I made dinner rolls today because I had buttermilk leftover in my refrigerator. I wish they'd sell buttermilk like cream, in one and two cup cartons -- a full quart is usually about twice as much as I need. For example: On Friday of last week, I used one cup to make my ~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing ~, to use as a dip for my ~ Seriously E-Z & Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Wings ~. One week later, I still had three cups of buttermilk lollygagging around in my refrigerator. Happy ending: These dinner rolls will make everyone happy!
Every serious home cook needs one go-to dinner roll recipe. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be really good. Everyone loves a freshly-baked, warm dinner roll, and, there are, in fact, occasions when nothing store-bought will do. This is a treasured recipe of mine, but it didn't start out as mine. You can find it, in its original form, on page 72 of any 1972 edition of Betty Crocker's Cookbook, and, it is responsible for my first attempt at baking dinner rolls from scratch being a successful one. Over the years, I've used it as a template to experiment with a few variations, including this one, which for the most part, simply substitutes buttermilk for regular whole milk. I'm rolling them into crescents today, but, it makes nice cloverleaf, pull-apart and parker house rolls too (as per Betty Crocker's helpful and instructional illustrations):
Their original recipe, taste and texturally, worked just fine. That said, when I decided to use tangy buttermilk in place of whole milk, after the first go-round, I felt that it could benefit from a bit more salt, sugar and shortening. I didn't go overboard and that little bit went a very a long way, because I couldn't have been happier with the slightly saltier, sweeter, buttery-rich end result!
2 envelopes Fleishmann's yeast, not rapid-rise yeast
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature, very soft
6 more tablespoons salted butter, melted, for brushing over rolled dough & the finished, baked rolls
1/2 cup bench flour, for rolling
~ Step 2. In a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk and butter over medium heat. Stir until the butter is melted and mixture has reached a temperature between 120-130 degrees. The best way to insure the proper temperature is to monitor the mixture as it heats using an instant-read thermometer.
~Step 3. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Using a hand-held electric mixer on medium-speed, beat until mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula frequently, about 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs. Increase mixer speed to high and beat in another 1 cup of flour. Beat until thoroughly incorporated. Remove the mixer and begin stirring in the the flour, in 1/2 half cup amounts, until a soft, manageable dough forms.
~ Step 4. Using the heal of your hand, begin kneading the dough, turning the bowl a quarter turn with each push down, until a smooth ball forms, continuing to sprinkle in additional flour to keep it from sticking to sides of bowl. Kneading takes 4-5 minutes and I always need to use the full 5 cups of flour.
Note: This rest will allow the gluten in the flour to develop which will make the dough easier to roll.
Uncover the dough. If you have a kitchen scale, use it. You will have 2 pounds, 10-12 ounces of dough.
As you work, place the rolls, slightly- apart, on a 17 1/2" x 15" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Repeat this process with the second half of the dough. When finished, you will have 3 rows of 8 rolls on the baking pan.
~ Step 8. Cover the pan with the clean towel and allow the rolls to rise until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes. Mine rose in a quick 40-45 minutes today.
~ Step 9. Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. Mine baked for 18 minutes today. Remove from oven and brush the tops with the remaining melted butter. You will probably have some butter leftover.
~ Step 10. Using your fingertips, gently pull rolls apart and transfer them to a cooling rack to cool to slightly-warm or room temperature. Note: By the time you brush the tops with butter, they will be cool enough to handle.
Paint with butter as soon as they emerge from the oven:
Special Equipment List: large bowl, preferably oversized; 2-quart saucepan; instant-read thermometer; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; clean cotton kitchen towel; kitchen scale (optional); rolling pin; pastry brush; chef's knife; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; cooling rack; small metal spatula
Cook's Note: In the event you are new to dinner-roll baking and you'd like to try your hand at a simpler recipe, my recipe for ~ Want buttery, 'pull-apart' rolls with dinner tonight? ~ can be found in Categories 5, 9, 11, 18, 19 or 20.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)