Last year I recommitted to a previous failed resolution: learn to make good homemade buns, and make them (almost) every time I need buns. The bun quest is over for me, in the nick of time before it’s time to make resolutions again! Check these beauties owwwwt.
In hindsight I should’ve started in the trustworthy place that rarely fails me – church (or in this case, school) cookbooks! This bun recipe started from “Muriel’s Two Hour Buns,” in a cookbook all the way from my mom in Ontario. Muriel knew a thing or two about efficiency, and based on the sparse instructions she assumed everyone knew as much about bun making as she did. I’ve clarified some of the steps, added some salt, and experimented with whole wheat flour, so I guess these aren’t Muriel’s anymore, but I do very much appreciate her wisdom behind this.
These are the basic bun I wanted. My kids take a lot of buns in their school lunches, and I like to mass produce a bunch with meat and cheese or just cheese and pop them in the freezer. Having them ready makes mornings go so much smoother. These thaw absolutely perfectly by lunch time, and since I make them and freeze them the same day, they are never getting a dry bun in their lunch. Sure, by the time I bake buns I certainly don’t feel like hauling out toppings and decorating them, but I’m getting better at appreciating how glad my future self will be if my present self just powers through and stops being a whiner.
This recipe makes 40 buns, so I usually prep about 20 of them to freeze, throw a dozen plain into the freezer and leave the remainder on the counter to eat over the next couple days for lunch or as oven-toasted garlic buns with dinner. Mixed with the occasional leftover pizza, bagel, croissant, or wrap, the bread part of lunches is taken care of for at least 3 weeks.
I find this such an easy dough to work with from start to finish. The buns are pretty small, which my kids love so they can get to recess sooner, and there are no unusual ingredients or steps. They’re soft and fluffy and make your house smell impossibly good, as all homemade breads do. They’re also way, way cheaper than buying buns at the store every week…I can’t pretend my motivation is entirely based in a love of making everything from scratch ;)
I hope they are a winner for your family like they are for mine!
- 3 Tbsp instant yeast
- 8 cups all-purpose or bread flour, divided (can sub up to half whole wheat, I prefer 2 cups whole wheat and 6 cups all purpose)
- 2-3 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp canola oil
- 3 cups warm tap water
- Stir together yeast and 4 cups of flour in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and water. Add flour and yeast mixture and mix well. Add remaining flour and salt and blend well.
- Cover bowl with clean, damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. Punch dough down, re-cover and let rise another 15 minutes.
- Lightly grease or spray two 10x15" cookie sheets/jelly roll pans with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper.
- Divide dough into 40 equal pieces and shape into buns (I usually split the whole lump in half or quarters and work from there). Place 20 on each cookie sheet. Cover each cookie sheet loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.
- Near the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake buns for 16-18 minutes, until lightly browned. If you can't fit both sheets in your oven at the same time don't worry about it - one batch can rise an extra 20 minutes without any problems.
- Use within 2-3 days, or freeze in an airtight bag to maintain freshness.