If you want to make the perfect dinner roll, look no further. Buttermilk dinner rolls are soft, buttery, light and luscious.
We’d bought a couple of salmon burgers at the farmer’s market for dinner, but the bakeries at the market didn’t have soft burger buns for sale. I didn’t want crusty rolls that would overwhelm the delicate burgers so I decided to make the burger buns myself. I had a rare Saturday off and it was early enough in the day that I had time to put the dough together for dinner that night. Yes, on a rare weekend off from making wedding cakes I end up baking bread, but anyway…
Use Buttermilk for the perfect soft roll!
I had some buttermilk (one of my favorite ingredients!) in the refrigerator and used that as the base for the buns. When I want bread with a softer texture I use milk instead of water as the base for the dough (as I did for my white sandwich bread recipe.) The butterfat in the milk interferes with the development of gluten in the dough for a softer texture and the fat also makes a richer dough. Acidic buttermilk softens the gluten in the bread even more for an extra tender crumb and great flavor. One egg contributes a nice flavor and color. A portion of the dough was made into a couple of hamburger buns and the remaining was turned into a sandwich loaf.
Fast forward to Thanksgiving. I’d already baked a few dozen biscuits to bring along to my sister’s house, but I decided to make dinner rolls as well. I started with the same recipe as the burger buns but wanted an even richer dough. A pinch of sugar added just a whisper of sweetness and a little butter upped the richness and flavor. Melted butter brushed onto the rolls before baking keeps the tops soft and a little more brushed on as soon as they come out of the oven is the perfect finishing touch. Watch this video to see the entire recipe made from start to finish.
The recipe makes 16-24 rolls depending on the size you want. You could also bake the dough in a loaf pan for a tasty sandwich bread.
- 2 cups (16oz, 500ml) buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 scant tablespoon (1 packet) dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 4-4 1/2 cups (1lb 8oz, 675g) bread flour
- 1/2 stick (2oz, 55g) butter, softened
- 1/2 stick (2oz, 55g) butter, to be melted for brushing
- Combine buttermilk, yeast, sugar, salt and egg in a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed to combine the ingredients. Add 2.5 cups of bread flour and mix to combine. Switch to the dough hook if mixing on a stand mixer.
- Add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of bread flour until the dough gathers on the hook and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on medium for 3 minutes then reduce the speed to low. If mixing by hand stir in as much flour as you can with a wooden spoon, then knead the remaining flour in by hand.
- With the mixer running, toss in the softened butter a tablespoon at a time. If working by hand, knead in the butter.
- Mix on medium for 3 minutes, if the dough is still very sticky add a little flour. The dough will stick to the bottom of the bowl but should gather on the hook. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead to form a smooth ball. The dough should be soft and smooth.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the surface, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough to form a long log shape. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper cut the dough into 16-24 even pieces (depending how large you want the rolls to be. They'll bake up at least 2x the size of the dough ball).
- Roll each piece of dough under your cupped hand to form a smooth ball (see how to form the rolls here). Place the rolls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops with melted butter. Set aside in a warm spot to rise until nearly doubled in size and the dough springs back slowly when poked (about 1 hour).
- Bake at 350°F convection or 375°F regular until golden brown.
- As soon as the roll come out of the oven brush the tops with the melted butter.
This recipe make 16 larger or 24 smaller dinner rolls.
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