Granny's Best Buns Recipe

When it came to baking, my granny was the absolute tops. I have seen her create culinary masterpieces in a gas oven, produce cakes and pastries that would have made the angels weep from a cantankerous old wood stove, and make an absolute disaster of the kitchen in the process. It didn't really matter what she made, it was inevitably superb, from her roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding, replete with juicy roast drippings, to the simple but simply amazing bread pudding topped with her signature golden, mile-high meringue.

...and the mess she created in the kitchen was equally legendary. Her passage through a kitchen could be likened to the path of a tiny, implement-wielding hurricane. Given the unfailing high quality of the offerings, it was really no chore to be on KP. Once you became accustomed to the seeming-destruction she left in her wake, you could see that it was nothing that couldn't be set to right with some concentrated effort and elbow-grease, though. She hadn't really used every pot, bowl, and tool in the kitchen, it just appeared as if she had -  and we were, after all, quite used to it.

Sesame Crusted Bread-Machine Buns
Sesame Crusted Bread-Machine Buns
Basic Sweet Rolls
Basic Sweet Rolls
Whole Wheat Buns
Whole Wheat Buns
Savory Offerings
Savory Offerings

Sweet Rolls - Quick Method

I never truly understood what was so quick about about this method, The buns take quite some time to rise properly. Then, of course, you must punch them down, etc., etc. Nor are they particularly sweet. That, however, is the section in the cookbook that contains this particular recipe...and, in all fairness this method is faster than the alternative, overnight method.

They are so light and delicate, yet they hold together equally well when stuffed to overflowing with delicious, home-made chicken salad, or piled high with cold cuts, crowned with crisp lettuce and garden-fresh sliced tomatoes.


  • 1 tsp Quick yeast
  • 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to just warm
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or cooking oil
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 51/2 - 6 cups sifted flour (or sifted bread flour)


Soften yeast in lukewarm milk

After yeast has worked , add beaten egg, oil or melted butter, sugar, and salt

Stir in sufficient flour to make a slurry. Continue adding flour until dough is soft but easily handled

Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic

Place in lightly greased bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Place bowl in a warm place and allow dough to rise until doubled in bulk.

Punch down and shape into buns. Bake according to the recipe you are using - usually fro plain buns, at about 400 - 425 F, for 20 - 25 minutes, or until light brown.

This basic recipe can be adapted fr fancy dinner rolls called "Shamrock Rolls" because of their shape. It is also the basis of the well-known "Parker House Rolls", distinguished by their fancy folded and slashed shapes as well as the slathers of melted butter with which they are brushed before baking.

You can also flatten the dough into a long thin rectangle and brush it with butter. Then sprinkle it with raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon, and roll up like a jelly roll. Slice into 1 - 1 1/2 inch pieces and place cut-side down in a baking pan that has been buttered and generously sprinkled with more brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. Bake at 300 - 375 F, for 25 minutes.

You may add pecans to the baking pan with the sugar and cinnamon for a crunchy treat.

Savory Meat & Sauce Baked In The Bun
Savory Meat & Sauce Baked In The Bun
Curried Chicken Pockets
Curried Chicken Pockets
Raisin & Cinnamon Laden Air Buns
Raisin & Cinnamon Laden Air Buns
Gaia's Maple Walnut Quick Bread
Gaia's Maple Walnut Quick Bread

...And What's In Your Lunch?

This particular bun recipe was quite a hit at school as well. My then husband was the most popular guy in the staff room come lunch time. I didn't find this out 'til some months later, though.

When I first took up baking, as the stay-at-home mom of a young toddler, I was gratified that my first efforts met with success. I had yet to master the art of pastry - that was to come some years later - but I seemed to have just the right knack for bread and buns.

At first I simply doubled my bread recipe, and made four loaves plus several dozen buns. The idea was that the extra buns would be frozen for later consumption. This worked fairly well at first, but the buns tended to dry out a bit, so I decided to try to find a recipe that would freeze better and for a slightly longer time.

From the first batch, Granny's Best Buns were a big hit. As well, because they rose so much faster than the bread recipe, I could bake a single batch of bread, freeze two loaves for the rest of the week, and have a double batch of the buns baked in less time than it had taken me to bake all of the double batch of bread.


The buns were a welcome replacement in the lunch bag, and I was especially pleased when I was asked to make an extra sandwich. This continued fro several weeks, and then I was asked for two extra sandwiches. Though it was grand that my buns were such a success, I was now forced to make double my double batch to keep up with the added demand.

After another few weeks of this, I laughingly commented, "My goodness, It's so nice that you like the buns. You are certainly eating a big lunch!"

My spouse rather sheepishly replied, "Oh, no. They're not for me. I'm bringing them for the other staff. They really like your baking."

I fear I replied rather tartly that perhaps the other staff might like to contribute to our larder, seeing as we had been feeding them lunch every day for the past couple of months. After that, he took his normal couple of buns for lunch.

My position as unwitting benefactress to the school staff's unofficial "lunch program" may have suffered after that, but my reputation as a top-notch baker was never in question, and any school bake sale or pot luck was always the recipient of at least a dozen or two of the much-loved buns along with the other goodies.

This is also one a most versatile recipes, as it can be turned out as a savory or a sweet with the simple addition of herbs and spices, or a savory or sweet filling. I am particularly fond of using a mixture of ricotta cheese mashed with a drift of nutmeg, a sprinkle of icing sugar, and chopped, preserved citron.

Another yummy combination is tender cooked beef or chicken, sliced fine, with caramelized onions, all tossed in just enough smoky teriyaki sauce to moisten. A spoonful of this gently rolled into the center of a bun and baked 'til golden brown is heavenly hot from the oven or served cold the next day - if you have any left to serve the next day, that is.

Nothing Beats Home-Made
Nothing Beats Home-Made

© 2009, Text by Elle Fredine, All rights reserved

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Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 7 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Yummy yummy! I guess I should just write a shopping list...and I might suggest you keep a close eye on your freezer might have a few fellow hubbers stalking your pantry :P

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

All of a sudden I'm really hungry despite the fact that I just ate like 2 hours ago...I wonder why? Great hub! I'm not experienced in baking but I might give this a try. What's the worse thing that can happen? Don't answer that please.

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks, Enelle. Send me your list - happy to share any time. ;)

Thanks so much, dohn - well, I am sure they will turn out great - you know what they say about beginners' luck, LOL.

Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Ooooh yum! I would have loved a granny like yours...come to think of it even a friend who bakes will do! :)

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, FP. I am thinking I will have to invest in a bread machine to do my mixing for me so I can get back into the bun business, LOL - and you, too are welcome to raid the pantry anytime ;)

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

All sounds and looks great. Hubby can bake decent bread but I have never tried. He too though, like your granny, is a messy hurricane in the kitchen

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

God bless them, they leave such a "trail of destruction", LOL. Good thing the results are worth it, though ;)

Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

I have added this page to my recipe folder in my favorites

Thank you

RedElf profile image

RedElf 7 years ago from Canada Author

You are so very welcome, Granny's House. I am so pleased you like the recipes. We think they are awesome!

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..Oh gosh you're making me hungry 'cos only granny has the best buns in town!

RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada Author

Greetings, epigramman! Too true, too true!

KatieCohen profile image

KatieCohen 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

You are awesome! This all makes me so hungry! liked and shared :)

RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Katie! nice of you to stop by to comment.

jamterrell profile image

jamterrell 5 years ago

Great hub. LOve it.

RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, jamterrell!

trimar7 profile image

trimar7 4 years ago from New York

Now I just have to learn how to make these using whole wheat flour. I so love bread but as I am "maturing" carbs seem to stick better than the dough they come from and not in the right places.

RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

trimar7, I certainly don't make buns as often these days. Still love 'em though. :d

Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

Hey RedElf, this is a recipe hub I've not come across, yet it seems to remind me of my grandmother's cooking. :) My grandmother made almost everything from scratch and it was always a wonderful sitting, regardless of what she made. I just enjoyed watching her do it and managed to learn a few things which helped when my father decided to teach me how to cook. My mother was pretty damn good at baking things, such as this and I learned from her as well. Thank you for sharing such an excellently written hub. :) I'm glad I had the pleasure of reading it. :) Voted up! :)

RedElf profile image

RedElf 4 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks so much, Cags - I am so pleased you enjoyed the hub. I learned a lot from watching my granny cook and bake. My dad was a better baker than my mom, but they made a darn good kitchen team.

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