Buttermilk Cluster Rolls

After buying a half gallon of whole buttermilk (which WalMart carries but regional chain Harris Teeter does not, go figure), I came across the usual quandry of what to do with the remainder after using some to make Cook’s Illustrated Best Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping. I read my usual recipes that include buttermilk and rejected one after the other: pancakes, waffles, more muffins (ugh), fried chicken (not in the mood, if that’s possible).

Then I went to one of my favorite food writer’s blogs, Michael Ruhlman, where I saw his post about Buttermilk Cluster Rolls. He found the recipe in Saveur magazine, and wanted 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.”

I made the recipe and found the rolls to be a bit more dense than the intended result, but great comfort food just the same.

I used my trusty Salter scale to weigh everything.

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls

28 ounces/800 grams AP flour (5 1/2 cups if your scale is broken but no guarantees!)

20 ounces/570 grams buttermilk, room temp or microwaved for 40 to 60 seconds to take the chill off it

1/4 ounce/7 grams (1 package) active dry yeast

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

1.5 ounces/40 grams honey (2 tablespoons)

vegetable spray or butter for greasing a springform pan (can use 9-inch cake pan but may be hard to remove rolls)

1 egg

1 teaspoon poppy seeds (or as desired)

1 tablespoon melted butter, optional (good for photos!)

Combine the flour, buttermilk, yeast, salt and honey in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on medium till the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (See this post on Bread Baking Basics for more info on mixing and rising.)

Cover and let rise till doubled in volume (dough shouldn’t bounce back when you press a finger into it). This will take at least two hours, maybe three or more depending on the temperature of your dough and the temperature of your kitchen.

Turn the dough out onto your counter and give it a good knead. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4 ounces each). Form each into a tight boule by rolling it on the counter. Spray or butter a springform pan. Fit the boules into it, cover it with a towel and let the dough rise for an hour:

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls - before pan rise

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls - before pan rise

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F./190 degres C. Whisk the egg till it’s uniformly yellow.

When the rolls have risen again:

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls - after pan rise

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls - after pan rise

. . .brush them with the egg wash, sprinkle them with poppy seeds and bake them for 40 minutes (to an internal temperature of 195-200 degrees F./90-93 degrees C. Let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving:

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls

Buttermilk Cluster Rolls

I used black sesame seeds because I had no poppy seeds, and they turned out just great.

Note: Since some other people have made the recipe and commented, Michael decided he would scale back the dough to 25 ounces and 18 ounces buttermilk.

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