I rarely buy bread products from the grocery store. They smell funny- like chemicals. And I don’t want all those preservatives in my body. Most people wouldn’t either, if they realized what goes into that stuff.

So this time of year when the grill gets fired up, a bad bun can completely ruin a potentially delicious sandwich. I love sandwiches, so this is something I take very seriously.

Last week my wing-woman Meredith and I were dog-sitting for our friends Megan and Dane. It turned out to be the perfect day. We joined forces with two other friends and took the dogs with us up by Vail Pass to Shrine Ridge Trail. It’s a gentle incline with picturesque Colorado views.


Rather than driving home on I-70, we took Shrine Pass to Red Cliff. You can’t drive through Red Cliff hungry and not stop at Mango’s for their famous fish tacos. We had a lot of good laughs and our lungs were full of fresh mountain air. Bliss. I think the dogs had fun, too.

During lunch, we brainstormed some ideas for dinner. Grilled chicken tucked into homemade buns with romaine, parmesan cheese, fresh tomatoes, and caesar dressing. I volunteered to make the buns.

Fortunately for me, making a yeast bread product takes significantly less time up here. Bread doughs rise super fast, and I mean it. Turn around five minutes later and you will already notice a change in your dough. If you’re looking for a deeply developed yeast flavor, punch your dough down and let it rise again. You can also put it in the refrigerator and let it rise slower overnight.

I altered a roll recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather. I substituted some whole wheat flour, added a touch of sea salt to the tops of the buns, and made them big. The finished result is a wholesome, satisfying, fluffy bun that’s large enough to pack all kinds of delicious fillings inside.

Tuck this recipe away for an easy meal inspiration. No sandwich should suffer bad bread!

How to make this high altitude recipe:

Rocket Rolls adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

4.8 from 4 reviews
Big Fluffy Buns
Recipe type: High Altitude
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ canola or safflower oil
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Olive oil for brushing on the rolls
  • Extra sea salt
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the 1 cup of warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast mixture, oil, egg, and sugar.
  3. Add the 1½ cups water and mix until combined.
  4. Add the flours and mix on medium-low speed until the dough holds together, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the salt and cinnamon and mix the dough on low speed another minute.
  6. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 25-30 minutes.
  8. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  9. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Punch down the dough and pinch off tennis ball-size pieces of dough, you should have about 12 pieces..
  11. Arrange the rounds on your parchment-lined baking sheets and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top.
  12. Let them rise for about 10 minutes until they have almost doubled and have the consistency of soft marshmallows.
  13. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Note: This recipe was adjusted for high altitude baking. To prepare at sea level, increase the sugar to 3/4 cup and note that the dough will take longer to rise and bake. For the first rise, allow about 1 1/2 hours. The second rise will take about 20 minutes, and they will bake for 20-30 minutes. As with any variation in altitude, more flour or water may be needed to accommodate the dryness of flour.

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