Saturday, November 24, 2012

Buttermilk Fantails

Thanksgiving to me means fresh bread, particularly yeasty rolls. Grandma always made fresh bread for holiday dinners and I wanted to do that. These caught my eye because they look adorable but more important, you could easily consume a ridiculous amount of butter by smearing a pat on each layer of a roll. If you're not into that much butter, you could peel layers and use them as little gravy mops. Either way, these looked quite useful.

Buttermilk Fantails
from Epicurious
click to print

1/4 c warm water (105–115°F)
1 tbsp mild honey or sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast (from a 1/4-oz package)
3/4 c well-shaken buttermilk
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
3 c all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir together yeast, warm water, and honey in a large bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)

Water and honey combined.

As the yeast gets foamy it will smell really yeasty.

Mix flour, salt, buttermilk, and 6 tablespoons melted butter into yeast mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and knead, dusting surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is elastic and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. Form dough into a ball.

I don't like to get my counter all goopy so I knead dough on my largest cutting board. To keep it from sliding around, I place the board on a slightly dampened towel. I can knead like crazy without chasing the dough ball around and afterwards clean-up is a cinch even if flour goes off the board. Shake the flour from the towel and throw the towel in the laundry. Done.

Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat.

Being the dishwasher, I prefer to use the same bowl I mixed the dough in.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft- free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

My dough was allowed to rise for 2 hours and 15 minutes next to the warm oven. I was busy making a pie.

Butter muffin cups with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve.

Punching dough down just means to put a fist in it which will push air out. You don't really have to punch it.

Roll out half of dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch square (about 1/8 inch thick; keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap).

Brush dough with 1/2 tablespoon butter and cut into 6 equal strips.

Stack strips, buttered sides up, and cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces.

Turn each piece on a side and put into a muffin cup.

Make more rolls with remaining dough in same manner.

In the 6 minutes it took to get the second dough ball rolled out, buttered, cut, and placed in the muffin cups, the first set were starting to get puffy.

Separate outer layers of each roll to fan outward.

Cover rolls with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and dough fills cups, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Puffy after 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Bake rolls until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Brush tops with remaining 2 tablespoons butter, then transfer rolls to a rack and cool at least 20 minutes.

They are adorable, and after brushing with butter are absolutely radiant! I tried one of these while warm, freshly brushed with butter and it was so good. I wouldn't say they're the best rolls I've ever had but they don't come close to being the worst! The presentation is really great considering how simple it was to make them. My sister-in-law asked how they were made, which indicates the rolls made a good impression.

Total: $2.60 or about $0.22 a fantail.