The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pan rolls for Grandma

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Wannabakebread's picture

Pan rolls for Grandma

I posted this earlier today on the introduction site. I got an email saying that there was a comment left, but it only links me up to a blog post about a switch to a new server. I'm quite new to this site, so I'm not sure if I just posted my long-winded question on the wrong category, or if something went a little wonky with the server switch. Anyway, I'll try re-posting my story and question here and see what happens.

Hi. I'm new to this site and new to bread baking. I've tried a few times in the past, but haven't enjoyed a great deal of success in the project. I did not grow up with home-made breads and rolls in our house, but my Grandmother made buns all the time. I remember "helping" her sometimes as a kid, and always looking forward to sampling the fresh products. Thinking back, her recipe isn't my favorite, but it does bring back memories! Unfortunately, she passed away recently, and quite suddenly. I regret not making more opportunities to learn this skill from her. When we were preparing for the funeral, someone brought us some of the yummiest buns. It really did put a bright spot in the day, and we all fought over the last one! I want to be able to do that for my family, and for others if they just need a boost. I'm not interested at this time in big, complicated processes, but I want to be able to make a nice, soft, sweet and tasty batch of pan buns to have with dinner, or to put some ham and cheese on! 

I asked for a recipe from the person who brought the buns. She offered some tips, which I think definitely helped me judge the dough and kneading, but I'm sure the recipe she gave me is not the one she makes. She's kind of known for her buns, and I don't think she really wanted to share! The ones I made turned out alright, technically, I feel. At least they were the best of all my attempts so far, but there isn't a lot of flavour there, and they seem like they will dry out quite quickly. Here are the instructions I got. 

3 cup warm water, 
8 tbsp sugar,6 tbsp oil, 2 pkg fast rising yeast. 2 eggs. 7-8 cup flour.
Mix yeast 4 cup flour. In separate bowl whip eggs ,sugar,oil,and warm water together. Poor over your yeast and 4 cup flour.mix well and keep adding the rest of the flour 1 cup at a time.leave it a little sticky . Let rise 15-20 mins. Punch down but remember to put a little butter on your hands. Then let rise another 15-20 minutes. Punch down and put into pans. Let rise for 1 hr or so then cook and enjoy.

 I used a total of about 6.5 cups of flour. I live in a pretty dry climate, and I was afraid to go too far with the flour, as a dense product always seems to be my downfall! The water was about 125 degrees. I made 2 9" pans, with 16 rolls in each, and then divided the remaining dough into two muffin tins. I baked those at 375 for about 20 minutes. The ones in the muffin tins, I overcooked a bit. I wasn't really thinking about the fact that they would get all their own heat in the muffin tins, and as a result, the crust was quite crisp last night, and fairly chewy today. These actually remind me a lot of my grandma's buns, so that's fine, but I want to make a softer, sweeter kind. 

Would replacing the oil with butter and using milk in place of water give me what I'm looking for? 

Also, I apologize if this would be better posted on a different board. I didn't notice one that seemed to focus on advice for newbies!

If my substitions make sense, or someone has a simple - yummy recipe that they use for pan buns, I'd be very thankful!

yy's picture

welcome to the site!

Gram for gram, butter will tenderize the dough more than oil will. Milk will also help tenderize the dough, and it will contribute great flavor as well. It's difficult to tell from the written recipe alone what is making your rolls chewy and tougher than you want. One of my favorite recipes is King Arthur Flour's pull-apart butter buns. They're soft, sweet and fragrant.

I highly recommend using a scale and weighing your ingredients instead of measuring by volume. copy and paste the following link for the recipe page that allows you to see the weight-based recipe:

Wannabakebread's picture

If these rolls taste at all like they look, they are exactly (probably even better) than what I'm looking for! Thank-you. I am in Canada, and to my knowledge King Arthur flour is not readly available. Good ol' Robin Hood is going to have to do, but if that's what everyon else uses around here, then I guess it will be just fine! It's always given me good results in pie pastry, and other baking.

Have to take a break from the bread-experimentation for a day or two. 4-year old and 14 month old, and a house that is going to start eating us if I don't get a good cleaning going on here is going to have to occupy my time. I am definitely trying this recipe next! Thanks so much!


yy's picture

King Arthur Flour is not necessary. Any reliable AP flour will do. Bread flour will also work. For reference, I know that KAF AP's protein content is 11.7%. I have found this recipe to be quite flexible. For example, you can feel free to add a bit more milk to make the dough wetter, which results in a softer roll. You can also add extra butter for even more softness and richness, and more sugar if you want it to be sweeter. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

ldavis47's picture


if you used the ingredients just as you described, the recipie is missing salt, which will make the bread very bland.