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~Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls~

IMG_2208I 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 very happy!

IMG_2196Every 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):

IMG_2072Their 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! 

IMG_20794 1/2-5  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

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 

IMG_4561 IMG_4557                                          ~ Step 1.  In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, the sugar and the salt.

~ 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.

IMG_4567 IMG_4576 IMG_4581 IMG_4583~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.

IMG_4595 IMG_4602~ 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.

IMG_2088 IMG_4603                                        ~ Step 5. Cover the dough in the bowl with a clean towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  

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.

IMG_2106 IMG_2093                                           ~ Step 6. Divide the dough into two equal parts.  

IMG_2104Lightly-flour the work surface and roll first ball into a 14"-15" circle.  Brush the top surface with a light coating of butter.  

IMG_2129 IMG_2120~ Step 7. Cut the circle into 4 quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 wedges.  Beginning on the wide outside end, roll each wedge up.  

IMG_2135As you work, place the rolls, slightly- IMG_2144apart, on a 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan that has been lined with parchment paper.  Repeat process with the second ball of 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.

IMG_2170~ 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.

IMG_2188~ 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:

IMG_2157Give the melted butter about a minute to soak in:

IMG_2166Gently pull rolls apart & place on a rack to cool!

IMG_2184TGIF:   Slightly larger than slider-sized subs in Happy Valley!

IMG_2225Pillowy-Soft Buttery-Rich Buttermilk Crescent Rolls:  Recipe yields 2 dozen.

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

IMG_4684Cook'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) 


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