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Spanish Buns

Spanish buns are flavored with spices and rose water, a distillate of rose petals commonly in use in the nineteenth century.
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Light Snack
Cuisine Latin American, Pennsylvania Dutch
Servings 12


  • Electric mixer recommended


  • 3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour 12 ounces
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons quick-rise or active dry yeast 1/4-ounce package
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup warm whole milk 105-115 degrees
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tablespoon-size pieces 2 sticks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 whole freshly grated nutmeg 2 teaspoons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 tablespoon rose water or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, if desired


  • Put 2 cups (8 ounces) of the flour, the yeast, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Add the warm milk and stir to moisten with a rubber spatula.
  • Put the bowl on the mixer stand and attach the flat beater. Beat on medium low speed for 1 minute.
  • Cut the very soft buffer into tablespoon-size pieces.
  • With the machine running on medium-low, add the butter pieces one at a time, beating until incorporated after each, about 15 to 30 seconds. Then beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.  The batter will climb up the beater and be very elastic.
  • With the machine on medium speed, gradually add the sugar, beating it in well.
  • Then add the eggs one at a time, beating about 30 seconds after each. The batter will be smooth and creamy, with a texture like whipped cream.
  • Add the nutmeg,  cinnamon, mace, and the rose water (or vanilla) and beat them in on low speed.
  • Add the remaining 1 cup flour (4 ounces), beat it in on low, then beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.  The batter is very wet and sticky.
  • Butter a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan well.  Scrape the batter into the pan, and spread level. The pan will be about 1/3 full.
  • Cover tightly with lightly oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) or an overturned pan of the same size.
  • Set the pan in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees) until the batter has doubled in volume and almost reaches the rim of the pan, 1 to 2 hours. The batter should be very light and airy with bubbles on top.
  • Adjust an oven rack to the lower third position, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Uncover the pan and set it aside while you preheat the oven.
  • Bake about 30 minutes, until the top is a rich brown color, it springs back when gently pressed, and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Cut into squares with a sharp serrated knife, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve.
  • Spanish Buns are best when very fresh.  Store leftovers tightly covered at room temperature and reheat briefly (about 5 minutes) in a preheated 325-degree oven to refresh.