I am a big fan of whole grain bread. Honestly, the more nuts, seeds and fibre you can cram in a loaf the better as far as I’m concerned. But there is something so nostalgic (and decadent) about fluffy white buns fresh from the oven (yes, with butter, I said it).
I grew up in Northern Alberta for the first part of my life where my Mom stayed home and made everything from scratch. I suppose it rubbed off on me! For special occasions we would always have homemade white buns like these. As I developed a passion for baking I started scouring our family recipe books (literally, I would dig through my family members’ kitchens when we would visit to find out what recipe they used), and eventually stumbled upon this gem from my Aunty Jackie. Now that lady can COOK! Needless to say I stopped looking after I found this recipe, it’s a winner every time.
You can make simple buns or a loaf of bread, or you can turn it into cinnamon raisin bread or add whatever your heart desires. I know this isn’t the health nut whole grain bread that I normally eat and recommend, but it is what we call a ‘sometimes food’ in our house, and well worth the splurge in my books!
To make these vegan simply substitute the honey with sugar, omit the eggs, and use vegan butter! You can easily substitute half or all of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour as well to make them healthier. Here’s my old fashioned no-fail recipe:
Perfect White Buns
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
- 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
- 2 teaspoons salt
Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and cool.
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (not too warm, you’ll kill the yeast)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons fast rising yeast
Dissolve the water and sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit.
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 6-7 cups unbleached white flour
- Mix the eggs into the first (Step 1) mixture once it has cooled to room temperature.
- Add 1 cup of flour to this mixture and stir well.
- Add the yeast mixture (Step 2) to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
- Gradually add the remaining flour, cup by cup, until the dough gets too difficult to stir in the bowl. At this point, on a floured surface (your counter), empty the dough and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. You will need to keep the surface floured to prevent it from sticking.
- Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and place in a draft-free warm area to rise.
- Let the dough rise until doubled (about 40 minutes) and punch it down. Repeat this process once.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease two 9×13 sheet baking pans (the ones with the small sides). You can use any shape of pan you want in actual fact – I used round ones like these. Cut off pieces of dough that are approximately 1/2 cup in size (doesn’t have to be exact!) and form into buns. I keep my fingers slightly floured and tuck the dough under as I stretch the dough to make it smooth on top, but you can use whatever technique you like!
- Place the buns about a 1/2 inch apart on the greased pan, cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Makes approximately 36 small buns
If you want to make cinnamon bread, roll out about 2 cups of dough into a longer strip, about 1′ x 2′. Spread 2 Tbsp. of butter on the bread and sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon (I use Epicure brand) and 1/3 cup raisins. Roll up the dough length-ways completely to make a ‘loaf’. Place the rolled cinnamon-raisin loaf in a greased bread pan, cover, let rise until double and bake at 350F until golden brown. Remove from the pan as soon as it is out of the oven, cool and slice!