When it comes to special family dinners, my family always requests honey buns. With this simple glazing method, it really elevates them. You already love my basic sourdough, so add this glaze for a little something extra.
My family raves about these and begs for them. So much so that I once made 100 rolls for a family wedding! It's really not that much once you get into it. You just need the oven space or just spread out your baking some so that you can put the next ones in the oven when the first trays come out.
Why You Need This Recipe
- While I think they are best served warm, you can always make them earlier in the day if you have to free up your oven.
- You always need ways to use up your sourdough starter, right?
- You'll see below that you can switch up soooo many ingredients so you can use whatever you have on hand.
Before we get too far into this, I just want to say that if sourdough ain't your thing? You can STILL enjoy honey glazed dinner rolls! Just make yourself a batch of Elaine's Crustless Sandwich Bread, shape into rolls, and add the glaze from below.
Sourdough starter - you've already got some going, don't you? But don't use discard.
All-purpose flour - no special flour needed here. Whether you are grinding your own or using the store brand, it all works.
Honey - if you have your own bees, that's cool. Or local honey or store honey. It's all tasty here, both in the dough and on top.
Milk - whatever you have on hand works here, too. Straight from the cow, from the jug, or from almonds.
How to Make Sourdough Honey Buns
This is a longish recipe, so make sure to read the recipe card for all the details.
At least 8 hours, or up to 24, before you want to bake the final product, start your pre-ferment.
You can time this to then mix up your dough either 6ish hours before baking or let it also rest overnight again. But basically you are adding the flour to your preferment to make the dough, and giving it a quick knead to then let it rest until doubled (or overnight)
Punch down the dough to let it do its thing again. Yup, two raises before shaping. Let it double again.
Shape into two large rectangles and then you can quickly slice into 48 rolls. You'll want either two large rimmed baking sheets or two 9x13 glass dishes. It depends on if you want them touching to pull apart or spread apart so they are individual.
Cover and now let the buns raise until nearly doubled. Then you can preheat your oven.
Mix up the glaze, making sure the butter isn't so hot the egg cooks. Brush over the buns and then bake about 15 minutes or so.
Tips and Tricks
- Use a thermometer to know when it's baked through.
- Try different shaping techniques. I like smooth tops that comes from pinching the bottoms of each square of dough.
- I enjoy these best fresh, but my kids certainly don't complain if they find leftovers the next morning!
The best part about these honey buns is the ease of using whatcha got.
Use non-dairy milk options, just stick to unsweetened. You can also save the "buttermilk" from making butter at home. And in a pinch, water will do ya.
Excess eggs from your chickens? Crack one or two into your measuring cup and then finish measuring your milk for the dough. This will make things really rich!
If you're short on honey, save that for the glaze. You can use maple syrup in the dough.
Sourdough sometimes take a while to bake compared to regular dough, so make sure you aren't underbaking. I like to use a thermometer because the center of your bread should be about 190-200 F to ensure it's totally done.
Once you have the squares cut, pinch the corners together and kinda give them a quick roll, pulling the top of the bun taught. This makes for the smoothest tops. But no one will complain if you just give each square a quick roll into a ball. Homemade bread is where it's at.
Honey Glazed Sourdough Buns
- 1 cup sourdough starter it needs to have doubled, but can be falling and needing to be fed, it does not need to be at 'optimal bread baking state'
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- Pre-ferment from above
- 2 tablespoons butter, coconut oil or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 4 ½ - 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- Mix the pre-ferment of sourdough starter, flour, and water up 8-24 hours before you want to bake. The longer beforehand, the more sour your end product will be. If I plan to mix the dough in the morning, I make it before bed. Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let sit on the counter.
To Make the Dough
- Melt butter, honey, and salt on low in a saucepan. When it's melted and combined, turn off the heat, add your milk, and stir to combine. With a thermometer or your finger, test the temperature of the mixture. By thermometer, it should be no more than 105 °F. By your finger...you should be able to comfortably hold it in for 10 seconds. If it's not this warm, turn the heat back on to warm it. If I use a heavy bottom pot, there is enough residual heat to heat the milk, if I use something like a thin enamel pot, there isn't.
- Add the warm liquid to your mixer (or bowl you plan to mix the dough in) and add your pre-ferment.
- Stir to combine; it's not going to combine super well until you start adding flour.
- Add your flour, starting on the low end, and mix the dough, adding more flour as needed just until it's combined, but not a cohesive, nice dough.
- Let sit 15-30 minutes, then knead the dough.
- This dough takes more kneading than most- my mixer kneads on low for 10 minutes, so if kneading by hand, you're going to knead about 10-15 minutes.
- If the dough sticks to the bowl or your hands, add a little more flour, but try not to add too much. It's not a stiff dough, it's on the softer side. Try wetting your hands/counter for kneading if it's sticking and you've already added a lot more flour.
Bake in One Day Method
- Cover your dough with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let rise 2-3 hours until it looks like it's kind of doubled (don't overthink it, as long as it's 1.5'd its original size).
Overnight Method (see notes)
- Cover your dough with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let sit overnight. It will be gigantic and beautiful in the morning.
For Either Method: Continue as Below
- Punch your dough down, give it a few kneads. Yes, you are letting it rise twice before shaping.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let sit 2-3 hours until it's doubled. To test if your dough has doubled, dip your finger in flour and poke the dough. If the dough bounces back- it's got more to give and needs to keep rising. If the dough stays indented, it's given all it has to give and you can proceed.
To Shape Your Buns
- Punch down the dough, dump it onto a lightly floured counter, and divide in two. Flatten out each section into a roughly 10" x 6" rectangle. Cut each into 24 portions.
- Shape the buns however you want, personally I prefer to choose the smoothest looking side up, and tuck the sides down under, pinching them together to make a cute little dough ball. Put the ball dough side down on a greased or lined pan. If you want pull apart buns, put the dinner buns in a 9×13 pan (24 rolls); they will pretty much be touching. If you want stand alone buns use a cookie sheet and space them farther.
- Cover and let rise 2-3 hours. If your house is REALLY cold, like below 60 °F, turn your oven on for a minute or two. Tuck a cast iron pan in first to help retain heat. Turn oven off and put covered bread into oven.
- When it's doubled (don't forget to take buns out if they're in there!) preheat oven to 375 °F.
- Melt butter and stir in honey to combine them. Take off heat/make sure it's only warm not hot and whisk in the egg. Brush it generously over the buns.
- Bake for 15 minutes, check internal temperature with an instant read thermometer – this is the best way to know when your buns are done, because you may have them a different size than mine and sourdough bakes longer than yeasted…underbaking is a very common problem. They should be 190 °F to 200 °F.
- OVERNIGHT TWEAKS - In my extensive testing of this recipe, I have found if you are doing an overnight rise, you can skip the autolyze rest before kneading AND skip the first punch down and rise. Just let mix, knead, let it rise, punch down and shape in the morning.
- EXCESS EGGS IN YOUR HOME?! You can swap ¼ cup of milk for an egg! Add the egg in step 3. It adds an awesome boost to your dough and when you've got extra eggs, why not?!
- NO HONEY? Try an equal part maple syrup instead, or you can use double the amount in granulated sugar (honey is twice as sweet, so you need to double the measurement for sugar).