I know, 3 recipes for homemade burger buns? But this may be the best. It makes me feel like I'm doing something healthy with the whole wheat, although, truthfully, with 1/4 cup of honey perhaps it's a fiction! The vital wheat gluten is very helpful in adding chewiness, the main reason why people don't like wheat- it sort of crumbles and doesn't stay together. This is an instant fix to that complaint. I've made these about 3 times in 2 weeks- they are wonderful.
Honey Wheat Burger Buns
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Yield: 9-10 sandwich buns
1 1/4 cups milk, warmed
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
2 cups all purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 oz vital wheat gluten
1 cup whole wheat flour (5 ounces)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey plus 1-2 tbsp., divided
2 tbsp. butter, melted
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds
Measure out the milk in a liquid measuring cup. Add in the instant yeast and stir to dissolve. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour (2 cups), vital wheat gluten, wheat flour and salt. Mix briefly on low speed to combine. Add the yeast-milk mixture, egg, and 1/4 cup of honey to the mixer bowl and mix on low speed just until a dough has formed. Switch to the dough hook, if you didn't start there. Continue kneading on low speed with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and tacky but not sticky, adding flour if needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. The oil in the bowl will let you keep it tackier than you could otherwise. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, transfer the ball to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate the dough. Divide the dough into 9-10 equal sized pieces (about 3.25-3.5 oz. pieces). A dough scraper is a good tool for this. Form each piece of dough into a flattened round, 3.5-4 inches in diameter. Transfer the shaped rounds to a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet- or into a 6-8 oz ramekin or hamburger pan. The ramekin/hamburger pan will make it rise up, not out, and they are aesthetically prettier. But they'll be good in any shape. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Combine the softened butter with 1-2 tablespoons of honey and lightly brush the tops of the rolls (if you melt it, it will be harder for honey to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Bake for 14-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until golden brown and baked through. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.