Jane’s Overnight Buns

This recipe produces soft, delicate buns with just a hint of sweetness. I like to eat them for breakfast with a slice of cheese or salty meat. I have also served them with whipped cream for Fastelavn (an observance that takes place in Norway on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday), but shape them differently and you will have a nice dinner roll instead.  In other words, these buns are very versatile.

Jane's overnight buns

There is nothing complicated about this recipe but the timing is relatively important. I recommend starting the dough around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, shaping the buns around 10 p.m. and baking them around 8 a.m. the following morning.


  • 1 C water
  • ¼ C (50 g) sugar
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ t salt
  • ¾ t active dry yeast
  • 2 ½ – 3 C (350-425 g) all-purpose flour


Bring the water to a boil then add the sugar and continue to boil for a full five minutes. Remove from heat and add the oil. Let stand until the water temperature cools to about 115°F (45°C).

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg and salt. Add the water mixture to the beaten eggs along with the yeast. Stir briefly to dissolve. Switch to the dough hook and begin adding the flour a half-cup at a time, making sure that each addition is fully incorporated before adding any more.

When the dough forms a sticky ball around the dough hook, turn it out onto the counter and knead in the remaining flour by hand. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky when it is finished. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, turning it over to coat. Cover the bowl with a warm, moist cloth to prevent drying and cover that again with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 5 to 6 hours.

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 15 minutes. Grease or line with parchment paper a baking tray or cookie sheet. Knead the dough gently then roll or pat it out to a thickness of about 1 inch. Cover the dough with a damp pastry cloth as you form the buns.

Take a small amount of dough (ca. 50 g) and roll it gently between your palms. Turn the edges inside out and pinch them together to form a smooth, stretched surface on top. Place the pinched side down on the baking tray 2-3 inches apart and repeat until all of the dough has been formed into buns. Place the baking tray in a cold oven to rise overnight.

Early the next morning, remove the baking tray and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the buns for 10-13 minutes. Remove the buns when the top third of the bun is lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: about 12 buns