Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

Here we are, friends, well into our quest for the perfect holiday dinner roll.  This week, I baked buttermilk dinner rolls.  I used this recipe from Saveur.   It measures by volume, not weight, but it turned out okay.

(Sidenote: if you happen to have 40 venison meatballs at home, and you’ve run out of spaghetti – take some homemade dinner rolls out of your freezer, thaw them out, melt some parmesan cheese on them and make mini meatball subs…you won’t regret it.)


¼ oz. active dry yeast
½ tsp. sugar
1¾ cups buttermilk
1 tbsp. honey
5 cups flour
1½ tsp. kosher salt
Unsalted butter, for greasing
1 egg
2 tbsp. sesame seeds

I left out the sesame seeds and the butter, since I didn’t have to grease a pan.


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast, sugar, and ¼ cup water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

IMG_1762 Foamy.  Nice.

Whisk in buttermilk and honey; add flour and salt. Mix on medium-low speed until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the side of the bowl, 6–8 minutes. (Sprinkle in a little water if dough seems dry.)

Um, yeah, does this look a little dry to you?  I added 3 tablespoons of water.  In retrospect, I probably could have added more buttermilk instead of water.


I kneaded this by hand for 12 minutes until it looked and felt right.  It’s a stiff dough, so the kneading took some work.  But:


Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let dough rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

2. Heat oven to 400˚. Grease a 9″ round springform pan with butter. Uncover dough; divide into 12 portions. Roll each dough piece into a ball; transfer ball to pan; repeat with remaining dough. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside to let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Now, I don’t have a springform pan.  And frankly, I couldn’t really see the benefit of using one in this recipe – sure, the rolls look nice in the pan, but then you take them out to serve, and all the ones on the edges are unnaturally shaped.  So I went with the usual pull-apart roll style that’s become my dinner roll MO.  Because it’s fun and it looks cool and I can do whatever I want with my dinner rolls in my kitchen.


This is also 24 rolls, twice as many as the recipe claims to make.  But those rolls would have been huge if I only made 12!  My rule of thumb is each roll is made using 2 ounces of dough.

So I let these rise, and they start to slightly take over the pan:


In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 tsp. water. Uncover dough and brush egg mixture over the top; sprinkle with sesame seeds. (I left off the sesame seeds, but I bathed these things in egg wash.  A little goes a long way, I never use the entire egg, and I always feel like I’m using so much!)

Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dough registers 190°, about 15 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking.  (If you make only 12 larger rolls, bake them for 35 minutes, as the original recipe says).  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.


(Can you tell I was doing my own photography tonight?  Evan is much better at this.)

Things to be careful with:

1.  I overcooked these.  Since they are smaller than the recipe originally called for, I didn’t watch closely enough and they’re a little dry.

2.  I used way too much egg wash – like, there are tiny bits of scrambled eggs in the crevices between the rolls.  Whoops!

Despite that, though, these rolls are pretty tasty – they have a heartier, denser texture.  However, the flavor is just, well, fine.  Not amazing.  It’s made us realize that maybe a heartier roll isn’t really what we want, after all – because as soon as we tasted these, we missed that light, airy texture of the potato roll. But as far as flavor goes, I still want more from the potato roll.

I’m starting to think that maybe I need to stray from the traditional roll that I had been planning – maybe the Holiday Season of 2013 isn’t time for a basic, soft dinner roll – maybe it’s time for something different.  Something exciting, something new!  I think it’s good that I started this quest so early, because now I have time to really branch out and work on new things.  I’m thinking some kind of herb roll, maybe a cheddar roll, maybe a brioche roll…stick around because I think things are about to get interesting.


This entry was posted in Baking, Bread, Rolls and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

  1. Gary says:

    I may have start a turkey blog

    Sent from my iPhone

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