Saturday, February 6, 2010

Buttermilk dinner rolls from Michael Ruhlman

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I knew I should not have looked at my blogroll this morning. was at the top.  There he was, Michael Ruhlman, as easy on the eyes as ever, looking straight at me.  Today he was pleading, doe-eyed, for me to test a recipe for Buttermilk dinner rolls, then take a photo and send it to him.  Being addicted to yeast and having never met a bread I didn’t like, I brushed all duties aside and pulled my instant yeast out of the refrigerator.  Who was I to refuse Michael Ruhlman - food expert, writer, cookbook author and blue-eyed Adonis? 

Ruhlman found this recipe in Saveur magazine.  He had ‘been wanting a soft, comfort-food, James-friendly dinner roll, the kind of Parker House roll that’s slightly sweet and yeasty and soft as a pillow’.   If I had to equate them with pillows, these rolls would be on the firm and dense side, made for support!   They rose beautifully and produced a tall roll.  The tops baked to a deep brown (at 375F) in just 30 minutes but the inside required longer baking.  For the novice baker, this could be problem as the rolls looked done.  Fortunately the recipe instructed me to test the internal temperature to 195-200F.  Perhaps the oven temperature should be reduced to 350F to allow for evenly baked rolls. 

The end result was a dense but very tasty roll, especially when eaten hot out of the oven with salted butter and honey!   I would bake them again, with slight adjustments in oven temperature, and I’m looking forward to toasting the leftover rolls in the morning for breakfast.

For accuracy, most ingredients were measured on my nifty scale.  According to my scale:  800g of Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour when scooped into cups equaled 6 1/2 cups (I measured it twice).  Here I was curious to see how much the yeasted dough weighed.  1.398kg translates to a little over 3lbs of dough! 

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And each individual roll weighed 116 grams before being baked.  Don’t you just love the black and white flecks?  Delicate but distinctive!

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I have never measured the internal temperature of bread as I have measured a medium rare steak, but I’m glad I did!  The top was a deep brown after 30 minutes and it looked done.  I tented it with foil and let it bake for another 15 minutes, taking the temperature every 5 minutes, until the rolls measured 195F and my thermometer stick came out clean. 052 v1

Buttermilk dinner rolls from Michael Ruhlman

Update:  Michael Ruhlman suggested that I reduce the amount of flour to 25 ounces/700g all purpose flour for less dense rolls.  The original measure posted was 28 ounces/800 grams all purpose flour. 

25 ounces/700g all purpose flour

1/4 ounce/7 grams (1 package/2 tsps) instant or rapid-rise yeast

20 ounces/570 grams buttermilk (2¼ cups), microwaved for 40 to 60 seconds. I heated my buttermilk in the microwave until it measured 85ºF.

1/2 ounce/14 grams kosher salt (1 tablespoon)

1.5 ounces/40 grams honey (2 tablespoons)

olive oil, vegetable spray or butter for greasing a springform pan

1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon black and white sesame seeds, or poppy seeds (or any other seed you wish to eat)

Combine the flour and instant yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer. Let sit for 30 seconds and then add the buttermilk, salt and honey.  Mix on medium until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  I let the machine mix for 5 minutes and hand kneaded for another 5 minutes to ensure that the dough was smooth. (See Michael’s post on Bread Baking Basics for more info on mixing and rising.)

Place about 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Put dough in the bowl and flip it over so that the dough is completely covered with a thin coat of oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. During the winter, I place my dough in my oven so that it rises easily. Turn your oven on to the lowest setting for a minute so that it warms up just a little. Turn the oven off and place the dough on a rack. Close the oven door and allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume (dough shouldn’t bounce back when you press a finger into it).  This will take about an hour in a 90ºF oven or at least two hours, maybe three if rising on the kitchen counter.

Turn the dough out onto your counter and give it a good knead.  Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 116g, 4 ounces each).  Form each into a tight boule by rolling it on the counter.  Grease a springform pan with olive oil, spray or butter.  Fit the boules snugly into it, cover with a towel and let the dough rise for 45 minutes to an hour in the oven, as instructed above.

Preheat your oven to 375F /190C.  Whisk the egg and water until it’s uniformly yellow. When the rolls have risen again, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle them with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Bake them for 40 minutes (to an internal temperature of 195-200F/90-93C.  Check after 30 minutes and tent with foil if the rolls are getting very dark. Let them rest on a rack for about 10 minutes before serving.

These rolls are best hot out of the oven.  They are dense with a chewy crust and delicious slathered with salted butter and honey!

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This post will be submitted to Susan’s informative blog Yeastspotting!



  1. Predivno!!obozavam svjeze peceno pecivo i kruh !!

  2. OY these are simply gorgeous!

  3. I fell for the seductive lure of these rolls too. They did brown quickly and I too was surprised that the internal temp was nowhere near done. I think your suggestion of a lower oven temp is a good one. I'll test that out next time.

  4. So That's what kept you Saturday - a great cause, I might say, LOL!! It WOULD be hard to resist such a request :-D Looks beautiful, as your things usually do.

  5. These are so pretty. I love bread that you have to tear away from the boule like that.

  6. I think you did Micheal R. proud! Very nice looking rolls indeed!

  7. I can not believe I am just seeing this! These were so good, Dragana! Thanks for having me over and then sending me home with some. We loved them!

  8. How delicious. I think I want to make these on Thursday! Do you have a birthday coming up? If so, you should start hinting to your family that you really need a Thermapen instant digital thermometer! They are wonderful gadgets!

  9. I wonder if....Lower temperature and maybe a pan with a little water in it might help with the baking, texture and browning? I'm making up a batch of dough right now and am going to try both lower temp and a little bit of water for the oven. I'm really excited about this recipe. I'm fighting the temptation to roll the dough in cinnamon, pecans and brown sugar though.

  10. Wow. this dough is so tasty I can eat it raw. Seriously though, I decided to set some aside as I'm theorizing it will make really good donuts. So I'm going to rise a couple and deep fry them just to see. I'll let you know what happens.

  11. Thanks everyone for your helpful and complimentary comments.
    Jay - I would like to know the outcome of the "Buttermilk breakfast donuts"!

  12. Yum, Dragana!! I love a soft dinner roll. Thank you for the tips. I'll definitely reduce the oven temp to 350 F. when I make these and check the internal temp of the rolls before declaring them 'done'!! Beautiful photos -

  13. I saw your bread at "wildyeast", and right away felt that I have to visit you. I am not disappointed, you have beautiful blog, and to find out that you're raise in SA, like my husband.

  14. The bread turned out prettier than chef Ruhlman's (I wonder if his wife knows how many women are fawning over him?)

    If you have the travel channel, you should look for the Anthony Bourdain show this week. Chef Ruhlman was Bourdain's sidekick and it was quite amusing!

  15. It looks fantastic. Just like the "Weckchen" they sell here in cologne.

  16. Wow. This bread looks absolutely stellar. I love the deep brown hue it turned and how fluffy the inside looks. Perfect to use up the buttermilk I have sitting in my fridge...

  17. Any fat used in the recipe?

  18. Anonymous - the fat in the recipe is in the buttermilk (I only buy 'whole' buttermilk), the egg, butter or oil used for greasing, and sesame seeds.

  19. Jay - I finally got a thermapen! My wonderful son gifted me for Xmas :)


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