3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional flour for kneading
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lard, butter or coconut oil
Place 1 1/2 cups each all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour, the toasted wheat germ, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, preferably a heavy-duty one with a paddle attachment, briefly mix together the ingredients.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the lard, butter or shortening. Add the milk and sugar and heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is very warm, but no hotter than 120 or 130 degrees. With the mixer at low speed, slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture until blended. Increase to medium speed and beat mixture for about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup each white flour and whole wheat flour and beat 2 minutes more. Add 1 cup white flour and beat until dough comes away from sides of bowl.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface about 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (Use very little additional flour.) Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise in a warm place until double in volume, about 1 or 1 1/2 hours.
Gently punch dough down and divide dough into four equal portions. Divide each portion into fourths and allow dough to rest just 5 minutes. Form the small portions into balls and with fingertips fold edges under to form even circles. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, about 2-inches apart and with fingertips flatten each bun to a 3-inch circle. (If you prefer the sides of the buns to remain soft, place them closer together. Then as the buns rise the sides will touch.) Cover with a towel and set aside to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Adjust rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees at least 20 minutes before baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped lightly. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing. (Or cool and freeze, well-wrapped, for up to 1 week.) Makes 16.
To form hot dog buns: Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, pat or roll out each portion to a rectangle about 14 x 5 inches. Cut about eight 5 x 2 inch strips from each rectangle. Between the palms of your hands, roll each portion into 6-inch long buns. Place buns, about 2-inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover loosely with a cloth towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake as directed for hamburger buns.
Hamburger buns made with whole grains need to cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing and eating, because whole-grain flours hold moisture longer than white flour.
(Picture of buns rising before being baked.)