How do I make really soft dinner rolls (or burger buns) in a regular home oven without the outside forming a crispy crust?
See this recipe: http://www.food52.com/recipes... for some tips. Using mashed potatoes and their water does help keep the rolls moist. Buttering before baking helps, too, but when I made them, we preferred them unbuttered. (They were a little greasy. Maybe I used too much butter.) Also don't bake at too high a temperature--many recipes call for baking at 375-400; the 350 called for in this recipe works well to keep the rolls soft.
Read more: http://www.food52.com/foodpickle...
If you cover them w/a cloth after baking as they cool, they should soften right up
As soon as you taken them out of the oven, dab them with soft butter on a paper towel, and use another paper towel to absorb any excess butter. When they've cooled off a bit--they should be warm to the touch but not too hot to handle comfortably--wrap them in plastic with a single layer of paper toweling between the rolls and the plastic (bottom and top). The paper towels will absorb any condensation that forms, and the crusts will be soft but not soggy. I do this with my raisin bread to get neater slices.
When I bake breads, I follow the steps below:
1. I use either a little dry powder milk or King Arthur’s baker’s special dry milk in the recipe. The bread will be softer, more tender, and will stay fresher longer when you use dry milk.
2. I use diastatic malt powder (from King Arthur): the malt enzymes help the yeast grow throughout the fermentation period resulting in a strong rise and great oven-spring. It also enhances the bread’s browning.
3. And, then when the buns come out of the oven, I coat the tops with a buttery cooking spray, smooth them with parchment or wax paper and let cool on a rack with a porous towel draped over the top. The cooking spray gives a nice shine and adds a little moisture. My favorite (flavor-wise) is Crisco Butter Spray.
Here is a slider size sandwich bun recipe I have on Food52, following all these steps: http://www.food52.com/recipes...
You should also watch the rolls closely in the oven, and tent them loosely with foil if they seem to be getting dark, or hard. In fact, if I really wanted them to be soft, I might tent them anyway, starting about halfway through the expected baking time. Keeping direct heat away from the top can improve softness of the tops. Tenting also allows a certain amount of steam to develop between the rolls and the foil, which also can help make the tops softer. ;o)