In my family, we don't mess around with the classics at Thanksgiving. The menu stays the same from year to year. We only add or subtract dishes when something important calls for a change, like when my little sister got married and her husband started joining us for the holiday. We'd never had pie before (I know, I know!) at dessert, but now we serve his family's recipe for "Grammie Clapp's pie," which features a custard filling nestled inside a buttery graham cracker crust with a whipped cream topping.
Though these rolls haven't made an appearance on my family's Thanksgiving table in deference to our traditions, every other dinner table of mine that they've graced? They've been the star, eliciting ridiculous, over-the-top compliments every time, like the colleague of my fiancé who wrote me this message after trying one: "Amazing. Literally amazing. Tiny cheese clouds. Need more!"
The dough is a pretty straightforward yeast dough. The recipe calls for a bit of potato flour, which helps to keep the rolls moist and tender. You can skip it, but I recommend going out to your way to buy some. You can use the extra in sandwich breads, cakes, and pull-apart breads. But the secret to the addictive flavor of these rolls is cheese powder. No, this isn't some weird processed ingredient: just sharp Vermont cheddar that's dried and ground into a very fine powder, which makes it easy to incorporate evenly into doughs and batters. You can buy it online here, and if you don't want to go out of your way for it, you can substitute grated Parmesan or cheddar. However, it's worth buying for baking, and also because it makes a killer topping for popcorn!
The rolls get a generous sprinkling of everything bagel topping to add a savory crunch to every bite. You can approximate the topping by mixing together poppy seeds, dried onion powder, garlic powder, sea salt, and sesame seeds.
Whether you debut these at your Thanksgiving table, or just start making them as a weekly dinner side, you'll have a hard time going back to regular old dinner rolls.
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast)
- 3/4 cup 2 tablespoons (198 grams) lukewarm whole milk
- 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup Vermont cheese powder (if unavailable, use grated parmesan or cheddar)
- 3 tablespoons (30 grams) potato flour
- 1/3 cup everything bagel topping (or a mix of seeds, dried herbs, and flaky salt of your choice)
- melted butter, for brushing the buns