Buttermilk Rolls


Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      4 hr 30

Appears in

Slow Dough, Real Bread

Slow Dough, Real Bread

By Chris J L Young

Published 2016

  • About

Matthew tells me that buttermilk was a mainstay of traditional Scottish baking, and that one of its effects is that it helps to soften the crumb of the bread. Once made from the fermented whey left over at the end of butter making, it’s now usually produced by inoculating skimmed milk with a culture of lactic acid bacteria.


For the Pre-Ferment

  • 60g/oz/¼ cup rye sourdough starter
  • 130g/oz/½ cup plus 2 tsp water
  • 130g/oz/scant cups wholemeal/wholegrain (dark) rye flour


    1. Mix the pre-ferment ingredients together, cover and leave at room temperature overnight.
    2. The next day, mix the flours, water and buttermilk for the dough together thoroughly. Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
    3. Warm the butter until it is barely melted, then mix it into the dough with the salt and the pre-ferment and knead for 5 minutes. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Knead the dough for another 5 minutes, rest again for 10 minutes, then give it one more 5-minute knead. You should have a smooth, stretchy dough. Cover and leave to rest for another 20 minutes.
    4. Give the dough a single fold, cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes, then repeat this fold and 20-minute rest.
    5. Grease a baking sheet with butter. Divide the dough into 12 equalsize pieces and shape them into balls. Place on the sheet about 5cm/2in apart, leaving room for them to grow (or closer, if you want to bake “batch” rolls that gently join together). Dust the tops with flour, cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 2 hours.
    6. Heat the oven to 250°C/230°C fan/480°F/gas 9+, or as high as it will go. Put the rolls into the oven on the baking sheet, immediately turn the oven down to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas 7 and bake for around 15 minutes until golden brown.