Saturday, November 21, 2009

Moravian Lovefeast Buns

Quite an impressive name for a dinner roll. Well, this absolutely amazing roll has its origins in a very unique religious gathering that I only know anything about because they make dang good buns. Where my darling Mother first got this recipe I do not know, but they have become an absolutely essential part of our holiday meals. In fact, despite all the wonderful things we make and bake for the holidays, these rolls are the one thing that I can't serve Thanksgiving OR Christmas dinner without and the thing that often receives the most sighs of delight. I'm sure we are not alone in finding a little piece of heaven in a truly perfect dinner roll. These buns are made with a fortified dough which includes potato, butter, eggs and a good bit of sugar. The resulting bun is slightly sweet, buttery and the texture, oh my goodness the texture! Fluffy and light but with a tight enough crumb to be just a little bit chewy. I need to tell you that these ARE your holiday dinner rolls. Please trust me. They are. Look no further.

adapted from the kitchen of my mother, Mrs. Mary Brown
Makes 12-15 rolls

4 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp fine sea salt
2 pkg. active dry yeast or 4.5 teaspoons
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup water
2 eggs
3/4 cup boiled, riced or mashed potatoes, cooled

Maldon sea salt
Melted butter, to brush tops

NOTE:  Start this dough the day before you plan to use it.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

Belt the butter and add water to it.  Add riced/mashed potatoes and cool to lukewarm, when whisk in eggs.  With the mixer on low, gradually mix wet ingredients into dry.  Mix on medium low for 3-4 minutes. Dough should be quite sticky and will stick to sides but should also stay mostly on paddle.  Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl and let rise until double, about 1.5 hours and then punch down. Refrigerate overnight, tightly covered with plastic wrap or in a large airtight container.

Remove roll dough from fridge just before you are going to form the rolls to rise, or at least 3 hours before you want to serve them.  Butter a 9 x 13 casserole. Form rolls slightly bigger than golf balls and place in pan, giving space for them to rise. 3 across and 5 down for a total of 15.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until more than double in size in a warm place for 2 hours.  They can also be made individually in muffin tins, be sure to spray thoroughly with non-stick spray.

Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with Maldon salt.  Bake in the lower half of preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes. Remove when deep golden brown.


  1. I am totally going to try these! How many should I make to bring to a dinner party with 20ish people?

  2. Julie this is very interesting. As part of the history to this, the Moravian Love Feasts were bread and coffee. These feasts where held when sending out missionaries. The Moravians are credited with the modern missionary movement. As I said before the Love Feast proceeded the sending. The Moravians were so compelled to tell the world of Jesus that some even sold themselves into slavery to go and share Jesus with the slaves in the West Indies. It is said that as the ships left their European harbor, with the family of Moravians standing on shore, that the young men who had sold their freedom to go and be as a slave for the purpose of the gospel would stand on the deck and cry out with all their might, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive honor and glory!" Wow, what a love feast those must have been.

    Martin Barrett

  3. I have wanted this recipe for quite awhile. Thank you for posting it, Julie.

  4. Traditional love feast buns are flavored with orange peel and mace and served with a cup of coffee. The Moravian love feast service dates back to the agape meals of the early Christian Church.

  5. Hello,
    I want to make these buns very much. Would it be possible to make in bread machine using dough cycle to make the dough and continue with the rest as per your recipe?
    Sounds like more fun the regular way but never seem to have much time.
    I have made other breads using the way I described with good success but not sure about your recipe.
    I really love the Moravian recipes.

    Thank you,


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