Wednesday, October 20, 2010

whole wheat buttermilk yeast rolls


These were not originally intended as whole wheat rolls.  My mom makes them with white flour every Thanksgiving and they are as delicious as they are festive.  Nothing says ‘turkey day’ quite like freshly baked golden domes of airy, buttery goodness.

Because at our house, we  favor whole wheat bread and consider white flour an occasional indulgence, I wondered how these rolls would fare when a portion of the white flour was replaced with whole wheat pastry flour*.  I decided to give it a try and the resulting rolls were hearty and wholesome; a little denser than their paler siblings but still altogether delicious.   

On a side note, I want to take a moment to sing the praises of whole wheat pastry flour.  Its finer grind replaces white flour with ease and it possesses a subtler flavor and smoother texture than traditional whole wheat flour.  With all the benefits of whole wheat, the pastry flour adaptation regularly makes its way into our pancakes, waffles, crepes, pizza dough, pie crust, biscuits and quick breads. 

The best way to experiment when replacing white flour with whole wheat flour is to first attempt a 50/50 blend.  Over time, change the ratio as you deem appropriate.  These rolls need a bit of gluten so I don’t recommend substituting all of the white flour for whole wheat flour.

whole wheat buttermilk yeast rolls

yields approximately 24 rolls


1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups room temperature buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter, cooled
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5-6 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I prefer Bob’s Red Mill)
2 cups unbleached white flour 


Put yeast and water in a mixing bowl.  Stir until dissolved.  Add room temp buttermilk and sugar.  Let the mixture stand (to proof) for 15 minutes.

Add the melted butter and beaten eggs to the buttermilk mixture.  Whisk to combine.  At this point, my mom prefers to use her KitchenAid.  I like to do it by hand.  If using a stand mixer, begin with the paddle attachment. 

In another bowl, sift the soda, salt and 4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour.  Add the flour mixture to the liquid until a smooth batter forms.  If you are using an electric mixer, switch out the paddle for the dough hook at this time.  Add the white flour, beating well until incorporated.  Add the remaining wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a fairly smooth dough begins to form.  It may not be necessary to use all of the flour.  Stop adding flour if the dough starts to lose its sheen.  Knead the dough with a dough hook or by hand for about 8 minutes, until smooth and satiny (dough made with wheat flour will be less satiny than dough made with white flour).

Place dough in a buttered bowl and butter the top of the dough, as well.  Cover with a towel and rise in a warm place for one hour.  Pinch off sections of dough roughly the size of golf balls.  Place balls of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Rise for an additional 30 minutes. 

Bake the rolls at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes, until tops are light golden brown.  About 10 minutes into baking, I like to brush the tops with butter but this is optional. 

Unbaked, these rolls freeze quite well.  Place them in the freezer on a baking sheet, for about half an hour.  Once they are firm, transfer to sealable freezer bags.  Thaw frozen rolls at room temperature.  Remove  them from the freezer a few hours ahead of time and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet 30 minutes before baking.

* I use Bob’s Red Mill organically grown whole wheat pastry flour.  They also make a non-organic version.  Either is fine.  Note: White wheat flour is not the same as whole wheat pastry flour.  I have tried both and much prefer the pastry flour.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely website, inviting photos, and clear, easy-to-follow recipes that I'll do more than just collect. I'll definitely be trying many of them.

    Thanks for sharing!