Waking up to the smell of freshly baked buns was the best alarm clock ever. And it was my alarm clock a few times a month when I was a child. My mom would start her bun dough the afternoon before, shape it into buns in the evening (with me right by her side), let them rise until early morning, and bake them as soon as she woke up. Once that scent hit my nose, I would get up, run into the kitchen, and steal 3-4 buns out of the middle of the warmest batch. As I got older, I actually took the time to butter them and add my mom’s homemade strawberry jelly. Drooling yet? I am. Yeah, we had it rough.
This is not the overnight version. Like the name implies, the buns only take 3 hours (give or take) and they are a little sweeter than “regular” dinner rolls. Here’s how they’re made. This post contains affiliate links.
In your mixing bowl, add yeast, hot water (not too hot or else you will kill the yeast), and 1/2 c. sugar. Let proof for about 5 minutes.
Once proofed, add remaining sugar, butter, and salt. Mix with the paddle attachment on low to medium. Gradually mix in eggs. Start adding whole wheat flour one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Then add bread flour the same way until dough comes together. It should be soft and slightly sticky. Remove from bowl and shape into a large ball.
Return to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, lid, or tea towel. Move to a warm spot and let rise until doubled.
Punch down and shape into a large ball again. Let rise at least one more time (can do 3 times total, but will take a little longer). With greased hands (my mom and I use Crisco. Continue to periodically add more Crisco to your hands until all the buns are shaped), cut off pieces about this size and shape into buns. It takes practice. My mom is The Bun Master.
Put each bun on a greased jelly roll pan or baking sheet. Cover each sheet with a tea towel. Let rise at least an hour.
They are ready for the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake each sheet for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Brush with butter, remove from sheets, cool on a cooling rack. Or, eat them right away. You really won’t be able to wait anyway.
3 Hour Buns
- 3 c. hot water
- 2 Tbsp. yeast
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. butter or shortening
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 c. whole wheat flour
- 4-5 c. bread flour
- butter for brushing on buns
- In your mixing bowl, add yeast, 1/2 c. sugar, and hot water. Let it proof for about 5 minutes.
- Once the yeast has proofed (becomes foamy), add remaining sugar, butter, and salt. With your paddle attachment, mix together on low – medium. Gradually add eggs while mixing. Add the whole wheat flour, a cup at a time. Mix in between additions. Do the same with the bread flour until dough is soft and just slightly sticky. Slightly being the key word. If you can’t handle it with your hands, then you need more flour.
- Remove paddle and form dough into a ball. Return dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap or lid and let rise until doubled. Knead and punch down and let rise again until doubled in size. Punch down and form a large ball. You are ready to form buns.
- Grease (I use Crisco) 4-5 jelly roll pans. Form buns (I hold dough in one hand, stretching the outer parts with my other hand and tuck each stretched piece behind) and place on sheets. Cover with tea towels and let rise for at least an hour. My last batch made 40 buns.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake each sheet for 15 minutes. Brush with butter immediately after they are out of the oven, remove from pans, and cool on racks.
- They freeze very well in freezer bags.