These buttermilk yeast rolls are soft and fluffy and they're great for holiday dinners.
They're made in the cloverleaf style, which means that they're baked in a muffin pan with three little dough balls in each muffin cup. But you could also simply roll the dough into 12 balls and bake them on a sheet pan.
Besides adding a tangy flavor, buttermilk helps produce softer rolls because the lactic acid in it relaxes the glutens in the flour. I imagine bakers in ye olden times originally added buttermilk (which at that time was a byproduct of churning butter) to their bread dough because "why not? We might as well use it for something." And then discovered that their bread turned out not only yummy but also pleasantly soft.
Today, buttermilk is a cultured product (like yogurt) rather than a butter byproduct. If you haven't got any, and maybe there's a blizzard and you can't get to the store, there are a few ways you can make your own buttermilk so that you can still make this recipe.
You can also use powdered buttermilk, which is a good product to have on hand and keeps well in the fridge for quite a while. Follow the instructions on the container for mixing up one cup of buttermilk.
- 400 grams all-purpose flour (about 3 1/4 cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup buttermilk, warmed to 115°F
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted, plus more for brushing the tops and greasing the pan
- 1 egg
- Butter a 12-muffin baking pan.
- Combine half the flour, along with the salt and yeast and stir until blended.
- Combine the warm buttermilk with the honey, egg and melted butter and whisk to blend. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until thick. Add the rest of the flour and stir until it comes together in a soft, sticky mass.
- Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead for about 7 to 8 minutes or until a smooth ball forms.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, then cut each piece into thirds, so you have 36 pieces all together. Now gently roll each piece into a ball. Don't roll them too tightly, though, or your rolls will turn out like little rocks.
- Place three dough balls in each cup of your prepared muffin pan. Brush the tops with melted butter, then cover with a kitchen towel and set the pan someplace warm for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush the rolls with a bit more butter and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.