Extra seedy, Extra Buttery rolls for any And all of your dinner roll needs
Everything Thanksgiving, I go a bit hard on the menu planning, but I’m always plagued with the thought of “is it extra enough?” and “it’s Thanksgiving, so who is going to stray from the classics?” But I feel like these bay leaf butter rolls are at once both classic and extra, so for this Thanksgiving menu, I feel like my work is done. Will they be forever keepers and ones to repeat? I hope so, and I know at least on my table, they absolutely will be.
Now here’s what you can expect with these bay leaf butter dinner rolls:
- They’re big, a good portion for one person, but you can size them up or down as you prefer!
- They are fluffy and moist and buttery – the trifecta of dinner roll! And yes, it took a lot of trial and error to get them to the right bay leaf butter bread level for that.
- I will suggest you use a stand mixer, but you can accomplish this bread by hand. It will just take kneading… a lot of kneading.
Table of contents
Why these dinner rolls taste like straight butter
As with any dinner roll, the saltiness and buttery-ness are a major factor. I want them to taste buttered even before they’re buttered if that makes sense. It’s all in the dedication to my favorite salted butters, and I insist on letting them shine.
These rolls have butter in the dough, butter brushed on top, and to round it out, yes, I encourage you to serve it with butter. They end up tasting like seedy, salty and buttery rolls. And in a world where rolls can tend to be a little dry and sad, making sure they were as soft and nearly moist as could be was my HIGHEST priority.
Shaping the bay leaf butter bread
But when the dough is still pliable, I like to portion it into 12 pieces, about 85 grams a piece. Then, instead of rolling them into tight balls, which I’ve found can make the dough too dense after baking, I like to stretch them into an oblong shape, loop them around my fingers once and settle them as a loop on the baking sheet with the smooth side facing up.
This makes a wonderful swirl in your dough, while also letting it keep a super delicate and fluffy texture.
What is bay leaf butter?
Bay leaf butter (for this Bay Leaf Butter Bread!) is butter that has been slowly steeped with bay leaves, then gently brought up to a brown butter level of toastiness. It captures all that earthy, peppery flavor of a bay leaf, and concentrates it into your butter, which in turn, concentrates it into the bread.
I like to brush bay leaf butter on top of the rolls after they are done baking, but then whip it to serve alongside them later. As for the bay leaves themselves, you can throw them in a pot of brothy beans and reuse them! Any lingering butter will be a welcome addition.
Absolutely, the bay leaf butter bread works very well with flax egg, vegan milk and vegan butter. They might not be as tender, and you will see some flax flecks in them, but these can be made plant-based!
Unfortunately, since this dough is yeasted, it must be prepped all at the same time. However, these rolls keep well at room temperature for up to 3 days! Just make sure to keep the butter glaze off the rolls until right before serving.
These rolls are freezer-friendly! You can freeze them for up to 6 months. To reheat, simply spray with water using a spray bottle, then pop them in an oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until warm.
And that’s everything for the Bay Leaf Butter Bread!
And of course feel free to leave any questions, comments or reviews! This is the best place to reach me, and I’d love to hear from you <3
Bay Leaf Butter Bread
- 1 Stand mixer
- 1 bench scraper
- 1 9"x13" baking dish
- 1 sheet parchment paper
- 1 cup whole milk 234 grams
- 1/2 cup water 117 grams
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar 55 grams
- 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast 1 packet, or 7 grams
- 1 large egg
- 4 cups all-purpose flour 530 grams, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon and 1 heaping teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves finely grated
- 1/4 cup softened salted butter 57 grams, cut into small pieces
- Any kind of oil for greasing the bowl
For the egg wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
For the bay leaf butter/serving
- 2-3 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 cup salted butter 113 grams
- 1 teaspoon flaky salt such as Maldon
- Whisk together the milk and water. Either on the stove or in the microwave, bring it up to 110°F-115°F.
- Whisk in the sugar until it dissolves. Evenly sprinkle the yeast over the top and whisk that in as well. Let this sit for five minutes or until foamy. Then whisk in the egg.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, salt, fennel, caraway, sage, pumpkin seeds, nutmeg, pepper and grated garlic and mix. Pour in the yeast mixture, and using the hook attachment, being to mix on medium speed.
- Add the butter a few pieces at a time, allowing it to mix into the dough before adding the next pieces. Mix the dough for a total of 8-9 minutes, or until it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Test the gluten by taking a golf ball-sized piece of dough and stretching it apart with your fingers. If it stretches thin enough that you can see light shine through it, but doesn't break, that means it's ready to rest.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover. Leave in a dry, warm place to proof for one hour or until double in size.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, flour your hands and gently punch out any excess air. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface and form it into a smooth ball.
- Using a scale, portion the dough into 12 equal pieces, around 85 grams each.
- Stretch each piece into an oblong shape, around 4-5 inches long, then wrap it around your fingers to create a loop. Set each loop seam-side-down, and position them on a parchment-lined 9"x 13" baking sheet. Cover and let them proof another hour, or until puffed and 50% larger in size.
- When the rolls have 20 minutes left to proof, position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Whisk together the egg wash ingredients and set aside.
- When the rolls are ready, brush them with the egg wash, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
- Make the bay leaf butter. Set a small pan over low heat and add the bay leaves and butter. Let the butter melt, and "steep" the bay leaves in the butter for 15-20 minutes, or until fragrant, before increasing the temperature to medium and allowing the butter to brown. When the milk solids have toasted to a golden brown, remove the bay leaves and transfer the butter to a small bowl. Set aside.
- When the rolls are out of the oven, let them cool for 10 minutes, then brush on about two tablespoons of the bay leaf butter. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
- Keep the remaining bay leaf butter in its small bowl. Add that small bowl to a larger bowl of ice water and whisk until the bay leaf butter cools to a smooth paste. Transfer this to a serving dish, sprinkle with any remaining flaky salt and serve alongside the rolls for spreading.