Brown Butter-Glazed Holiday Rolls

By • December 14, 2010 • 13 Comments

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Author Notes: Growing up, we didn’t have rolls at the dinner table...ever. But once a year my grandmother made rich Christmas Eve Fritters fried in olive oil called Zeppole di Vigilia di Natale, and even though they were dusted with sugar, she served them as an entree rather than a dessert. These were something we all looked forward to and I especially loved to help make them.
In my late teens I became the special occasion family cook, and because I am fascinated with yeast baking, yeast rolls became a family tradition. My browned butter rolls, created for a holiday or special occasion take me back to the old Christmas fritter days. However, I did not want to make something sweet - only rich. When these rolls are served, spreading butter on them will not be necessary, but it is up to you! - lapadia
lapadia

Food52 Review: One of the things I like about testing these recipes is that it requires me to use new ingredients or try different techniques. I wasn't sure as to why use baking powder? Why use powdered milk + water just to mix it back together? Why solidify the brown butter to re-melt it, or why wait for the milk and butter mixture to cool instead of just using it right away? But these rolls created such an uproar at the dinner table, I don't think any of that matters—they are so darn good!SallyCan

Makes 30 small rich, buttery rolls - 4 x 2 inches

  • DRY INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups bread flour – divided, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon malt powder – I prefer but is optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (use if not using the malt powder)
  • 1 package fast rising yeast
  • WET INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dry powdered milk
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
  • 2 fluid ounces melted brown butter (or 4 tablespoons solid brown butter)
  • 1 egg
  • Additional brown butter, melted - for glazing
  • -----------------------------------------------------
  • PREP: One day ahead, brown 2 sticks of butter, refrigerate, until needed. Note: with this amount of butter you will have enough needed for the recipe and some leftover.
  1. In a large bowl, mix together 1-3/4 cups flour, wheat germ, malt powder (or baking powder), salt and yeast. Set this flour mixture aside until needed - in step 3.
  2. In a saucepan or microwave friendly bowl; add and stir together the water, dry powdered milk, agave nectar and browned butter, heat just enough to melt and incorporate all the ingredients. Cool - enough so as not to kill the yeast or cook the egg when combining the wet and dry ingredients.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the reserved flour mixture. Add the egg and mix with a hand beater on low for 1 minute and on high for 3 minutes, or until smooth.
  4. Add the remaining flour. Fold and mix with a spatula until a soft ball forms - may need a tablespoon of extra flour to help.
  5. Grease a bowl, add the dough ball, cover and rise for 2 hours. Punch down after it has doubled. * Can be refrigerated overnight at this point – let dough come back to room temperature before working with it.
  6. Melt the solidified brown butter (if needed); coat the bottom of a 15 x 10 x 2 inch baking pan with it.
  7. Roll the dough ball into a 30-inch log and divide it into 30 pieces. With your fingers, flatten each piece into a disk and moisten with brown butter. Fold each disk in from both sides towards the middle a couple times to form a roll, tuck in the ends to smooth, if needed. Place into the baking pan.
  8. Before rising, brush with brown butter, cover and place in a warm area for 1-1/2 hours.
  9. Preheat oven 350°F. Before baking, brush with another layer of butter. Bake 15 minutes, turn baking pan, front to back, and continue to bake until golden brown - about 10-15 more minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven, brush with one last layer of butter. Let sit about 15 minutes before serving.
  11. *dough adapted from my Yeast Wreath recipe...the rest was floating in my head somewhere!

Comments (13) Questions (0)

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over 3 years ago limoncello

I made these for Christmas Eve (large family gathering) and Christmas day (small family gathering) dinners, and enough for my parents' freezer in my absence. They were a hit all around! Thanks!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks, limoncello :), it is great to know they were a hit with your family! Happy New Year!!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks for the testing this recipe, SallyCan, I am thrilled they were a hit! BTW - Good questions and I have edited my instructions because of them. In answer; Re: baking powder – I use malt powder in all my yeast baking (promotes a strong rise), I ran out, so in its place the baking powder can contribute to the rise in both phases of the dough’s activation. Re: powdered milk – I always use the dry powdered (in place of regular milk) and incorporate it as part of my liquid ingredients. Re: brown butter melted = 2 fluid ounces, if melted anyway, however, I always take a day to brown my butter, so it is usually solidified at that point. :-)

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over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

These look fabulous! I love the flavor browned butter gives various dishes and hadn't thought to use it for bread. I'm making these rolls for sure!! Happy Holidays, Linda!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks, ChezSuzanne! I hope they are a hit with you and your family...Happy Holiays to all!

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over 3 years ago limoncello

Linda-
I'm going to try YOUR recipe; rolls are my job for the big family holiday dinners, and I need to get cracking! (I'm drooling; great photo!)
PC

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks, limoncello...this sounds great! Oh, and I know what you mean about "getting cracking", the time is going by so fast! Cheers!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

All I can say is "YUM" and "yes, please!" These look and sound amazing, lapadia! While I have a weakness for bread I am a newbie baker so I cannot wait to try these. Thanks for your recipe.

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks, gingerroot! This dough is very easy to work with...have fun making them!

K

over 3 years ago cowgirlculture

These look great! Beautiful!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks, cowgirlculture! I like your recipe (and China) too!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks, Kayb! Yes, very rich, and deserving of a special occasion...this is why I like to have a smaller size roll, there are so many other "rich" goodies to eat during this time of year!

Kay_at_lake

over 3 years ago Kayb

Wow....loving all the brown butter in/on these! I bet they're rich -- certainly special-occasion rolls!