Buttermilk Fantail Rolls Recipe

Every Easter I make rolls for the family feast my parents host. The dinner is very Norman Rockwell and served in the early afternoon on the fanciest china with everything homemade. All the dishes feature a little too much butter and salt, and lots of just baked dessert options. It’s very decadent and I think it is my daughter’s favorite part about any holiday – mine too. I usually make the same crescent rolls every year that are sweet and tasty and hard to resist. I probably still will make those because I am a sucker for tradition but these buttermilk fantail rolls (because their tops fan out) would make a good substitute. We made these with potato leek soup the other night and they were a subtle but good accompaniment.

Buttermilk Fantail Rolls Recipe
SERVINGS: 1 dozen rolls
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a ¼-oz package)
  • ¼ cup warm water (105–115°F)
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ cup well-shaken buttermilk
  1. Butter muffin cups with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft- free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1½ to 2 hours.
  5. Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve. Roll out half of dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch square (about ⅛ inch thick; keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Brush dough with ½ 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. 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 1½ hours.
  6. 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.

Recipe via Epicurious Photography by Michelle Smith

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