To begin, in your mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of yeast, 1/2 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Your going to let that sit until it blooms; it’s also called proofing the yeast. Making sure it’s active. (I don’t necessarily follow their rules.)
While your waiting, we’ll start our milk. In a small pan add 1 cup of buttermilk, heat on medium low, use a candy thermometer, get it up to about 150-160, turn off the stove, add 1/4 cup of butter directly from the refrigerator. The butter will bring down the temperature of the buttermilk. When the milk is 105-115 add it to the yeast mixture.
Pour the milk into a bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Add your yeast and 2/3 cup of sugar. Stir it a little bit, cover, and walk away. You are testing your yeast to prove that it is alive and active with this first step.
I checked the bowl about 10 minutes later, after I finished gathering the other ingredients for the rolls. If the yeast/sugar/milk solution has become frothy or bubbly, you have your “proof” that the yeast is alive. If not, the yeast is a dud. Toss it out and start over again with a new batch of active dry yeast. Our yeast was ready and good to go.
With the mixer running, add your softened butter – be sure it is not melted or too hard. Crack 2 large eggs, add them one at a time, then a touch of salt. Let the mixer run for a bit. Manually scrape down the sides and stir by hand as needed. Next, slowly add the flour. Little by little. Mix for up to 10 minutes on medium high speed until a soft dough forms. I thought my mixer was going to break down as it jostled about for 10 minutes! Luckily, we were fine.
For the amount of flour: the recipe states 4.25 – 4.5 cups. I used 4 and 1/2 cups because the dough was much too sticky with only 4 and 1/4 cup. In fact, after 10 minutes in the stand mixer, I kneaded the dough by hand on a floured surface for about two minutes because I still felt it was much too sticky. To test the dough’s readiness, poke the dough with your finger and if it springs back, it is good to go. After mixing for 10 minutes and then kneading by hand on a floured surface, the dough was ready to rise.
1 T. Yeast
1/2 C. Water
1 T. Sugar
1 C. Buttermilk
2/3 C. Sugar
4 1/2 C. Flour
Form the dough into a ball, and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a dish towel and set in a warm place, until it doubles in size. We had the stove on earlier from warming up the milk, so we placed the bowl on the flat electric stove-top and went to decorate the tree as we waited. If you make these in the summer time, be sure it is not an overly humid day as the air’s moisture will have a negative affect on the dough’s rising. The dough took about 1.5 hours to practically double in size.
Get your baking pan ready. I used a 9×13 baking pan, your standard size cake pan, and lined it with parchment paper. I sprayed the parchment paper with nonstick spray so the rolls could easily be removed.
Get your roll on. Break out your rolling pin (and your ruler!) and roll that glorious ball of dough into a 10×24 inch rectangle on a generously floured surface. Oh geez. I completely underestimated this size before we got out the ruler! Trust me, it will roll out into a rectangle this large. Make sure the dough is completely uniform in thickness and a precisely 10×24 inches in size.
Mix frozen raspberries with a touch of cornstarch and sugar. Frozen – yes, frozen. Fresh raspberries will be much too juicy and delicate for the filling, which is perfect since they are not in their prime this time of year. Frozen berries are the way to go – try blueberries or cherries instead. Pour the cold sugared raspberries over the large dough rectangle and tightly roll up.
Using your sharpest knife, cut into 16 rolls. This means the rolls were precisely 1.5 inches in thickness. Stuff the rolls into your baking pan, 4 in each row, leaving space between each one so they have room to expand. Some rolls will be more tightly compacted since the pan is longer than it is wide. That’s ok, I promise. Cover your baking pan and store in a warm place once again.
More waiting time – about 2 hours. That’s ok, there really isn’t much “work time” with this recipe – just more “wait time.” In this step, be prepared for the berries to release their juices. The bottom of your pan will be FULL of a glorious sweet red raspberry juice, only to be absorbed in the baking process. It turns into an incredible sticky raspberry glaze over the bottom of the rolls.
The rolls only take about 25 minutes in the oven. Be sure to cover your rolls with foil – it didn’t state this in the original recipe, but this is crucial to prevent the tops of your rolls from getting too brown. I covered my rolls about halfway through the baking process; the next time I make these, they will be covered the entire time in the oven. The recipe also states 425 F degrees. WAY too hot for my rolls. Go for 400 F here.
Oh my lanta, the SMELL of these rolls baking is pure bread oblivion!
Cool your rolls, in the pan, on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. I cooled mine overnight so they’d be ready for their glaze shower first thing in the morning.
Make your glaze. A simple combination of heavy cream and powdered sugar. Nothing else. Feel free to use half-and-half or milk. With either half-and-half or milk, keep in mind it you may need more sugar than I used to get the glaze to be as thick and creamy.