University of Alberta Tuck Shop Buns

serves 18

niversity of Alberta

Tuck Shop Buns

The University of Alberta Tuck Shop was in operation from 1917 to 1970. My grandfather, Norman Douglas Mclean (Engineering 1932) enjoyed Tuck Shop buns, as did my parents (Physics 1955 and Biochemistry 1956), my uncle Ralph, and all three of my aunties. The Tuck Shop used to stand on the east side of 112th Street until it was torn down to make way for a Fine Arts building.

Fortunately for Tuck-shop-bun lovers, the then-manager of the Tuck-shop, Joyce Kerr, had standardized the recipe for Tuck-shop-buns and brought it with her to the Central Academic Building cafeteria, where I was often able to snag one of the 70-dozen such buns that were baked every day. In fact, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings when we had 80-minute lectures, Profs in the old Civil/Electrical Engineering building would break for ten minutes halfway through the class and a representative from the class would gather up orders and payment and dash over to CAB to return with the requisite number of CAB buns.

Mrs Kerr produced a domestic-scale version of the CAB- or Tuck-Shop-bun recipe, available at

125 ml warm water (100ml)

Mix together

30g sugar (10g)

14 grams yeast (7g)

Dissolve in water/sugar mixture, letting sit about 10 minutes

500 ml boiling water (150ml)

Combine in the stand-mixer bowl and let the butter melt and the mixture cool a bit.

45 g butter (15)

10 g salt (3g)

45 g sugar (15g)

230 g All Purpose Flour (80g)

Add to large bowl. Beat this mixture hard with the paddle until very smooth and creamy (about 5 minutes). Then add the softened yeast mixture.

3 eggs (1 egg)

Add to the mixer bowl. Change the paddle for the bread hook and continue beating until the dough is very smooth. It should be a very soft dough. If the dough is too soft to handle, add a bit more flour – but only barely enough to make the dough handleable. Cover and let stand in a warm place to rise until the dough is doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).

When dough is rising:

400 g All-purpose flour (180g)

150 g butter (50g)

Melt in a flat pan and set aside to cool.

225 g sugar

Mix on a large deep platter

8 g cinnamon

Turn the raised dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Let the dough set 5 to 10 minutes to "firm up". Cut the dough into pieces about the size of an orange (clementine). Dip each piece of dough first into the melted butter, then coat it well in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Stretch the dough piece until it is 4 to 5 inches long and form it into a simple knot. Place the knots side by side in a 9" x 12" x 2" pan. (Be sure the pan is 2" deep and allow a 3" square for each bun.) Let the finished buns rise for about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 C for 30 minutes. This recipe makes 18 good sized buns (24 tiny tea-buns).