The cover of the latest issue of Gourmet features a drool-worthy pile of freshly baked rolls - salty topknots, yeasty fantails, sesame-encrusted whole wheat...you name it, it's there. I could practically smell the yeasty goodness rising off of the page. How could I resist trying out at least one of the recipes?
So, last Sunday, before I headed out to do my laundry, I whipped up the dough for a batch of buttermilk fantail rolls (using the buttermilk I'd picked up on my Saturday outing). I picked the fantails because they seemed like the easiest for a novice bread-maker like myself (and because they were so gosh-darned purty).
They really were remarkably easy to make - you let the yeast ferment a bit with some warm water and sugar (I used some of the turbinado sugar I keep on hand for my coffee), add in the butter, flour, buttermilk and salt, and then knead the resulting dough for a few minutes before setting it aside to rise.
After about two hours or so, you punch down the dough and roll it out in two batches, slice the dough into strips, stack 'em, and cut crosswise to make the fantail shapes. Slap those babies into buttered muffin cups, let them do the second rise, and then bake. Enjoy the smell of baking bread for the next twenty minutes, then take your pan out. Brush them with butter straight out of the oven, and ten minutes later, you've got rolls.
My oven is a bit tricky, and I probably need to adjust the cooking temperature down just a bit, so they bake a bit more slowly and end up tinged golden and brown rather than brown and darker brown - but they still tasted dang good with the salad I had for dinner (and with lunch the next day).