing will make all the difference.
Lastly, use a scale to weigh out your ingredients. It makes such a difference with accuracy and also comes in handy if you want to create equal sized buns.
I don't recommend skimping on the oil in this recipe. I like to think of it as the natural dough conditioner, and it helps to yield these incredibly soft buns. My preferred oil of choice here is olive oil, but you can use any other kind.