Growing up we always had these pull-apart rolls for Sunday dinner. For years I tried to find them in the stores. Pillsbury came close to a store-bought pull-apart roll but their dough is salty, rubbery and no where near flaky. I finally saw an article about these fan rolls. They are a type of roll characterized by fan rolls that originated in New England. As with anything from New England, there are various recipes for this unique shape; some call for five pieces of dough to construct the fan and others call for seven, mine, call for 5 strips cut into 6 squares. The yeasted dough of all-purpose or bread flour is enriched with butter and eggs. I add buttermilk and then baking soda, which is why these fan rolls are sometimes also referred to as Yankee buttermilk rolls. I adapted my recipe for an overnight refrigerator rise to make it easier for those who do not have the time in one day to let these rise and for those without a KitchenAide or bread machine. Never one to let anything just be...I add layers of flavor with onion & garlic butter but by all means add any infused fat to the recipe. I have made them with sun-dried tomato infused olive oil, lemon zest & garlic infused butter, and if you have dried mushroom powder, mushrooms and garlic infused butter or olive oil (my second fav way to make them). Once you get the technique of making the stacks, you will make them over and over again and your family will love to pull them apart and yes, butter, even more, each layer of roll. —Stockout
Add onions and garlic and simmer on low for 10 minutes. It will be best if it starts to brown on the edges. Remove pan from heat and strain.
Buttermilk Fan Tans
Place water in bowl of mixer or into a large warmed bowl.
Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add warm buttermilk, 1/3 cup melted butter, sugar, salt and 1 1 /2 cups flour; blend well.
Stir in egg and enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Place in greased bowl; turn to grease top. COver with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 24 hours.
Remove from refrigerator. Punch dough down.
Remove to lightly floured surface, divide into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12"x7" rectangle.
Brush onion and garlic flavored butter on all three rectangles. Try not to be over zealous with the butter, an even layer will be more than enough. You will have left-over butter but that can be used for vegetables.
With sharp knife or pizza cutter (my preference), cut each rectangle into 6 crosswise (top to bottom) 2" equal pieces. Place 6 strips on top of one another and you end up with three stacks of dough strips (each rectangle will be one stack).
With sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each stack into strips crosswise again, into 6 equal squares, making 18 fans.
Place, cut side up, into 18 greased 2 1/2" muffin cups. Cover, let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30-40 minutes.
Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until done. Makes 18 rolls. Remove rolls from muffin tin; cool on wire racks.