It wouldn’t be a holiday feast without a fresh batch of homemade bread. These buttery rolls with golden, pull-apart layers are finished off with sprinkles of flaky salt. The dough for Buttermilk Fantail Rolls is very easy to work with (in fact, our Test Kitchen called it “extremely forgiving”), but it needs to rise twice, so be sure to allow enough time. Or bake the rolls a day ahead, reserving the melted butter and sea salt in Step 5. Let them cool, and store in a ziplock plastic bag. Reheat in a 300°F oven 10 minutes, or until warm. Brush warm rolls with melted butter, and top with sea salt.
1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 110°F)
2 (1⁄4-oz.) envelopes active dry yeast
6 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup whole buttermilk, at room temperature
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and divided
3 3/4 — 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and divided
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
How to Make It
Combine warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir together eggs, buttermilk, kosher salt, 1⁄2 cup of the melted butter, and remaining 6 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Add yeast mixture and 3 1⁄2 cups of the flour; stir until a dough forms. Sprinkle a work surface with 1⁄4 cup of the flour; turn dough out onto floured surface, and knead until smooth and slightly elastic, about 4 minutes, adding up to an additional 1⁄4 cup flour, if needed. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 to 24 hours.
Coat 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cooking spray. Punch chilled dough down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll 1 dough half into a 16- x 12-inch rectangle (about 1⁄4 inch thick). Brush top with 2 tablespoons of the softened butter. Starting from a 12-inch side, cut dough into 6 (2-inch-wide) strips. Cut dough strips crosswise into quarters. (You will have 24 [4- x 2-inch] dough pieces.)
Stack 3 dough pieces together, buttered side up. Top with a fourth piece, buttered side down. Repeat with remaining 20 dough pieces, making 6 stacks. Cut each stack in half crosswise, making a total of 12 stacks of 2-inch squares. Place 1 stack on its side, layers facing up, in each muffin cup. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat process with remaining dough half, 2 tablespoons softened butter, and muffin pan. Let rolls rise in a warm (80°F to 85°F) place, free from drafts, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake rolls until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Brush rolls with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, and sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt.