This old-fashioned bread recipe (with a vegan variation) is completely foolproof and versatile: you can make your own bread, buns, hot dog buns, hamburger buns or even cinnamon buns out of it!
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.
Bread Making Tips
You can make simple buns or a loaf of bread (or cinnamon raisin bread?), cinnamon buns etc. 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 for 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.
There are two things that I recommend to get a perfect dough. First, be sure to use ONLY lukewarm water (just warmer than water at room temperature) otherwise you will kill your yeast and it won’t rise. And that’s a bummer.
Second, don’t add too much flour. When you knead in your flour, you want to get the dough to not stick to your hands, but be soft and pliable, kind of the texture of a baby’s bum when you press it… soft and squishy!
What is the Best Yeast to Use for Bread?
I use active dry yeast – either traditional or fast rise will work (traditional will take longer). You can use instant yeast, but note that you will need 25% less of the yeast and you won’t need to activate the yeast (you just mix it in with the flour, but the other ingredients such as the water stay the same). I typically use the Red Star yeast from Costco (active dry).
How to Make a Loaf of Bread
This recipe will make 2-3 loaves of bread, depending on the size of your pan. To make a loaf of bread simply make the bread dough in the recipe below, divide the dough into 2-3 balls and, with lightly floured hands, roll the dough into a loaf shape, tucking the ends underneath. You can alternately roll it out into a small rectangle (as long as your pan) and roll it up. Place the loaves into lightly greased loaf pans, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise until doubled before baking 20-30 minutes, until golden brown (the bottom should sound hollow when tapped. Remove from the pans immediately after baked to avoid sweating.
How to Make Hamburger Buns
To make hamburger buns, simply make the recipe below, and with lightly floured hands, form the buns and place them 1/2″ apart from each other on the pan. Before rising flatten the buns with your hand and let them rise before baking as per the directions below.
How to Make Hot Dog Buns
To make hotdog buns, with lightly floured hands, simply roll a log shape of the dough into a hotdog shape (you can do this on the counter with floured hands), place on a greased baking sheet 1/2″ apart and let rise until doubled – bake as per the recipe below.
How to Make Cinnamon Buns
You can use this recipe to make your own cinnamon buns just like granny’s! Simply roll out the dough once you punch it down (you can use a full batch or if you want to make a half batch that works) into a large square or rectangle and smother with butter, brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Roll up the dough, cut it into 2″ pieces and place them cut-side-down in a greased baking dish. Cover and rise until doubled, 1-2 hours. Bake at 350F until golden brown and the brown sugar bubbles, around 25 minutes. Invert the pan on to parchment or aluminum paper as soon as you take them out of the oven and enjoy once slightly cooled.
Perfect White Buns
Perfect White Buns
This perfect foolproof bun recipe will make you look like a baking rockstar! You can use it to make bread, buns, or cinnamon buns!
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons honey (or sugar)
- 2 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
- 2 teaspoons salt
Step 2: Activate yeast
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (traditional or fast rising)
Step 3: Make dough
- 2 eggs, well beaten (optional)
- 6-7 cups all-purpose flour (or 1/2 whole wheat flour)
In a large bowl add the butter, honey and salt and pour the boiling water over the ingredients. Stir and let it sit so that the butter melts and the salt dissolves. Let this cool to room temperature. You want to make sure that this isn't too hot as it will otherwise kill your yeast.
Step 2: Activate the yeast
While the above mixture cools, activate the yeast. Stir the lukewarm water and sugar together in a medium bowl to dissolve and sprinkle in the yeast. Mix gently to combine and let it sit for around 10 minutes, until the yeast is foamy and 'activates'.
Step 3: Make the dough
Add 1 cup of flour to the cooled butter mixture in step 1 and stir to combine. Add the eggs to this mixture and stir to combine, if using (I often omit them, the dough is great without them too). Add the yeast mixture from step 2 to this bowl and stir to combine again.
Gradually add the remaining flour, cup by cup, until the dough gets too difficult to stir in the bowl. At this point, transfer the dough on to a clean floured surface (your counter) and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as you knead to get a soft but not sticky dough. It should feel squishy like a baby's bum when it is done!
Transfer the dough into a large greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and place in a draft-free warm area to rise until doubled, about an hour.
Step 4: Bake the buns or bread
Preheat your oven to 375 F and grease one 9x13 sheet baking pans or 3 loaf pans. You can alternately use any shape of pan you want - I used round ones like the one pictured above and it works fine. 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! You can make hamburger buns by spacing the buns out more and flattening them before baking or hot dog buns by forming them into mini loaves or logs (using the same quantity of dough).
Place the buns about a 1/2 inch apart on the greased pan, cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until nicely browned, and remove from the pan immediately once baked to cool on a cooling rack (if you don't have a rack just dump the pan upside down and let them cool that way). These freeze well once cooled.
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 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!