Honey Bun Recipe


Hi! My 3 year old has been asking about honey buns (he hears them mentioned in a toddler song, of course) and I can't seem to find a recipe that approximates that soft roll that I recall honey buns being. I'm trying to avoid showing him what they are like with store bought ones. I tried just using a sweet dough and making essentially cinnamon rolls without cinnamon, but they didn't have the shape or soft finish.

Anyone have a recipe or a suggestion for modifying one to keep it soft? And instructions about shaping (how are they so low and flat)?


badge posted by: kaf-sub-bellagoodvt on January 11, 2013 at 7:46 am in Q & A
tags: honey bun, recipe
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reply by: Mike Nolan on January 11, 2013 at 11:23 am
Mike Nolan

You could look for a Chelsea buns recipe. (After watching the episode of The Great British Bake-Off that featured them, I printed out a few last year and put them in my 'to do' file.)

Here's a video of Paul Hollywood from TGBBO making Chelsea buns:


I think they get that low and flat shape by being cut fairly thin (1 to 1 1/2 inches) and then not crowded in the pan, so that they can expand out until they touch.

In the video, Paul puts a dozen buns in a 9 x 12 pan. He pushes them down a bit to encourage them to bake outward, if you had a somwhat larger pan, like a 10 x 13, you could probably get them even flatter than the ones he makes.

Even if you don't plan to make them, just watching a master baker like Paul at work is instructive, and the banter between Paul and Mary is always priceless.

reply by: PaddyL on January 11, 2013 at 11:29 am

I have a recipe for Honey Buns which I will post in a bit.

reply by: PaddyL on January 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Okay, here you go. This Honey Bun recipe is from The Great Canadian Bread Book by Janice Murray Gill who has given permission for any of her recipes to be shared online.

Honey Buns

1 tbsp. dried yeast (less if you're using instant yeast)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 egg
1/4 cup scalded milk (I usually use skim milk powder.)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup currants or raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Proof the yeast in the lukewarm water with the 1/2 tsp. sugar. Scald the milk and add the remaining sugar, salt, and 2 tbsp. butter. Stir to melt butter and let stand till lukewarm. Check temperature and add proofed yeast. Stir in half the flour and beat well. Add more of flour until dough becomes stiff and cleans bowl. Turn out and knead. It is difficult to knead such a small cushion of dough; if you have a food processor or mixer fitted with a dough hook, use it, but if not, it might be a good idea to make a double batch and have 2 doz. rolls instead of 1 doz. You will have no difficulty in finding people to eat them. When dough is smooth and satiny, place in greased bowl cover and leave to rise till double. Meanwhile, make honey butter by creaming the 1/2 cup butter with the brown sugar and honey. Chill until mixture is no longer runny but will still spread. Punch dough down and roll out into a rectangle 16 x 8 inches. Spread with about 1/4 cup of the honey butter and fold in three, as folding a letter. Roll it out again (note: the honey butter has a tendency to squish out the sides.) to its original size and spread with another 1/4 cup of honey butter. Sprinkle with raisins and walnuts and, starting at the long side, roll it up like a jelly roll. Put the remaining honey butter in a saucepan and heat it till it bubbles. Pour half of into an 8 inch square baking pan. Cut the dough roll into twelve slices and place them, cut side down, in the pan. Let rise until double, pour the rest of the honey butter over and bake in preheated 375F. oven 25 to 30 minutes. (I put the pan on a baking sheet and baked them for 20 minutes.) Invert onto a warm plate, leave pan in place for a few minutes, remove and serve.

reply by: kaf-sub-bellagoodvt on January 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Thanks -- good idea.

reply by: kaf-sub-bellagoodvt on January 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Sounds yummy -- I'm going to print out and give it a go this weekend.

reply by: Mike Nolan on January 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Mike Nolan

These sound pretty good, I wonder if I would have a revolt on my hands if I made sweet rolls that didn't have any cinnamon in them?

reply by: vibeguy on January 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

If you have some on hand, mix in like 1/2 tsp of instant clearjel or clearjel A with the brown sugar before creaming it together with the butter and honey. This will trap a bit more water in the filling, which tends to keep the rolls softer.

Also, some lecithin granules in the dough wouldn't hurt one bit, either.

reply by: frick on January 11, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Or probably an extra egg yolk. BTW, that sticky bun dough I just made was so soft I could hardly roll it up. I put them in pans that were really too big so I pushed down and flattened the rolls when I panned then. They spread out more than up so they weren't much more than an inch high. So, IMHO, made a very soft, squishy dough and flatten it -- a lot.

reply by: elsa on January 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

In looking through old Baking Sheet issues for a "new" bread idea, I came upon a Honey Bun article in which a reader wanted to duplicate the Little Debbie type. The article mentioned those are deep fried which maintains uniform shape/height. KAF went on to develop their own Honey Bun recipe which is in the Spring 2005 issue. Any interest in my printing it here?

reply by: b.lm on January 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Please do post it.

reply by: elsa on January 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Sorry, it was the Summer 2005 issue for any looking through their archives. Here it is - Honey Buns

Dough - 2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp vanilla
1 c warm water
1/4 c nonfat dry milk
2 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs butter
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 1/2 c AP flour

Filling - 2 Tbs soft butter
2 Tbs ground cinnamon
2 Tbs AP Flour
3 Tbs honey

Glaze - 1 c confectioners' sugar
3 Tbs heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c honey

Dough: Mix and knead together the dough ingredients to form a soft smooth dough. Place dough in greased bowl, turn it over to coat both sides and let rise, covered, for 45 minutes.
Filling: Stir together the butter, cinnamon and flour until evenly combined; it will make a thick paste. Stir in the honey.
Assemble: Deflate the dough after its first rise, then roll it on a lightly greased work surface (lightly grease your rolling pin as well) to a 13 X 16 inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, then roll it up, starting with the long edge. Pinch the edges of the dough together, and place it,seam-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you'll have to lay it on the diagonal). Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap,and refrigerate for 1 hour. We found that the buns were much easier to slice after chilling, and this step also gave us an incredibly light and airy texture, due to the cool, slow rise.

After the dough is chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and slice into 12 pieces; we recommend using dental floss to do this, as it yields buns with much better shapes). Place the buns on a lightly-greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise for about 1 hour until puffy looking and almost doubled (they'll take awhile to do this, since they have to come back to room temperature first).

Glaze: Stir together the sugar, cream, vanilla, and honey until smooth.

Bake the buns in a preheated 325F oven for 25 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from the oven: spread with honey glaze while still warm, making sure to coat the sides as well as the tops. Yield:f 12 buns

The article author - Susan Reid - writes, "Some day,when my diet has resulted in me reaching my goal weight, I'll make this recipe and fry the buns after their second rise."