Mennonite Zwieback Buns: Recipe #246

My husband Tim’s family makes Mennonite zwieback for many meals and gatherings. They’re a bit like two mini-buns stuck together. You pull the top one off and fill the little bread bowl underneath it with jam. We spun up a plant-based version here for us all to enjoy. Thanks to Judy for inspiration!

And if you look in the mirror sometime today, remember these words of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh: “Beauty is a heart that generates joy and a mind that is open.”

You are beautiful!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.

Ingredients ($3.50 for about two dozen buns)

1/3 cup warm water – free
1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01
1 tbsp active dry yeast – $0.50
1/2 cup vegan butter (like Miyoko’s) – $1.24
2 tsp salt – $0.10
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar – $0.05
2/3 cups warm potato water (saved from boiling potatoes) – free
1 1/3 cups warm soy milk – $0.49
5-6 cups white whole wheat flour – $1.06

Directions for Mennonite Zwieback Buns

1. In a small bowl, gently mix together the water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes so the yeast can activate and form a thick foam on the surface of the water.

In a large bowl, pour the warm soy milk and warm potato water over the butter, salt and brown sugar. Stir it all together until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, then let it cool for 5-10 minutes.

Add the yeast mixture and 5 cups of flour to the soy milk/butter bowl and mix well. Continue adding flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough becomes soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead by hand for 5 minutes, then cover with a tea towel and let it rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

2. After the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured board and knead it a couple of times to knock the air out. Pinch off pieces of dough to form the buns: the bottom bun should be about the size of a large walnut, and the top one should be smaller – the top bun is 1/3 of the total bun, the bottom bun is 2/3 of the total bun.

Put the smaller ball on top of the larger one and push down through the center of both balls with the knuckle of your index finger (no flour needed) to prevent the buns from falling over during baking.

Cover and rise until they are about doubled again, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Your Mennonite zwieback should be nice and golden and easy to pull apart, with a soft fluffy center. Enjoy with butter and jam. They freeze very well for future meals as well.

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 2 = 1-3 hours
  • Servings: 3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per serving: 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 16/18

If any of you amazing home chefs tried it, or have other recipes you’d like us to experiment with, please let me know. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

2 thoughts on “Mennonite Zwieback Buns: Recipe #246

    1. Thanks so much Bernadine! They came out great for a first try. 🙂 And your whole wheat sandwich bread looks delicious. Have a great day too!

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