Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

By Cat, May 2010 (Photo, right, from Better Homes & Gardens, Nov 2009 Issue)

Includes: 1. Buttermilk Dinner Rolls; 2. Buttermilk Dinner Rolls, with Potato Flour

See also: 1. Bread Basics (Yeast-Leavened Breads); 2. Dinner Roll Variations: Shaping & Baking; 3. Bread & Rolls Menu

There’s just nothing that smells and tastes of home, like freshly baked dinner rolls with fresh butter.

While it is possible to make rolls from any bread recipe, some recipes just for rolls are worth mention. Dough for rolls should be fairly soft.

There are many shapes for dinner rolls. It used to be that Buns, Cloverleaf, and Parkerhouse were the most common. But the appearance of Pillsbury’s Refrigerated Crescent Rolls brought that shape, also called Butterhorn, into wide popularity.

Classic Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

This recipe is adapted from one in Home Baking Made Easy, by Virginia Roberts, Director Occident Home Baking Institute (also called Occident Family Flour Baking Book, in this blog) (1).

The original calls for 1 cake compressed yeast, an ingredient hard to find these days; I”ve altered the recipe to use active dry yeast. In American recipes, 1 ‘cake’ of compressed yeast is 0.6 oz, and is equivalent to 3 tsp (1 Tbsp) active dry yeast (or a little more than 1 packet). See Bread Basics (Yeast-Leavened Breads) for more about yeast conversions.

Makes about 18 rolls (depending on chosen shape).


  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast *
  • ¼ cup warm water  (105° – 115°F) *
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (hard wheat such as Wheat Montana’s Prairie Gold)
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour (all-purpose), plus about ¼ cup for kneading
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder (aluminum-free)
  • 1 tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp Rapadura sugar
  • 1 Tbsp (or more, as needed) melted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp melted butter (or more, as needed), for brushing on dough
  • Small bowl or 1-cup Pyrex measuring cup (for proofing yeast)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Cotton dish towel or other cotton cloth
  • Plastic bag large enough to hold your mixing bowl
  • Baking sheet/pan/muffin tin, depending on shape you choose

* The dry yeast and warm water are the equivalent of 1 cake compressed yeast (0.6 oz cake) in the original recipe.


  1. Heat mixing bowl in hot water, then pour buttermilk into bowl to bring it to room temperature.
  2. Proof yeast:  dissolve active dry yeast and 1 tsp of the sugar in warm water in large mixing bowl (skip this step if using compressed yeast).
  3. Stir proofed yeast (or compressed yeast) into buttermilk. Stir in remaining 2 – 5 tsp sugar.
  4. Sift 1 cup whole wheat flour over the buttermilk mixture and stir together using a wooden spoon. Then stir vigorously for 100 strokes to work the gluten. If using a pre-ferment (sponge),  cover bowl with damp cloth, and place covered bowl in a plastic bag. Let rest in cool part of kitchen 6 – 8 hours, or overnight. Otherwise go to next step.
  5. Sprinkle salt, soda and baking powder over dough and mix in. Then mix in melted butter.
  6. Add 1 cup white flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Turn out onto floured board and knead 2 minutes, adding more flour to board as needed, about ¼ cup altogether.
  7. Shape dough into desired type of rolls (see Dinner Roll Variations: Shaping & Baking instructions). Cover and let rise in a warm place until very light.
  8. Bake as directed for the type of rolls you shaped.

Buttermilk Dinner Rolls, with Potato Flour

This recipe is adapted form a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Potato Flour, and is also available on the Bob’s Red Mill website (2). This flour is made by grinding dehydrated potato. Only a small amount of the potato flour is used in this recipe; just enough to give the dough extra lightness. Some time ago, I tried potato flour in a different recipe, and did not at all care for the final product; however, that recipe used a lot more of the potato flour than this one.

NOTE: potato flour and potato starch are not the same thing.

This is not a gluten-free recipe, but could be made wheat free by using whole grain spelt and barley flours, plus white spelt flour.

Makes 18 rolls.

NOTE: this recipe could be adapted for a pre-ferment (sponge) by adding ¼ cup boiling water to ¾ cup buttermilk (to kill the probiotics in the buttermilk) with whole grain flours. Cover bowl to rest on counter overnight. Next day, stir in proofed yeast, oil and honey. Then continue as written, but sift ¼ tsp baking soda with white flour, to overcome sour flavor of soaked flour

Not yet tested, neither with nor without the presoak.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • ¾ cup warm filtered water
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp cold-pressed vegetable oil or olive oil, plus more for oiling bowl.
  • 2 cups whole grain flour
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups unbleached white flour
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp potato flour
  • 1 ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • glass measuring cup
  • large bowl
  • kneading surface
  • baking sheets


  1. Sift all flours together, reserving 1/2 cup white flour for kneading.
  2. Proof yeast in glass measuring cup. Add to buttermilk, oil and honey in a large bowl. Stir in half of the flour mix, potato flour and salt. Mix thoroughly – beat 100 strokes.
  3. Add remaining flour mix and stir well, adding additional flour or water if necessary for the right consistency. dough should come away from bowl and be firm enough to handle with hands.
  4. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 10 – 15 minutes, until dough is smooth and soft.
  5. Rising: Oil bowl, then roll ball of dough in bowl to coat entire surface of dough. Cover and rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  7. Shaping: divide dough into three parts. Roll each third into a rope, cut each rope into 6 pieces and roll each into a ball. Place each on lightly greased baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled. Carefully cut a cross in top of each roll with sharp knife. Sprinkle lightly with potato flour. Or see Dinner Roll Variations: Shaping & Baking for other shapes; the method for Buns is an alternative method for making the ball shape.
  8. Bake in preheated oven 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.


  1. Home Baking Made Easy, by Virginia Roberts, Director Occident Home Baking Institute (also called Occident Family Flour Baking Book, in this blog).
  2. Bob’s Red Mill recipe #1070 (link removed at their request)

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