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A whole grain bun is a round shaped baked bread made primarily using whole grains instead of processed or refined grains. This type of bread may be used in salty, savory foods, such as sandwiches, or in sweet desserts, like cinnamon rolls. An ingredient may be considered whole grain if it is made using the entire grain kernel. Grain kernel based ingredients which have been stripped before adding to baked goods are known as refined. Whole grains tend to have more vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants than more processed foods. They also contain significant amounts of iron, thiamin, riboflavin, and protein. Common types of bread which may comprise a whole grain bun include whole wheat, pumpernickel, rye, and multi-grain.
Wheat flour is the most frequently used type of base baking ingredient in a whole grain bun. Those who wish to make this type of bread at home may purchase whole wheat that is specifically labeled as unrefined in the form of specially formulated bread flour, or as all purpose whole wheat flour. Some whole wheat flours sold in local grocery stores are still made from refined grains in which the majority of the germ and bran of the kernel have already been removed. Other whole grains may be added to the wheat to increase the flavor of the bread such as bulgur, whole oats, and spelt flour.
Any type of rounded bread may be considered a whole grain bun, whether savory or sweet. Whole grain hamburger buns make a stable and delicious support to marinated burger patties topped with barbecue sauce. Seeds like fennel, poppy, or sesame may be added during the mixing process, or sprinkled on top of the bun immediately prior to baking.
A whole grain bun recipe often requires bakers to begin with a sponge base. A sponge is a mixture consisting of primarily the liquids that will be used to activate the yeast, in addition to a small amount of the flour and yeast needed for the recipe. This combination should be allowed to sit for several hours or overnight before adding additional flour and the remaining ingredients. Once all foods have been mixed into the dough, it may rise until it has doubled in size. Buns may then be separated out into individual portions, allowed to rise again, and rolled into ball sized shapes that are finally topped and baked.
Sweet, sticky cinnamon rolls can be easily adapted using whole grain flour instead of white flour. Similar to the process for making savory buns, this type of sweet buns also typically requires two rising periods. The dough is rolled flat into a rectangular shape and topped with a filling mixture, often made from brown sugar, cinnamon, and crushed nuts. This layered piece is then cut into individual strips and rolled into sweet buns that are baked and topped with icing.