Booby Rolls

November 17, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Makes 32 boob-shaped rolls
Author Notes

We spent every one of my childhood Thanksgivings trekking to my aunt Sarah B.'s house in Cambridge from Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The dinner was an all day, thirty-person affair, with my aunt at the helm of the ship in her tiny Boston kitchen. Sarah B. idolized (and looked just like) Julia Child, so the entire event was a trip and a half. Her signature was simple, delicious yeast rolls that she would knot before popping them in the oven. See for yourself: The rolls have a similar resemblance to boobs (nipple and all) so my grandfather aptly coined them "Sarah B.'s Booby Rolls." Obviously the name stuck.

My aunt passed, but we still make Booby Rolls every year to remember her by. This year, I think I'm going to take a stab at them myself. —Hannah Wilken

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey, divided
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (about 1 packet)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  1. Heat milk to a simmer on the stovetop. Add 1/4 cup butter to the milk, stirring until the butter melts. Stir in 1/3 cup honey. Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric mixer to cool a bit. When the milk mixture is barely over room temperature, sprinkle the yeast over the top. Swirl the bowl a couple times, then let the yeast sit and foam for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Once the yeast looks foamy, add in the eggs and salt. Then place a bread hook on your mixer and turn the mixer on low. Slowly add the flour until the dough comes away from the sides into a ball but is still sticky. (Only add 4 1/4 cups of flour, unless extra is needed to make the dough pull away from the sides.) Once the dough pulls away from the bowl, stop the mixer; cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it has doubled in size).
  3. Punch the dough down and cut into 32 equal pieces with a floured knife. Then gently roll into short ropes and tie into boob knots(!!!). Place the yeast rolls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, and cover with lightly dampened tea towels. Allow the rolls to rise a second time for 30 to 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Melt the remaining 1/2 cup butter and whisk with 1/3 cup honey. Once the rolls have risen the second time, remove the towels and gently brush each roll with honey butter. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Wait five minutes before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hannah Wilken
    Hannah Wilken
  • BavarianCook
  • Denise
  • Jeffrey Bowen
    Jeffrey Bowen
  • Christine Metzger
    Christine Metzger

27 Reviews

Kathryn E. November 14, 2019
Holy cow! Those rolls are amazing. I made these as a test run for Thanksgiving and I’m so glad I found this recipe. I’m totally going to win Thanksgiving with these rolls.
Liliane August 22, 2017
I just made those rolls with your recipe and they turned out amazing. Your recipe measurements are right on.
My kids loved it 💞
TonyLatt May 11, 2017
That's funny! My local supermarket carries those roles and my daughter called them booby rolls 25 years ago when she was 3 years old and we buy them every year for Thanksgiving to keep the Booby Roll tradition alive.
Hannah W. December 22, 2016
Yes, Nancy! I don't have a mixer and always make them by hand. You have a better sense of the dough that way too.
Nancy December 22, 2016
Can you make these rolls without a mixer but by hand?
BavarianCook January 15, 2016
Oh Yes! These turned out wonderfully - made them this evening and they are soft, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth irresistible! I skipped the honey-butter glaze and they were still awesome. A definite keeper!
Bob November 26, 2015
This weekend I have to make these cute little booby rolls. They are looking so great.
Jaclyn P. November 23, 2015
If making a day ahead of time, do you suggest cutting the rolls and tying them and then refrigerating them or would you freeze them??
Hannah W. November 23, 2015
Definitely refrigerate if it's the day before. I would tie them though right before you pop them in the oven instead of when you refrigerate.
Jaclyn P. November 24, 2015
Okay thanks! So should I cut the pieces up but wait to tie them? or leave the dough whole and cut them before I bake? (I am an avid dessert baker wanting to take a stab at making breads and rolls, etc.)
Jaclyn P. November 24, 2015
Okay thanks! So should I cut the pieces up but wait to tie them? or leave the dough whole and cut them before I bake? (I am an avid dessert baker wanting to take a stab at making breads and rolls, etc.)
Hannah W. November 24, 2015
To be honest, I'm not 100% sure. This might be the kind of question to bring to the main hotline since it's a general inquiry! Our editorial team will be on call starting tomorrow! Sorry I can't be more help Jaclyn but I don't want to steer you wrong this time of year :)
Jaclyn P. November 27, 2015
With some help from my chef brother, I made the dough, and immediately put it in the fridge to slow the rising process so it worked perfectly the next day! These rolls were CRAZY delicious! No one believed that I made them from scratch!
Hannah W. November 27, 2015
This is making my day!!! I'm so glad they came out delicious and your family was impressed!! Did you take any pictures, Jaclyn? If you did you should post them here!
Denise November 22, 2015
Can I freeze the dough for a couple of days then take it out and bake the rolls?
Hannah W. November 23, 2015
My aunt didn't freeze them since she made them the day of but since it's a simple yeast roll recipe you should be able to freeze and then bake!
Jeffrey B. November 21, 2015
I was going to make some Hawaiian Rolls for dinner this week but what man could pass up a chance to make a batch of Booby Roll instead.
Hannah W. November 23, 2015
Love it!!
Stacey November 18, 2015
Do the rolls freeze well?
Hannah W. November 19, 2015
Yes! They can freeze or refrigerate for a few days no problem.
Santa C. November 18, 2015
These look a little like my maternal grandmother's zwiebach, a traditional Mennonite bread.
pneely November 18, 2015
"A simple knot tie" doesn't answer Christine's question. Not a square knot, surely, and it looks more like a coil than a knot. A technique picture would have helped.
Hannah W. November 18, 2015
Sorry we don't have a technique picture, pneely! They're definitely not a sailors square knot and are more a simple overhand knot with a solid base (see here for more: They're meant to be fun so whatever they turn out looking like I know they will taste delicious :)
Christine M. November 18, 2015
Hannah, these look adorable but I need to know how you actually make it look like a boob!
Hannah W. November 18, 2015
It's a simple knot tie—just make sure that one of the ends pops out significantly so when you bake them it stays visible!
Nicole November 18, 2015
Can the dough of these rolls be made ahead of time? Then baked the next day?
Hannah W. November 18, 2015
I think so!! They're very casual and as long as the boob shape is there I say go for it!