I never understood the need for people to pick up the brown and serve rolls when they could make homemade dinner rolls themselves so easily. Saying that, I must hang my head in shame and admit that I do buy them each year as an addition to the breads I make because my son, Chris (currently in the Air Force) says that you can’t have Thanksgiving with out them. My mom liked these rolls and brought them every year. After she passed away I thought we would be free of them, but no. We must buy them for Chris. And honestly, I smile while I am saying this. I would buy them daily if it meant that he would be home again.
Anyway..(pass me a tissue?) … These buttermilk rolls are light and wonderful. They freeze really well if you want to do them ahead, or you can make your own brown and serve version by baking them until done but not colored (about 10 minutes. Be sure they are baked all the way through though. Sacrifice one for the cause if you need to), and freezing. Thaw and brown when you need them.
There is nothing like them, warm, with some butter melting down the roll, a little tupelo honey drizzled on..and…sigh. They are so easy to make you will never go back to..you know..the dark side.
Light Buttermilk Dinner Rolls
1/4 cup warm water (105-115°F) The easiest way to check temp is to pretend it is a baby’s bathwater. If you would bathe a baby in it it is just right.
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon mild honey (tupelo, orange blossom, alfalfa, blueberry…these are all perfect)
2 teaspoons salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole fat buttermilk at room temperature. Please, do not buy fat free. Yuck
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 egg yolk lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Stir together water, yeast, and honey in a small bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.) Stir salt into 3 cups of flour and then add yeast mixture, buttermilk, and butter, stirring until it makes a soft, sticky dough.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, adding just enough more flour to prevent sticking, until smooth and elastic, 6 to 10 minutes.
Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The top of your fridge, in the oven with the light on, on top of the counter when the dishwasher is running are all good places. If your kitchen is very chilly it may take a little more time. If it is warm it may take a little less. You will know it has doubled when it looks like it has and you can push your finger in it and the dent will remain.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times to remove air. Cut dough into 18 equal pieces. Form a smooth ball with each piece, or roll into a rope and make a knot..Pretend it’s Play-do.. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, arranging balls 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with kitchen towel and let rolls rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush rolls lightly with egg yolk and water mixture. This is an egg wash and will make the crusts more golden and beautiful. You can omit if you want. Bake until rolls are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 15 minutes.