Recently I relisted a stovetop bun warmer in my eBay store. In my search for more information about these items, I discovered that they’re no longer made as new items and the only way to get one is to buy a vintage one. It may be a bit of a mystery to someone who has never used one as to how to use one.
I was lucky enough to have and use one in my early years of marriage. My husband loved to have his rolls warmed and insisted that I use it regularly. So here’s how it works. You remove the inner layer and fill the bottom with about 1/8 to 1/4 inches of water. Replace the inner layer. If it floats or you feel pressure against the bottom, you’ve overfilled it. Place the rolls to be warmed inside. Open the vent at the top by turning the handle or sliding the vent cover open. This is important, you’ll have a soggy mess if you don’t allow steam to escape. Then place the whole shebang on a burner and set on low heat. When the water hits a boil, you can check the rolls to see how warm they are. It should take 5 or 6 minutes at a boil to steam and warm the rolls.
The nice thing about these warmers is that you can put slightly stale buns inside and they’ll soften nicely and be edible once again. This doesn’t work with “brick” hard rolls. They are better used for bread crumbs.