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Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

My mom and I went back and forth for quite a while this year on what bread to make for Thanksgiving. We had a ton of people to feed, but there are so many different flavors and ingredients in Thanksgiving side dishes that we didn’t want the rolls to compete. But my cousin had made these rolls before, and sent my mom the recipe. When we saw it, it seemed like the perfect solution.

buttermilk rolls finished

These rolls are fluffy but also still hearty, and a great complement to any meal. They won’t compete with the other dishes and are perfect for sopping up gravy or just slathering with butter and jam.

buttermilk rolls butter

Melt the butter in the microwave.

buttermilk rolls yeast sponge

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and a pinch of sugar (it helps the yeast activate better), and let stand till foamy—about 10 minutes.

buttermilk rolls wet ingredients

In a stand mixer with beaters, combine the buttermilk, sugar, zest (if you’re using it), melted butter, egg and salt.

buttermilk rolls batter

Next, stir in 1 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast sponge mixture, then beat the whole mixture hard for about 2 minutes (or until smooth and creamy).

buttermilk rolls batter2

Add the remaining flour a half-cup at a time until a soft dough is formed.

buttermilk rolls dough

Switch to dough hooks and knead 3-4 minutes, until dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed.

buttermilk rolls dough rising

Gather the dough together and place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it over once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it’s doubled, somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half.

buttermilk rolls dough risen

Beautiful puffy dough.

buttermilk rolls dough floured

Gently deflate the dough (you could be like me and slow-mo gentle punch it for fun), and place it on a lightly-floured surface. Make sure the sticky areas are covered with flour so it doesn’t stick, then pat it out fairly thin (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick).

buttermilk rolls dough floured cut

The recipe says to divide the dough into 16 portions and shape into ovals or rectangles. We decided to use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into “kind-of” rectangles, it was much easier than trying to tear or cut with a knife.

buttermilk rolls dough cut laid out

Place the rolls back on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rise at room temperature until they’ve about doubled in size. Should take about 30 minutes.

buttermilk rolls dough laid out butter

About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 375 F. Brush each roll with the egg glaze.

buttermilk rolls ready to bake

Then, using a serrated knife, gently cut 2 or 3 slashes no more than 1/4-inch deep on the top surface of each roll. You could do them diagonal, but I love the criss-cross look.

buttermilk rolls finished2

Place them in the center of the oven and bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the rolls onto a cooling rack right away.

buttermilk rolls finished3

As with all bread, they’re best warm, but for Thanksgiving we made them the day before and reheated them. They were a nice, neutral addition to the meal—flavored rolls would have competed with all the different Thanksgiving dishes.

Buttermilk Dinner Rolls
Makes 16 rolls

  • 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 cup of warm buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey
  • Grated zest of one lemon (I skipped this)
  • 4 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups of flour
  • Egg glaze (one beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of milk)

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, pinch of sugar, and warm water and let stand till foamy, about 10 min.

In a stand mixer with beaters, combine the buttermilk, sugar, zest (if you’re using it), melted butter, egg and salt. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of flour and the yeast mixture, and beat hard for 2 minutes (or until smooth and creamy). Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough is formed. Switch to dough hooks and knead 3-4 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn once to grease the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours. Gently deflate the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 16 portions and shape into ovals or rectangles (we just cut it with a pizza cutter). Place back on the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, then let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375 F. Brush each roll with the egg glaze. Using a serrated knife gently cut 2 or 3 diagonal slashes (or criss-crosses) no more than 1/4-inch deep on the top surface of each roll. Place in the center of the oven and bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the rolls immediately onto a cooling rack. Serve warm is possible, or reheat later if necessary.

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