Buttermilk Rolls

Buttermilk is the slightly sharp, fatless by-product of butter-making, and is easy to obtain in a dairy-farming region like Devon. It may prove more difficult elsewhere. The substitution of skimmed milk and cream of tartar will also produce excellent rolls.

This recipe should produce between 15 and 20 rolls, depending on size. They are crisp, almost biscuit-like on the outside but soft and light inside. Just right for mopping up sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz (25 g) fresh yeast
  • 15 fl oz (450 ml) buttermilk or 15 fl oz (450 ml) skimmed milk and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 lb 10 oz (750 g) strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 oz (75 g) unsalted butter, melted

Method

  1. Dissolve the yeast in a little buttermilk with the honey. Leave in a warm part of the kitchen for half an hour until it begins to froth.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the buttermilk, the buttermilk yeast mixture, and half the melted butter. Make this into a dough and knead for 5 minutes.
  3. Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave in a warm, draught-free place for an hour to rise.
  4. Knock back the dough, kneading it for a few seconds so that it collapses back to its original volume. Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll out until about 1/8 in (3 mm) thick. Brush both pieces with the rest of the melted butter.
  5. Now cut the dough into strips 2 in (5 cm) wide, and lay these strips on top of each other, about five strips high. Cut them into squares of about 2 in (5 cm). Pinch one corner of each square to seal the layers.
  6. Stand the squares, sealed edge downwards, in buttered Yorkshire pudding tins. Cover and leave them to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Bake in a hot oven – 425°F (220°C) Gas 7 – for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot.
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