Pull-Apart Butter Roll Loaves

Kiss those store-bought rolls goodbye.

Pull-Apart Butter Roll Loaves on a marble serving dish
Photo: Photo: James Ransom; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
35 mins
Rise Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 55 mins
Yield:
2 loaves

Ditch the dinner rolls this holiday season, and make a flaky, pull-apart bread instead.

Much like a buttery croissant, this recipe uses sheets of dough brushed with softened butter and stacked inside a bread pan to create distinct layers of fluffy goodness.

This recipe makes two loaves, but even if you're hosting a smaller gathering, make both, one for serving on Thanksgiving, and the other for enjoying with leftovers the next day.

Don't skip the final brush of melted butter and sprinkle of flaky sea salt and fresh rosemary before serving; these finishing touches make for an extra impressive presentation.

To ensure this Thanksgiving side goes off without a hitch, you'll want to pay close attention to the first step where you bloom the yeast in warm milk. After this mixture stands for about five minutes, it should be nice and bubbly, an indication that your yeast is alive and ready to make the bread rise. If nothing happens, it may be time for a last-minute trip to the grocery store to get fresh yeast.

Ingredients

  • 1 ⅓ cups warm whole milk (105°F to 110°F)

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 2 (1/4-oz.) pkg. active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp.)

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting

  • ½ cup, plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and divided

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened and divided

  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish

  • Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish

Directions

  1. Whisk together warm milk, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl until well combined; let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Place yeast mixture and 2 cups of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on low speed just until combined, about 20 seconds. Add ½ cup of the melted butter and 1 cup of the flour; continue beating on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With the mixer on low, add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Gradually add salt and remaining 3 cups of flour, beating on low speed until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 2 minutes.

  3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray; lightly coat top of dough with cooking spray, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place (75°F) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place dough on a floured work surface, and shape into a ball. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough in half. Working with 1 half at a time, roll dough into a 20- x 12-inch rectangle (¼ inch thick). Spread ¼ cup of the softened butter in a thin layer over the dough. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 20 (4- x 3-inch) rectangles.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 (8 ½- x 4 ½-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray. Prop 1 end of 1 prepared pan up to place it at an angle. Beginning at the low end of prepared pan, place 1 dough rectangle, buttered side up, and repeat with remaining dough rectangles, buttered sides up. Repeat procedure with remaining dough, ¼ cup softened butter, and pan. Cover pans loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

  5. Bake both pans in preheated oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes, covering loosely with aluminum foil halfway through baking time to prevent overbrowning, if needed. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and brush with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter; garnish with flaky sea salt and rosemary before serving.

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