This is one of the best dinner roll recipes that I have ever come across. It is a little challenging to make, but the result is entirely worth the time and trouble. These rolls are light, springy, and incredibly flavorful. There is no need to butter them: simply serve warm from the oven, and enjoy.
The original recipe from my great-grandmother calls for the buttermilk to be scalded before use. I did some reading on the process, and discovered this wonderful article at Ochef. The article states that there are three main reasons to scald milk products: to kill harmful bacteria (which are no longer an issue, due to modern pasteurization), to warm up the milk before use, and to destroy proteins which may interfere with the rising process. I imagine that my great-grandmother was more interested in the first two reasons. For my own convenience, I did not scald the buttermilk when making this recipe, but I did warm it in the microwave before use. I can safely say that there was no negative impact on the “fluffiness” of the rolls: they rose just fine.
- 2 packets yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/4 cups warm buttermilk
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted, plus more to brush with later
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 1/2 cups sifted flour
In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
Add the warm buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and salt, and mix well.
Add the flour and baking soda, and mix well.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour.
Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch.
Cut the dough into strips 2 inches wide.
Brush the strips with melted butter.
Stack five strips together, and slice into 1-inch pieces. The dough will be very soft and stretchy, which will make the stacking process difficult. Don’t worry if the dough stack looks a little unmanageable: this will not make any difference in the final product.
Place the slices into greased muffin tins, cut side down, and brush with melted butter.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let the rolls rise in a warm place until double, about 30 minutes.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Makes 18 rolls.
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