In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the sugar, yeast and half a cup of the water. Set aside five minutes until it bubbles.
Add the flour and wheat gluten, salt, and baking soda.
Knead slowly with the dough hook or by hand, drizzling in the water until the dough comes together. You want it to be smooth and supple and not sticky. Add the oil and knead another 8 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top with oil. Cover tightly and place in a warm place to double, about 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, punch it down, then divide into 12 equal pieces (these make rather small buns, which I like so they better fit small mouths. You can shape these into 9 larger buns as well)
Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place on a lightly oiled or parchment-covered baking sheet. Press down the top slightly to flatten. Leave a gap of two inches between each roll.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Brush on some water on each of the rolls and sprinkle sesame seeds (optional. You can also use other seeds, like poppy).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the buns for 23 minutes or until tops are golden.
Remove to a rack to cool.