Wheat-Oat-Flax Buns: countdown to the Canada Day cookout


“O Canada! Our home and native land
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
The true north, strong and free
From far and wide, O Canada
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.”

And there you have it, hockey fans – the words to Canada’s national anthem, which you’re always too preoccupied to REALLY listen to while waiting for the ref to drop the puck.

Today, July 1, is Canada Day, formerly known as Dominion Day – and a.k.a. Canada’s Birthday.

And I’ll bet you thought, all these years, that the U.S. was the only North American country with a July birthday, right?

Our neighbors to the north are just as willing and eager as we are to shake off winter and celebrate their national birthday. And, in the case of King Arthur Flour here in Norwich, Vermont, we can almost hear the fireworks and smell the barbecue: the border’s only about 2 hours north of us.

Speaking of barbecue, these soft, tender buns are perfect for Canada Day burgers: they feature some of Canada’s most important grain crops – wheat, oats, and flax.

The addition of canola oil adds another touch of the North: canola oil, made from rapeseed, was originally developed in Canada as a special, lower-acid vegetable oil. In fact, its name is an acronym: CANadian Oil, Low Acid.

But you don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy these tasty buns. They’re a perfect whole-grain alternative to the squishy white rolls usually offered at cookouts.

Looking to increase your fiber and vitamin intake in a tasty way? This recipe’s for you.

Place the following in a bowl:

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour or Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup whole flax meal
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup canola oil or melted butter
1 large egg yolk, white reserved for topping
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup orange juice

Note: Some people don’t like the taste of canola oil in baked goods. If that’s you, simply substitute any vegetable oil for the canola oil.

And, what’s with the OJ? Orange juice won’t add its own flavor to the rolls, but will mellow the potentially strong taste of the whole wheat.

Add 3/4 to 7/8 cup lukewarm water.

Use the greater amount of liquid in winter or in drier climates; the lesser amount in summer, or in a humid environment. This time of year, I suggest starting with 3/4 cup water.

Combine all of the ingredients, mixing to bring them together.

Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 20 minutes, to give the whole grains a chance to absorb some of the liquid.

Then knead – by hand, stand mixer, or bread machine – to make a smooth, soft, elastic dough.

Like this. Not too sticky; not too dry.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or in an 8-cup measure (so you can track its progress as it rises), and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it’s risen noticeably.

It won’t necessarily double in bulk, but it’ll probably get pretty close.

Note the difference between bread flour (on the right), and all-purpose. Bread flour, with its additional gluten, produces a higher rise.

Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 12 pieces (about 72g each).

A scale is a major help here, if you’re going for buns that are all the same size.

Take those 12 pieces of dough…

…and shape each one into a round ball.

Use your fingers to pull and flatten each ball into a circle about 3″ across.

Place the buns on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for about 90 minutes, until noticeably puffy.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Next, take the egg white you reserved while making the dough, and whisk it with 2 tablespoons cold water.

Brush the buns with the egg white/water mixture.

Sprinkle with whole golden flax seeds

…and/or rolled oats.

Bake the buns for 21 to 25 minutes.

They’ll rise nicely, and turn golden brown.

Remove the buns from the oven.

To keep their bottoms crisp, transfer them to a rack to cool.


Serve at your next cookout!

Just wanted you to see their beautiful light-tan interior. Soft (but strong enough to hold an overloaded burger), moist, and flavorful, these are my new whole-grain buns of choice.

Wrap completely cooled buns airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Wheat-Oat-Flax Buns.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. wingboy

    I like the scale. I think I could see those numbers even without my glasses!

    At first read my thoughts were that a half cup of ground flax and a half cup of oats is a lot for just 3 cups of flour. The texture of the buns, however, looks about perfect.

    With the flax, oats and WWW, there is a lot going on that’s good for you. Would you dare add some Hi-Maize to increase the fiber even more? Is there really a noticeable difference in adding the OJ to the mix? (I find adding OJ to WW reduces bitterness, but I haven’t found the need to add it to WWW)

    Happy Canada Day and I hope you have a great 4th!

    Wingboy, you could try the Hi-maize – it doesn’t seem to really affect texture much, as it’s a gluten-friendly (i.e., doesn’t hurt the gluten) starch. It also doesn’t help rising, though – you might be starting to edge towards denseness, with a touch of “gluey” – but give it a (cautious) try for sure. And, I agree = I think white whole wheat is pretty mild on its own, without the addition of OJ. I just usually call for it because it doesn’t hurt, taste-wise; and the slight acidity is something yeast likes. Have a great weekend! PJH

  2. Cortney

    These look great! I can’t wait to try these!

    Any chance you can supply the nutritional analysis on them? My mom is a diabetic and we are always looking for lower carb and higher fiber foods for her.

    I’ve asked our “nutrition expert” to do that, Cortney – stay tuned… PJH

  3. Cortney

    Any word yet from the nutrition expert?

    Thanks guys!

    Thanks for your patience, Cortney – the nutritionals should be posted later this afternoon. PJH

  4. mayoya

    I don’t want to use all purpose flour? I want to use only whole wheat flour.how much wheat gluten should i use?

    Try adding 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, and increasing the water to 1 cup; if the dough seems dry compared to the photos, add a bit more water. The rolls will still be denser than what’s pictured, but both of these steps will help. Good luck – PJH

  5. gennysmom

    Can I use these for hamburgers? I’m trying to go whole wheat as much as possible.
    Also, I don’t have orange juice in the house. If I leave it out, should I increase the water? sub in vinegar for the acid?

    Absolutely, they’ll be delicious with burgers. You can sub water for the OJ, that’ll be just fine. Enjoy – PJH

  6. gennysmom

    THESE ROCK! My brother in law said the best part of the meal was the buns, and my husband requested that I just make these from now on instead of loaf bread.
    I did run out for OJ but didn’t realize how low on all purpose flour I was, so I made them with 1C all purpose and 2c wheat instead of the other way around. They STILL ROCK.
    Got another batch in the oven as I type. MMMMM?! Also, I couldn’t believe how easy it was!

    Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback! It’s great to find a higher-fiber bread that tastes good, isn’t it? PJH

  7. gennysmom

    Hi! Me, again. Can I freeze or refrigerate the dough for this recipe? I’m finding that we don’t get through the whole dozen rolls in a day, and it would be nice to be able to just pull out some dough and have rolls 1/2 hour later…

    Yes, you can freeze any yeast dough. You’ll just want to make sure that you add an additional 1/2 teaspoon yeast to the recipe. You’ll make the dough as directed, allow it to go through the first rise, punch it down, then form the rolls. At this point, transfer the rolls to a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Once solid, transfer the rolls to a zip top bag for storage. When you need rolls, remove as many as you need and allow them to thaw to room temperature, then go through the second rise. Bake as you normally would. Alternatively, you can also bake all of the rolls, then just freeze the ones you’d like to keep for later. To freshen them up, just heat them in a 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes. Enjoy! ~Mel @ KAF

  8. Graziana

    I have been making this dough as a loaf. The result is nor quite as long as the loaf pan, but it still rises high, looks glorious and tastes delicious. I mix it right in my bread machine on the dough setting, and I bake it in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Thanks for this and all your recipes. I am a devoted fan.

    Graziana, great idea – thanks for sharing it here, so others can turn rolls into a loaf when the urge strikes. And thanks so much for you loyalty – much appreciated! PJH

  9. Everette Foiles

    Well it was a very helpful blog post.Thanks for writing such an information and facts with us.I really hope you will definitely keep on enlightening folks in future as well,with the help of this type of useful info.Continue the good task.



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