Buttery Sourdough Buns

Homemade buttery sourdough buns are a perfect side dish. This easy recipe is made with starter from King Arthur Flour.

Buttery Sourdough Buns

I’ve had a sourdough starter in my refrigerator for months now, leftover from a bread-baking workshop I assisted in the fall.  Every week on Friday I feed it flour and water and then put it away.  It’s a habit.  Sometimes habits create blind spots and make us forget about doing obvious things, such as actually making some sourdough bread.  On Friday I was going through the motions, feeding my starter when I swear the thing looked at me and said “Are you ever going to bake me?!”  Oh… right.

My starter came from King Arthur Flour, so I decided to see what new and unusual sourdough recipes they had so I could try something new. I came upon a recipe for buttery sourdough buns, which were clearly the right answer.  I made them on Friday but found them to be slightly dry and lacking in salt.  I made them again last night with a few tweaks and they were perfection.  They’re soft but the swirl layers add a touch of crunch.  The dough has just the right amount of sour (disclaimer: I like my sourdough to be noticeably sour.  If that’s not your thing cut the quantity of starter down to 1/2 cup).  There’s a touch of cocoa powder in the swirls, but it’s just for color.  You could swap this out with paprika, which is how the recipe is originally written.    I appreciate that these buns contain standard yeast in addition to the starter.  Often times sourdough bread can be a multi-day process since the natural yeasts take longer to rise.  It’s a time commitment which is why I probably don’t make sourdough regularly.  But this recipe provides all of the rewards without the long wait.


Buttery Sourdough Buns ~ Savory Simple
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Buttery Sourdough Buns

5 from 1 vote
Homemade buttery sourdough buns are a perfect side dish. This easy recipe is made with starter from King Arthur Flour.
Course Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American, British
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 16 buns
Author Jennifer Farley


  • 2/3 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed (I used unfed)
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water


  • 5 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder, for color


  • Place the sourdough starter in the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the dough hook attachment.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  • Add the dry ingredients, egg, butter and lukewarm water to the stand mixer and turn it on low speed. After a minute or two increase the speed to medium.
  • Allow the mixture to kneed for several minutes until a smooth dough has formed.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased container and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow it to rise for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, preferably in a warm, dark place (I use the attic or the laundry room on top of the dryer).
  • Once the dough has roughly doubled in size, turn it out onto a clean, lightly greased work area. Gently punch down the dough and then roll it into a large rectangle.
  • Combine the cocoa powder with 3 tablespoons of melted butter and brush it evenly onto the dough.
  • Roll the long side of the rectangle evenly and tightly until you have one log. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide the log in half. Continue dividing evenly until there are 16 pieces.
  • Place the buns swirl-side up into two greased cake pans, 8 buns per pan.
  • Cover and allow to rise for an additional 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brush the buns with most of the remaining butter and allow them to bake for 22-25 minutes.
  • Brush with the remaining butter and carefully turn out onto a cooling rack. Serve hot or warm.


Adapted from King Arthur Flour

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About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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