This recipe makes ten sweet buns, but they freeze well (if you can convince your family not to eat them all as they come out of the oven).
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp granulated sugar
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, (2 envelopes)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp salt
3 cups milk, at room temperature
10 cups all-purpose flour, (approximately!)
Pour the water into a small bowl, then stir in the 2 tsp. (10 mL) of sugar, mixing until it's dissolved. Sprinkle in the yeast granules, stir, then let the mixture sit in a warm place (not over direct heat, though) while you proceed with the next step. The yeast will begin to activate and rise up in the bowl in about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in very large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, the 1/2 cup (125 mL) of sugar and salt until creamy. Beat in the eggs, then the milk and 3 cups (750 mL) of the flour. Continue to add flour, a cupful at a time at first, until the dough becomes difficult to stir in the bowl. Now turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and add the flour 1/2 cup (125 mL) at a time, kneading it by hand until it is no longer very sticky. This should be a fairly soft dough, so don't add too much flour. You'll know it's time to stop when the dough feels damp and still just a bit sticky.
Place the kneaded dough into a large buttered bowl, cover with a cloth (to prevent it from drying out) and put the dough into a warm spot to rise. You can use a slightly warmed (and turned off) oven to rise dough. A bowl of very hot water placed in the bottom of the oven will help keep the dough moist. Let rise 1 to 2 hours (or until doubled in volume). Rising time will depend on the temperature of the ingredients and the temperature of the air around the dough.
When the dough has risen, punch it down (ram your fist into it to deflate & a great kid's job!) and form it into any (or all) of the following shapes. You can divide the dough into 4 parts and make some of each. Instructions below are for using 1/4 of the dough.
Dinner rolls: Form dough into 2 in. (5 cm) diameter balls, rolling each one smooth. Place in well-greased muffin cups, or beside one another in a 8 or 9 in. (20 or 23 cm) square baking pan (leaving room for expansion). Brush with melted butter, then cover with cloth and let rise until double (about half an hour). Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 18 to 20 minutes. Makes about 12.
Cloverleaf rolls: Form dough into 1 in. (2 cm) balls and place 3 of them into each cup of a greased muffin pan. Brush with melted butter, then cover with cloth and let rise until double (about half an hour). Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 18 to 20 minutes. Makes about 12.
Crescents: On a well-floured surface, roll dough out into flat round—about 18 in. (45 cm) across. Brush surface with plenty of melted butter and using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 12 wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge very firmly and place, point-side-down, onto a greased cookie sheet (or two). Bend into a crescent shape and brush lightly with butter. Cover with cloth and let rise until double (about half an hour). Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 18 to 20 minutes. Makes about 12.
Cinnamon buns: On a well-floured surface, roll dough out into a 12 in. (25 cm) square. Brush with 2 tbsp. (30 cm) melted butter, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. (2 cm) cinnamon. Starting from the side closest to you, roll up very tightly to form a long cylinder. Cut crosswise into 8 or 9 pieces, and place these, cut-side-down in a well greased 8 or 9 in. (20 or 23 cm) baking pan. Cover with a cloth, and let rise until double (about half an hour). Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 8 or 9 buns.
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