After many attempts, I have finally found a bun recipe I can use - and my family loves! I found, thanks to Pintrest, a traditional recipe that has you activate the yeast, add ingredients slowly, kneed let rise...all those good bread making steps. I, with 4 kids homeschooling all day, don't have the energy to keep that up as often as we would eat buns. So I cheated and adapted the same recipe to be bread machine friendly. So, here is what I came up with:
3 tbsp. warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. instant yeast
2½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
In a small bowl mix the water, milk, and egg with a wisk. Pour mixture into bottom of pan. Add the rest of the dry ingredients as directed by your machine manual. Set on dough setting and start. Near the end of the dough setting, grease a baking sheet (one with raised edges is preferred). Once the dough is ready, divide it into 12 even balls (I use a scale to get get them as close to the same size as possible).
I roll each ball on the sheet to give it a thin coat of grease so they don't stick as they rise. Lay them evenly spaced on the sheet and cover with an oiled (sprayed with non-stick spray) piece of plastic wrap. If you wrap it tight the buns will flatten some as they rise and make more reasonable shaped buns instead of spheres to big to take a bite of.
Let rise for about an hour or until doubled. (I find my oven, turned off, with the light turned on is about the right temperature for this step)
When done rising, remove pan from oven and remove plastic wrap. Place a shallow pan of water in the bottom of the oven, and pre-heat oven to 400 F. While the oven is heating, whisk an egg and a little water and brush over the tops of the buns. You can add sesame seeds at this point if you wish but I never have those on hand so I opt out.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
These will also freeze and re-heat well. Maybe not quite as good as fresh, but close.