Make Ahead

Lelo's Hawaiian Sweet Bread

December 11, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves makes 8 rolls (about 4 inches in diameter)
Author Notes

Many years ago a Hawaiian friend of my mother gave her this recipe. I love the sweet bread that is famous in Hawaii and buy it often, but this was the first time that I have ever made it myself. My mother listed her ingredients but gave no directions on method or technique. So, I used her ingredient list and trial and error...I made this recipe 4 times before I got it. Actually # 5 produced the roll that I wanted...yeasty sweet, tender and tasteful. Leftovers can be reheated or I sliced a roll very thinly and toasted it to pair with a dip or cheese. —dymnyno

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water to dissolve yeast
  • 3 cups flour (bread flour or all purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (not hot)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup white sugar plus 1 tablespoon
  1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of war water with 1/8 tsp of sugar.
  2. In a large bowl whisk 2 eggs .
  3. Mix the warm milk and the melted butter with the eggs until blended, then add the sugar and the yeast.
  4. Gradually add 2 + cups of flour (all purpose or bread flour). Add each cup of flour until completely blended.
  5. After the dough is mixed, place it on a flat floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour while you are kneading if needed.
  6. Put the ball of dough in a buttered bowl and cover with a towel. It will rise and double in size during the period of a couple of hours.
  7. Punch it down and knead again for a few minutes. Then put it in the refrigerator overnight (12 hrs) loosely covered with plastic wrap.
  8. Roll the dough into a log and divide it into 8 rolls.
  9. Place the rolls on a parchment lined sheet or a silpat. Let them rest for about 15 minutes before you put them in the oven. (they will rise again so give them some space)
  10. Brush with a little egg wash for shine.
  11. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
  12. ****NOTE: You can use a food processor to make this neat and quick. Just pulse a couple of times after each ingredient is added . Pulse a few more times after the flour is gradually added to make the dough mixed well enough to knead. Easy peasy!
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39 Reviews

Skye T. March 24, 2020
The ingredients say salt.... but the directions do not say where to add it???
Delza January 14, 2019
Do I really have to refrigerate it before baking it. I’ll be doing it I’m my bread maker.
Hiromi M. August 2, 2015
1/2 of sugar sounds like a lot... How sweet are they compared to King's hawaiian bread? I would like to make these maybe with 1/4 cup of sugar...?
ChefWithAKnife November 5, 2013
I actually used the dough to make kolaches. A Czech/Tex specialty. It's like a sweet dough with a little smokie sausage encased inside the dough with a little cheese and jalapeno. This is a very coveted, secret recipe here, and nobody will give up how they make them. This is the closest dough recipe I have ever found. They are not quite the texture, but they are spot on as flavour goes. The ones that we have in Texas are more like a spongy brioche type dough. I'll just have to play around with it until I get it right. I had enough dough left over for 3 to 4 rolls in every batch. This is what I have been making the sandwiches out of. Tomorrow I'm just going to make plain rolls. They don't need any sausage in them, they are great just as they are. Have you ever made this into a loaf? I think I might try that next. If I can get my camera working I will send you some pix. Once again THANK YOU for the fabulous recipe. These sure beat the hell out of that King's Hawaiian bread that you find in the market.
ChefWithAKnife November 5, 2013
Dear lord these are so good!!!!!!!!!!!
I've made them twice in 3 days, and am going to have to make another batch tomorrow. We just gobble them up in my house-and there are only two us! Lol. With tuna salad or a ham and swiss cheese? Incredible. Thank you so much for the recipe. It is absolutely heavenly.
dymnyno November 5, 2013
Thanks! I haven't made them myself in quite a while. Did you take pictures of yours? I would love to see how they turned out.
Ordinary B. December 27, 2010
We are blizzarded in here in New Jersey and a taste of Hawaii will be just the thing today! Can't wait to try these!
dymnyno December 27, 2010
Let me know how they turn out!
gbuda December 20, 2010
I made these last week. They were very tasty and my wife told me the recipe was a keeper! High praise!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 17, 2010
These look really great!! I've never had Hawaiian Bread, but it sounds like the kind of bread I most love - a little sweet and yeasty. Are they more of a softer roll or crusty? Have a wonderful holiday in Maui! My husband used to live there and we haven't been back there for awile now. We leave for Tahoe Monday, hopefully between the massive snow storms forecasted. Have a very Merry Christmas, Mary!
dymnyno December 17, 2010
Susan, these are not really, really soft like the commercial brands. Tahoe should be fantastic for much snow...I hope the temps stay low to keep it light and fluffy. We are leaving Sunday and will probably endure fierce headwinds from the storm heading to California!
hardlikearmour December 15, 2010
Your rolls sound really good. I like my rolls to be kinda sweet and tender. I'm glad you persevered!
dymnyno December 16, 2010
Ha, have no idea how much flour and yeast that I wasted!!
hardlikearmour December 17, 2010
At least you weren't experimenting with vanilla beans or saffron!
dymnyno December 15, 2010
I have to thank a lot of food 52 ers for a lot of help...I am a newbie in the world of baking and I had a lot of fun!!! Thank you all for all the tips and just common sense may seem simple but it has been a whole new experience for me and I have had too much fun...and my dogs have loved the mistakes. My rocks are a dogs treat! I am so happy that I finally succeeded !!!!!
mrslarkin December 13, 2010
These sound great, dymnyno.
dymnyno December 13, 2010
Thanks Mrs L, They came out OK , but I still want better, so I am incorporating tips from Thirshfeld and others...I want perfect rolls!!!
mrslarkin December 14, 2010
me too!! I'm on my 5th batch of rolls.....
Hilarybee December 13, 2010
If I make these, will I be transported to a Hawaiian Island? Please?! Because I'm freezing my a** off this year. I'll make anything to feel a little warmer.
dymnyno December 16, 2010
I know how you feel! We had a hard frost here last night...A little aloha would be fun right now!
gingerroot December 13, 2010
Another recipe after my own heart (your poke being the other). These look beautiful and I bet they are delicious. Thanks, dymnyno!
dymnyno December 13, 2010
Thanks, gingerroot. We are on our way to Maui on this Saturday...yeah.
gingerroot December 14, 2010
Have a great trip! We have family in Kula...there is a possibility we'll be there for a night right before New Year's.
dymnyno December 16, 2010
Thank you, gingerroot! I am looking forward to going to Maui for Christmas. And thank you for the remark about my poke...I am really proud of that recipe.
Kayb December 12, 2010
Anxious to try this. I love making Cubanos on Kings Hawaiian -- they ought to be swoon-worthy on this!
dymnyno December 16, 2010
The Kings Hawaiian bread is much softer than my bread, but the flavor of sweet and yeast is still the same. I made curry chicken sandwiches with my bread yesterday and they were delicious.
Lizthechef December 12, 2010
I am overwhelmed by my poor baking skills in comparison to these great recipes. I LOVE Hawaiian bread and rolls - so glad you stuck with it! Terrific photo as well - thumbs up!
TiggyBee December 12, 2010
I really love these. Why aren't they entered this week? Enter!! And I think you must be referring to King's? Those things are awful!
Sagegreen December 12, 2010
Yours look wonderful. I have to laugh, because the reason that I am still up right now, instead of sleeping, is that I just made some rosemary rolls that were hard as rocks! Guess the yeast was flat or else the gluten free flour was too heavy....anyway, I am determined to try again, so am waiting to see if the yeast will rise this time...and it is supposed to rise 3 times with this! Guess I am joining the club The jury is still out on this second try. These are hard!
dymnyno December 12, 2010
I think that the yeast was bad on my first 2! (plus I burned the 1st one)
lapadia December 11, 2010
Oh! Well, anyway, I love your dedication, working to getting them just as you like them and the photo is an eye catcher...
lapadia December 11, 2010
ps - my computer doesn't let me continue commenting past 2 comments, it automatically starts a new one.
lapadia December 11, 2010
Great job dymnyno, I'll have to try them when I am wanting a "sweeter" roll!
dymnyno December 11, 2010
I think that the flavor is more yeast than sugar sweet. I like making sandwiches with them. ("them" being the commercial brands I used to buy).
TiggyBee December 11, 2010
I don't see this entered in the contest yet. It should be..Looks great!!!
lapadia December 11, 2010
I like your snowman profile pic, TiggyBee!