Just about every cookbook has a version of this recipe. This one is from Beard On Bread by James Beard. The recipe produces a soft, buttery roll that’s perfect for accompanying your Holiday dinner. I’ve made them for Easter and Christmas this year. Of course, they’re so good you may not want to wait for a special occasion to make them!
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water (about 100ºF to 115ºF)
- 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 cups warm milk
- 5 to 6 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 to half cup melted butter
- 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
- Sesame seeds or poppy seeds, optional
- Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in the warm water and allow to proof. Melt the 1/4 cup butter in the warm milk, then combine with the yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. Mix 2 to 3 cups of flour with the salt and stir, 1 cup at a time, into the mixture in the bowl, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon to make a soft sponge. (The dough will be wet and sticky.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, set in a warm place, and let the dough rise till doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Stir down the dough with a wooden spoon and add about 2 more cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, to make a dough that can be kneaded with ease. Turn out on a lightly floured board and knead unti velvety smooth and very elastic; press with your fingers to see if the dough is resilient. Let rest for a few minutes, then form the dough into a ball. Put into a buttered bowl and turn so that the surface is thoroughly covered with butter. Cover and put in a warm, draft-free place to rise again until doubled in bulk.
- Punch the dough down with your fist, turn out on a lightly floured board, and let rest for several minutes, until you are able to roll it out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut into triangles, brush with melted butter and roll from the wide end to the point. Bend the ends in a bit, then arrange on buttered baking sheet and allow to rise until almost doubled in size.
- Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
I formed mine into crescents, because I find that to be the easiest. Feel free to play around with different shapes, though – knots, braids, fans, etc.