Buttery, tangy, yeasty, yummy. I should be ashamed at how many of these Buttermilk Fantail Rolls I inhaled over the last couple of days. They were so good that I barely ate the main course, I was so focused on stuffing rolls in my maw. Despite the fact that these rolls didn't quite look as I had hoped (certainly not as pretty as the photo in the February issue of Gourmet Magazine) they were just as delicious as I imagined they would be, and I found myself dreaming about them the whole next day, waiting to get home from work and reheat the leftovers and stuff myself yet again.
They were also quite simple to make, as long as you have the patience for several hours of rising, which I rarely do. Some simple rolling, slicing, and stacking of the dough turns what might otherwise be an easily overlooked bread dough into a fairly impressive looking bread basket to wow your guests with. J-Cat especially liked the pull-apart quality of these rolls, he described them as stuck together slices of bread, already buttered for you. Recipe after the jump:
BUTTERMILK FANTAIL ROLLS
From Gourmet Magazine, February 2009
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/4 cup warm water (105–115°F)
1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
Equipment: a muffin pan with 12 (1/3- to 1/2-cup) muffin cup
Butter muffin cups with 1 Tbsp melted butter.
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.)
Mix flour, salt, buttermilk, and 6 Tbsp 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.
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, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
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 1/8 inch thick; keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Brush dough with 1/2 Tbsp 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 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Bake rolls until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Brush tops with remaining 2 Tbsp butter, then transfer rolls to a rack and cool at least 20 minutes.
Cooks’ note: Rolls are best the day they’re made but can be frozen (cool completely, then wrap well) 1 month. Thaw, then reheat on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until warmed through, 5 to 10 minutes.