Saturday, July 23, 2011

Homemade "Sandwich Thin" Buns

There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread to cozy up a house. Probably 80% of the bread we eat in our home is what I have baked.  Unless I didn't realize we were out of bread in time for lunches, the only bread I buy is hamburger buns, and most often they are Sandwich Thins.  Orowheat and Arnold both have good ones.  I can't help it- I love these things!!!  They are usually around a 100 calories for an entire bun, plus they are full of fiber and whole wheat goodness.  Since they are so thin, these buns don't have the heaviness that whole wheat sandwich bread can have.

I knew there had to be a recipe out there to make these things myself, eliminating the need to buy bread all together.  This recipe from is wonderful!  The Sandwich Thin buns taste just like the store bought kind- actually better if you ask us.  They have a little more substance to them but are still only 108 calories per bun!  The recipe takes a little time because you need to wait for the dough to rise.  But the hands-on time is very minimal and super, super simple.  When I first started making them I would just free-form the buns into the right shape.  But just the other day I found a Muffin Top pan at the store and had to pick it up.  This makes pretty, perfectly round buns.  But there is still something rustic and lovely with the freeform kind.   I am so excited about these things- this has probably become my favorite recipe of the year!

print this recipe

Homemade "Sandwich Thin" Buns
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast
3 cups whole wheat flour (I like to use white whole wheat flour, it has a milder flavor and texture but just the same benefits of regular whole wheat flour.)
1/2 cup wheat bran
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 teaspoons canola oil
rolled oats for sprinkling on top

Don't be afraid of yeast! Seriously, baking bread is so easy! First you need to "proof" the yeast. Pour the warm water into the bowl of your stand mixer then add the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow to stand for 10 minutes. This is going to be your "sponge" for the dough. (If you don't have a stand mixer, that is perfectly fine!  Just use a regular bowl and do the kneading with your hands.  A mixer isn't necessary, just makes things a little easier and faster.)

Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

After ten minutes are up, add the canola oil and egg to the bowl of the stand mixer. Using the dough hook, turn the mixer on low and mix.  Add in 1 1/2 cups of the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover and let rest 1 hour.

Add the remaining dry ingredients and knead for 5 minutes. At tis time your flour may be way too sticky to do anything with. Add a little bit of whole wheat flour at a time up to one additional cup until you get a consistency that is able to be handled.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Divide dough into 16 equal portions. It is recommended to weighed the entire ball of dough to figure out the weight of each bun, but since I do not yet own a food scale, I just eyeball it.  Good enough for me!

Roll each portion of dough in your hands to form a ball, and then flatten it between your palms.
Place it on the baking sheet and press down, working the dough into a thin 5-inch round.

dough resting before going into the oven

Brush the tops with water and then sprinkle with rolled oats. Lightly press down to help them stick. Adding the oats isn't necessary, but it does make them look pretty. Sometimes I add the oats, sometimes I am just lazy and skip them.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow the buns to rest for 30 minutes on the baking sheets so they can double in bulk.  After this time you can choose to "dock" the buns.  This means poking small holes into the dough.  They actually have a special tool for this called creatively enough, a Dough Docker.  But a fork or the small end of a chop stick works just as well.  What docking does is prevents air bubbles from forming, keeping them nice and thin.  I have forgotten to dock them at times and never had any issues with bubbles.  But I must say, docking does make them look prettier! After resting, bake for 10-12 minutes.  Do NOT over bake.  You want the sandwich thins to be soft and light and only very lightly golden brown.  10 1/2 minutes of baking time is perfect for my oven.  Just be sure to keep an eye on them.

Let cool completely before slicing with a bread knife.

see how the buns are just very lightly brown- this is perfect!  

Each bun has 108 Calories; 1g Fat; 5g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 13mg Cholesterol.

here is a side view so you can see the thickness of the buns after baking

I shared my recipe at
 A Little Nosh
adapted from


  1. These look absolutely wonderful! Actually they look like the real thing...but better:).
    Would love to give them a thank you for sharing this recipe.

  2. My in-laws are in love with those sandwich thins! I think I will try my hand at making some fresh for them. The recipe indicates that the dough is divided into 16 pieces, but I only see a yield of 12. Did you eat a pan before posting? ;)

  3. @Robyn- lol, you are too funny! Yes, the recipe yields 16, the last pan was in the oven when I took this picture :) Please make these! You will score big points with your in-laws. And honestly, the recipe couldn't be much easier.

    You are welcome Ellie! I hope you give them a try!

  4. Glad you like my recipe! :) katho

  5. I just pinned this on Pinterest and it's going over like crazy!! :)

    Thanks for posting, I can't wait to try them :)

  6. Wow, thank you so much Emily! I am following your board now as well :)

  7. Thank you for posting this! I made the bread this morning and it is fabulous--just had a sandwich thin egg sandwich for lunch. I didn't have wheat bran in my hometown store (small town) so omitted it and I think adding the extra whole wheat flour when kneading made up for it because the sandwich thins turned out great. I used 50-50 AP and whole wheat flour. I used the lid of a cream cheese container to mold the dough into circles and ended up only yielding 12 but that's ok by me. Thank you- I will make these again instead of buying bread.

  8. These are great!! Thanks so much for posting it - I originally found the recipe on Pinterest and was super excited to try it out. So super easy and way cheaper to make than to buy in the store..

    Grace Kathryn

  9. It certainly looks good, I use sandwich thins for breakfast and lunch but the commercial ones are tasteless. Only thing I'll change is the Conola oil which 80% sold in the U.S. is GMO oil and nickel left in the oil is a by-product of the production of rape seed oil .. which in turn ends up staying in the diners body (heavy metal). Google "The great Con-ola" jccampb



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