Quite some time ago I made the mistake of posting pictures of the results of a marathon bread baking session. Youngest son thought the bread, buns and cinnamon rolls looked so good, that he has asked me to make buns for family gatherings ever since. I don't mind at all. I'm glad my family enjoys what I make for them.
If you have read any of my posts lately, you know that my grandkids made their first loaf of homemade bread last week. This evening my son called. He said that the kids ate up that loaf, right down to the last crumb. And then they decided, as long as they love the buns I bring for holidays, they wanted to learn how to make them, too. So I made Son a deal. I would post the recipe and instructions for Grandma's Buns if he would send me pictures. He agreed. I didn't tell him that I would post it anyway. I just wanted to remind him to take pictures!
This recipe is the one Mother used when I was growing up. I think she probably got it from her mother. It is just a basic recipe, but it holds memories for me of coming home from school, walking in the door and smelling the beautiful smell of these buns, fresh from the oven. Of course you have to eat at least one right away. With enough butter so it drips a little bit down your chin. It's the law. At least in my family.
This recipe came to me as just a list of ingredients. Mother assumed that because she taught me to bake, that I would know how to put it all together. I have added instructions for the grandkids, so they can learn as I did.
(Recipe can be cut in half, or make as is and freeze some.)
2 packages dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
(Note: one package of yeast equals 2-1/4 teaspoons of bulk yeast)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup lard (can use shortening)
2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup sugar
2 well beaten eggs
7-8 cups flour
Sprinkle the yeast into the warm water and stir slightly with a fork. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Pour the milk into a sauce pan. Heat it over medium heat until tiny bubbles start to form around the edge - do not boil. Remove from the heat and add the lard (or shortening), salt and sugar. Stir just enough to dissolve the sugar and salt - let stand until lukewarm. The heat of the milk will melt the lard.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast and milk mixture. Beat in about three cups of flour.
Using a fork, beat the eggs in a small bowl and stir them into the flour mixture. Continue adding flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until a soft dough forms. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and satiny. Let rise in a greased bowl until double in volume.
Punch the dough down. Shape into balls the size of a large egg. (If you want hamburger buns, make them a little bigger.) Place on a greased cookie sheet, leaving some space in between, and let rise. Note: My sheet pans are about 13" x 16". I usually put four buns across and 6 down, making 24 buns per pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until a deep golden brown on top. Brush tops with butter while still hot. Remove from cookie sheet to a wire rack and cover with a towel to let cool. This keeps them from drying out.
Mom taught me that the secret to making buns is to use enough flour so the dough isn't sticky, but not so much that it becomes a stiff dough. It needs to remain a fairly soft dough.
So there you go. Have a good time baking. This recipe makes world class cinnamon buns as well. Maybe another day you can give that a try!