The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Buttermilk Cluster

Buttermilk Cluster

These rolls make a beautiful compliment to anyone's Thanksgiving table. If timed properly, these can be baked right when the turkey is about to come out of the oven to provide a wonderful accent to the meal.

This recipe is inspired by the Buttermilk Cluster recipe in Country Breads of the World. I made a few minor modifications, such as including a little bit of honey, but in general it is the same thing.

Buttermilk Cluster
Makes 12 to 18 rolls, depending on size
6 to 6 1/2 cups (750 grams) bread or all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 envelope (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry or instant yeast, or 1 15 gram cake fresh yeast
1 tablespoon warm water
1 3/4 to 2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon honey

1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water

1-2 tablespoons seeds (poppy, sesame) or grains (cracked wheat, rolled oats)

Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Combine the warm water and yeast in a small cup and allow to proof for 10 minutes.

Pour the yeast, buttermilk, and honey into the flour mixture and mix well. If the dough is so dry that some of the flour won't stick, add a bit more buttermilk or water. If the dough is too sticky to knead, more like a batter, add more flour by the tablespoon until the correct consistency is achieved.

Knead by machine or hand for approximately 10 minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp cloth, and set aside to rise until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 to 18 pieces. If you are a stickler you can scale them so that they are even, but I just cut them roughly the same size. Shape each piece into a neat ball and place in a round dish or spring-form pan close together.

When all of the rolls are in the pan, cover again with plastic or a damp towel and set aside to rise again for 45 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425.

Uncover the rolls and brush gently with the egg wash. Sprinkle on the grain topping, if you like. I used cracked wheat.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the rolls are firm and spring back when tapped.

Unmold the rolls from the pan and serve warm.


precipice's picture

That looks awesome. I'll have to try that. What size pan did you use?


yuetsze's picture

Made it twice: once for practice before thanksgiving, and then doubled it for thanksgiving! EVERYONE LOVED it! Beautiful and tasty!

Floydm's picture

I used a 12 inch springform pan, I believe.

chanit's picture

Your pictures are great ,
Here :
Thank you for this great Recipe ! :-)

Ricardo's picture

looks great
Remarkably similar to a traditional Ukranian sweet bread called stuffed with sweetened cottage cheese called boluchkie though it is not made with buttermilk but cream.

mitjak's picture

Oooh, I love those (thought I don't think you're thinking of boolochki as they're typically not stuffed, at least not where I'm from). Do you have a recipe handy?

Torii's picture

Nice Recipe indeed! I too made a few modifications. I used the dried buttermilk powder. I didn't have honey so I used Maple syrup.
They rose beautifully, have a delicious spongy texture and incredible taste.
I for sure will include this recipe in my repitoir!

manxman's picture

this is a great recipe I make two small tins of 8 inch diameter

You have an ever growing fan club by all who eat them

Nancy's picture

Floydm--I baked this last weekend and it was fabulous. I topped the rolls with stell-cut Irish oats, and my family went nuts for them. I'm making them again today to have with soup for dinner tonight--thanks for the recipe and the great photos!


Floydm's picture

Splendid! I'm glad to hear they came out well.

Mmmm... Soup and buttermilk rolls sound wonderful on a cold, wet day like we are having here today. I may have to bake them again this weekend myself. ;)

Nita's picture

I'm going to try this also. I'm new to baking bread, and this will be my first venture. The photos and directions are perfect for someone like myself. I'm going to make them tomorrow.

cnemmers's picture

Floydm --Rolls were very good with incredible flavor but something happened to my top crust which turned out too tough and chewy and shiny-er then your great pictures. My breads seem to brown way too quickly and I have to tent it with foil early in the baking process but never before with the same glaze has it been tough or hard to chew. Assuming my ovens temp is accurate is their other varibles that could be causing it? Such as baking in a darker colored pan, excessive glazing, baking on different rack in oven? In the "lesson" sections you mentioned time and temp are easiest to change...If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.Thanks,

duchie's picture

Looks absolutely fabulous! I tend to go with whole wheat, multi grain breads unless we have company, but this looks so great that I was thinking of making it today, then I checked the fridge and I don't have any buttermilk, though I have sour cream and yogurt. Can these be a substitute, or should I just go ahead and buy the buttermilk?



Floydm's picture

I'm sure you can substitute.  

fastmail98's picture

I made these by using 2 cups of half-and-half and they came out well. I'm sure the buttermilk would have given them a deeper flavor, though. Now I'm starting to wonder....can I substitute 1 cup of sourdough starter for 1 cup of flour? I'll be making these again f'sure!

mangaholik's picture

Wow!!!!  All the pics are wonderful!!!  I'm gonna have to try this recipe.  YUMM-O!!!


beanfromex's picture

These were the first recipe that I tried from this site in time for Canadian thanksgiving in October.

Mine were very appreciated by the guests and looked wonderful.  I also used buttermilk powder, which was a gift from someone coming to mexico from the states.

Thank you Floyd for the great recipe. 

Giovanni's picture

I'm new to this site but so far I like it. I was searching for some new ideas last night and came upon these rolls so I'm trying them right now. So far they look good, I'll let you know in a little while.



Giovanni's picture

The rolls have been out of the oven for a bit now and they look great and taste great too. Thanks, they'll make a good Thanksgiving bread.

herschel's picture

I'm cooking for just three now, so I made a two clusters, each in a 9" cake pan. Had one for dinner and froze the other for another meal. Good, hearty rolls. Thanks for the recipe.

Twin Clusters

rholcomb1's picture

I tried this yesterday and I don't know if my house was too cold for it to rise properly or I over kneaded.  The outside looked picture perfect while the inside was still dough.  Any suggestions?  I did turn the oven as low as it would go and set the dough on top to rise today.  I am bound and determined to do this!  Thanks.

Floydm's picture

The outside looked picture perfect while the inside was still dough.

Did you bake them long enough? Depending on how thick you shape them and whether your oven's temperature sensor is accurate, it could take an extra 5, 10, 15, even 20 minutes to bake through.

Good luck!

wsewake's picture

Thanks Floydm for posting the recipe and pictures that helped me, a newbie, to bake the wonderful rolls for a pre-Thanksgiving potluck at work and another batch for Thanksgiving dinner.  If our visiting guests from Chicago had not seen me the mixing the dough and putting them in the oven to bake, they would not have believed that I had made them with my own hands! By the way, I had some leftover dough from both batches that I froze.  Today I defrosted them to room temp, combined the 2 knobs, shaped and placed them in a 1lb bread pan to proof for about an hour.  I misted with some water, sprinkled some oats on top and baked the loaf.  It made some great sandwich bread.

Regards, wms


vegasvicki's picture

I tried this recipe word for word and 1-3/4 cups of buttermilk was not enough moisture for mine by far.  I ended up with like two cups extra of flour sitting in the bowl with dry dough bits all around it.  It was a mess and wouldnt stick together at all.  I'm guessing you didnt mean to have the recipe taken literally but as a feel and judge thing. 

It was so dry and tough.  So I did what you said, I kept adding tablespoon by tablespoon of buttermilk to make it stick together. Eventually I got all of the flour to stick together...I believe I ended my count in like 14 xtra tablespoons of buttermilk.  Yowser.  I also had to knead the dough a lot to throroughly mix the moisture into the dough to soften it. 

The results I got was a heavy bread that still peeled.  Strong flour flavor. 

I swear I'll get this baking thing down someday... 

Free Rider's picture
Free Rider

This recipe comes from Oregon, a humid place.  You are in Vegas, a dry place.  Compensation has to be made for the extreme lack of humidity in places like Vegas.

Jessica Weissman's picture
Jessica Weissman

My experience was the same - not enough moisture by far.  And I'm in damp snowy Maryland.  I ended up with 2 1/4 cups of buttermilk.  Ultimately they came out fine and tasted good, but the proportions didn't quite work for me.  There may be variations in buttermilk, too.

JGo555's picture

I know, I'm replying to a comment 6yrs later. Either way, I had made mine with buttermilk substitute so I ended up making just about the amount needed. Mine was mixed and kneaded by a breadmachine and I had to add 7tbsp of water to make things stick.

Free Rider's picture
Free Rider

I tried this recipe yesterday in dry Phoenix, Arizona.  I had to add quite a bit of buttermilk, but the final result was awesome.  I used rolled oats for the topping and King Arthur AP flour.

newtobaking's picture

How do you prepare the baking pan for this recipe, do you have to greased the pan? Thanks a lot.

Floydm's picture

I think I just gave it a quick shot of spray oil, the same as how I would grease any loaf pan.

zumnoor's picture

Started dough at 2pm and by 5pm, I've already chomped 2 pieces of this awesome cluster. Made 1/2 the recipe (yielded 10 pieces)as we're a family of 3. It was most satisfying in taste and look. Will definitely make again with other toppings. I've sprinkled with granulated sugar as I'm having cravings for something sweet. Unfortunately, I'm not good at photography and I cannot show off what I've made. Thanks for the great recipe.

Trishinomaha's picture

How many loaves would it make?



cherub0110's picture

  I love this butter bread.  I think this is good for appetizer for almost everything.  The crust is so delicious! This is the second bread I bake and it turned out perfect! I love this butter bread.  I think this is good for appetizer for almost everything.  The crust is so delicious! This is the second bread I bake and it turned out perfect!Butter bread: I love this butter bread.  I think this is good for appetizer for almost everything.  The crust is so delicious! This is the second bread I bake and it turned out perfect!

browndog's picture

only your second bread? clearly you're a natural!

tigressbakes's picture

take a bite!

Wakkun's picture

Hi all,

I am so glad I found this website and am learning a lot about baking. Just started baking recently and tried this recipe.  This is my third time baking bread (the first recipe I tried was of simple white bread which came out good, the second was the walnut cinnamon bread which also came out good).

Well this recipe gave me a bit of trouble. Reading the instructions, it seemed pretty easy. I decided to do a half recipe. With the ingredients as listed, my dough was super dry so I added a few tbsp of buttermilk along with a last tbsp of water (about 5 in total) and was able to knead it. The dough was pretty tough (not as easy to knead compared to other doughs I have kneaded, but I don't have much experience).

After the two rises, I baked it. It came out looking really good (nicely browned), but I did not get as much rise (compared to previous posters' pics), mine did not puff up.  It stayed about the same size as when the dough was not cooked. 

When I tasted them, the taste was good, but very dense, not light and fluffy.

Since I am still pretty new to this, can someone please be kind enough to help me troubleshoot. Where did I go wrong?

Could it be that my buttermilk wasn't at room temperature. I took it out of fridge a bit, it wasn't cold, but wasn't room temperature either.

Could I have over kneaded or not added enough liquid to the dough.

Thanks for any advice I could get.


BetseyD's picture



I am new here and have tried the James Beard Sour Cream Bread, which was fabulous! As far as this bread goes, well, it was kind of a disaster!

To make a long story short, the dough was just way too heavy, dense and tough - it actually caused my KitchenAide Mixer to overheat and stop working! I ended up having to add quite a bit of extra Buttermilk in order to get the dough to form some sort of cohesive mass - it initially started as a shaggy, dry dough that could not stick together - finished the knead by hand (not an easy job), and popped the bread into the oven.

The end result pretty much looked like all the other pictures on here, but I was disappointed with the taste, which I found to be very blah.

To sum up, I guess that I would say that I will not be attempting this recipe again.

You win some - you lose some!



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was reading through the thread and see that many have added more moisture to this recipe.   Some with water, others with more buttermilk.  Maybe someone can recalculate the moisture of  this recipe.  (The thickness of the buttermilk would make a difference, maybe this should be noted in the original recipe post.)  

Mini O

kalinka's picture

Hi, I also made the same bread today, actually made it 2 times, just to see what I'm doing wrong.Anyway, this breads dough is very stiff, not normal for the dough, the texture when it's baked is very hard, also not enough sugar and the salt for the ammount of flour.As well I'd put some cardamon and raisins, and anise, just to make it smell and taste better. I'm not so impressed with this one. Maybe I did something wrong. But I grew up with the same bread but with more flavour and fluffy texture.

fredk's picture

I made this today. It came out really good. Only my fourth try working with dough, two of the other times were making pizza dough.

Anyway, my dough was initially too dry, I added about 3 addtional ounces of water to be able to work the dough properly.

I was really happy with the bread, I topped it with sesame seads. I think it could have baked maybe 5 minutes or so more, the crust was perfect, but had a slightly yeasty/doughy tasting crumb. Although the texture seemed perfect. Maybe I'm not used to eating such fresh bread.

But after it fully cooled, that yeasty taste went away. Am I correct in thinking it should have baked a little more? I should have stuck a thermometer in it, oh well, next time. This bread was pretty easy to make.

Trishinomaha's picture

Hi all-

I'd just your thoughts on an overnight retard of the buttermilk cluster. I was thinking maybe I could put the rolls in the fridge after the first rise and when it's formed. I'd like to be able to pull it out the next morning, let it warm up and rise and then bake. Do you think this would work?

TIA for your ideas...

Trish in Omaha

Floydm's picture

I've not tried it with this recipe, but it should work. Certainly worth a try.

Trishinomaha's picture

In the front seat of my Jeep (hee hee). We ran out of refrigerator room so we stored a few things in the Jeep (covered with plastic and then a beach towel, of course). It got down to about 17 degrees here last night so our cold garage makes a perfect second refrigerator when necessary. I just retrieved them. They rose nicely during the night. I'll warm them and bake them while the ham rests. (Yep, we're having ham - not too many turkey lovers around this family...). I'll let you know how they turn out.


Trishinomaha's picture

Just wanted to report back on my experiment in the overnight retarding of the buttermilk clusters. Given the fact that they sat in a very warm kitchen for about two hours longer than they should have before being baked and the fact that dinner was running late and we really didn't let them rest properly before serving - they were pretty darn good. Top and bottom crusts were a little chewy but the crumb was quite good (except in the middle which was slighly underdone.) Even with all that - every single one was eaten or taken home by family with other leftovers. I will try this again when my timing is better - but I think these rolls can be easily overnighted in a cool place and still be great the next day.


lindaped's picture

Mmm, I think I'll make these this weekend. I was also going to whip up (literally) some homemade butter. Do you think the type of buttermilk matters for this recipe? Fresh buttermilk is lot thinner than the cultured stuff you find in the dairy case. Thanks!

Floydm's picture

I think you'd be fine with fresh buttermilk. If the dough turned out too wet (which I doubt), knead in a couple of extra tablespoons of flour to tighten it up.

micki's picture

Stumbled upon the site while looking for help with a kneading bowl.  Astounded by the assistance I've received and totally fascinated by everything!  Haven't totally figured out how to move around, but I'll get there.

Spotted this recipe while exploring.  Really, it was the pictures that made me drool - and just had to have some.  Reminded me of Mom's.  They weren't great but good enough to enjoy and strive for better the next time.  Here are some questions:

  • These had great texture but were tough.  Any basic reasons why bread gets tough?
  • Is there a purpose for the glaze aside from keeping the toppings in place?  I wiped the tops with soft butter when they came out of the oven, just like Mom used to do.
  • Many of the recipes I've viewed use 425 temps.  Had to come down to 350 (my norm) half way through the baking as the tops were on their way to deep brown.  Why such high temps?
  • What is the purpose of water in a pan in the oven?  Know it wasn't mentioned in this recipe but for some reason, I remembered it and placed it in there.  Did that contribute to the toughness?
  • These rose to over 3 inches - beautiful, but way too much for use as a sandwich bun (hamburger or something).  Any way to get 1 1/2 (approx) inch height or isn't this an appropriate recipe for such?
  • Finally, how do I add pictures to my comments? 

Any help will be appreciated.  By the way, I keep dry buttermilk on hand, so that was used.  These were kneaded by hand and baked in a 9x13 cake pan.  I also made fresh fig jam yesterday, so guess what my dessert consisted of?  (I've got a wicked grin on my face right now.)  Finding y'all is not going to be good for my waistline! 


catalina's picture

Been planning to try baking these rolls for a while but couldn't find any fresh buttermilk (which I understand is liquid).  Can I use powdered buttermilk instead, and if so, how much? Thanks! 

catalina in manila

traceyg's picture

lovely pictures!


Lu's picture

I'm not sure which type of flour to use...does the bread flour produce a denser biscuit?


Paddyscake's picture

You can use either one. The buttermilk will make it a tender roll. Unless you had them side by side, I doubt you could tell the difference for this formula. AP will produce a softer dough.

Shrike's picture

This looks great and I'll be making it tomorrow.  One question.  I noticed that the same volume (2 1/2 teaspoons) of yeast was quoted whether active dry or instant.  Normally, I'd use only about 2/3 instant if the recipe quoted active dry.  Should I make the adjustment for the formula for this cluster?  Thanks!


Man should live by bread alone!


lisalisa's picture

 This is my first attempt at making bread in years. 

First, I followed the recipe exactly except, I used 5C reg flour & 1&1/2C of light wheat flour.  Also, like others mentioned, I think the liquid measurements are off because I had to about 1/2C more  buttermilk.  I mixed it in my KA; then began kneading it on machine as well.  My machine really seemed to be struggling with the dough...and I don't have one of the small ones either (its a 6qt KA that cost me right at $300 several years ago).  After 5 minutes, I pulled it out of the machine and started kneading it on the counter.  It seemed much harder than bread I've made in the past (many many years ago).  But I did it 5 more minutes.  It seemed solid, but smooth.  I greased a bowl (using spray on olive oil) & covered with plastic.  I put it in my oven with the light on & a bowl of hot water.  I measured the temp & it ranged between 80-85 degrees.  A little high, but not overly, right? 

So, I started checking it at 60 minutes.  It never rose.  I mean it.  Maybe 5% if that.  After 2 & 1/2 hours (I figured I wouldn't rush it), I went ahead and made the balls, put in 2 greased pans, sprayed with a bit of oil & put back into the oven to proof.  Let it sit 1&1/2 hour this time.  They did rise slightly this time...maybe 20%. 

Finally I said, what the heck & pulled them out, heated the oven & baked them.  I baked them about 30 minutes.  They came out hard on the outside; chewy; doughy.  Just really yucky.  I actually took a bite (with a bit of melted butter) and spit it out. 

While all of this was going on, I double checked my yeast.  I had used a single packet from a 3-packet.  I took another packet & tested it with a pinch of sugar & a couple T of warm water.  Within a couple minutes it was bubbly and rising.  So, the yeast is fine.  The white flour was regular Gold Medal, about 2 weeks old.  The light wheat flour was less than 2 months old. 

This is why I stopped baking breads years ago.  I first started in my early twenties & used the BC & BHG recipes from their books & never had a problem with my dough rising.  I always thought my bread was a bit on the bland side; but this was before the internet & all the new ideas available to bakers now; also, I never had a problem with yeast not rising.  Anyway.  I stopped baking for a couple of years when we living in England.  Then came back stateside and have had problems ever since.  I finally gave up about 10 years ago after my 3rd or 4th failed loaf in a row. 

I'm very frustrated right now.  So if it wasn't the yeast, then what?  Not enough moisture?  Maybe I shouldn't have substituted the light wheat (it wasn't much...only 1&1/2 cups)?  Maybe I didn't knead it long enough?  I should mention that after the 2nd rise, when I started making the rolls, the dough was heavy...but it felt smooth and silky soft.  Really nice to the touch.  Very easy to work with actually.  This seemed like such an easy and straightforward recipe. 

Does anyone have any ideas?  Thanks so much.

pmccool's picture


What, approximately, were the temperatures of the wet and dry ingredients?  Is there a possibility that the yeast was killed by too high temps?  Or significantly slowed by cold dough temp?

You noted that the dough seemed rather dry and stiff, as have other posters.  It may be that the dry (relatively speaking) dough was stiff enough to slow the rise, even if other conditions were optimal.  Bagels, which are made with a low hydration stiff dough, aren't renowned for their fluffiness. 

Another possibility is that since this is an enriched dough, the yeast may be struggling to cope with a relatively hostile environment.  Do a search on "osmotolerant" yeasts for some recent discussions about this issue.

I'm not sure whether any of these possibilities describe your situation, but they are some things to consider while you are troubleshooting.  Best of luck on future attempts.


themagicone's picture

Are you using tap water???? If you are there is your problem all along. Tap water has chorline in it, which kills bacteria, including are wonderful freind yeast. You should use filtered water or bottled water only.

foolishpoolish's picture

Yeast and bacteria are two different classes of micro-organism. They metabolize and reproduce differently.

Chlorinated tap water will affect bacteria but should not kill yeast and certainly not baker's yeast.

I would recommend when making sourdough, to use either mineral water or filtered tap water (de-chlorinated)....chlorine affects the lactobacilli and hence the sourdough may lack some of it's characteristic 'tang' and flavour but this should not be such a problem in a straight (baker's) yeasted dough.

Hope that helps,


BellesAZ's picture

Chlorinated tap water doesn't affect my yeast rises.. never has.  I try to use filtered water only because I basically just wash dishes in tap water, but it has never retarded a rise in any of my breads.

paxye's picture

I made this for the first time a few days ago and it turned out great!

I will definatley make it again...

I baked mine in a 9X9 cake pan and used 12 pieces... I think I will try for more next time though...




brakeforbread's picture

Like others, I had to add quite a bit extra buttermilk, about 1/2 C. The dough was still very stiff - as stiff, or stiffer than bagel dough even - so I was worried that they would be too tough. But they rose beautifully (I shaped and let slow rise in the fridge overnight) and baked up perfectly. They had a nice, well browned crust on top and had a soft and perfect crumb. I topped them with a combo of flax and sesame seeds which I think looked nice.

Thanks for the recipe. I'm fairly new to bread baking so this was a great recipe to find in time for the holidays.


Brake for Bread

Atropine's picture

LOVE the raffia tie! Adorable presentation!

Rajee's picture

Did u lukewarm buttermilk? I wonder how ur dough comes perfect by adding one tablespoon of warm water for yeast to prood and then add cold buttermilk.

themagicone's picture

I made this today and it turned out perfect. It did need more liquid so I just ploped it on the counter and kept working it with water till it came together as a mass then back in the mixed to knead it. I added some buttermilk after a few mins of kneading to get it just right. After about 7 mins of kneading it was nice and smooth and just slighty tacky to the touch. Let it rise untill double, shaped and baked. Only thing I would do next time is cook it a tad longer but they turned out great.

Rajee's picture

I think it's soft when freshly baked. Will it become soft the next day? How long we can store it? I tried it and it's just a regular bun. Am I correct?

gonzalezbrazil's picture

 I´ve tried this recipe, lots of times. I think the asks for 6 and half cups of flour is exagerated.

I done with little less flour and add little bit of extra buttermilk. The crumb turned softly.

With that 6 and a half cups of flour the bread turns dry, heavy, i don´t liked the result.

But it´s really delicious healthy bread, easy to bake!!


Thanks Floyd

alliezk's picture

It was beautiful. I used the last bit of a bag of bread flour - a little less than 6 cups, and threw in a loose 1/2 cup of whole wheat flower, and a teaspoon of wheat germ for good measure. The added wheat gave it a rich flavor that I thought really added to the buttermilk taste. My audience seemed to agree! The bread was gone in about 20 minutes!

Ten Mintues later:


Sorry for the poor quality pictures. My camera batteries are dead and I took these with my cell phone camera.

Amulet Clover's picture
Amulet Clover

I made these just the other day. Mine looked nothing like these because I evidently made the pieces too big when I formed them. They were like the size of baseballs one they rose! >w<

Also I baked them in a glass pyrex dish since I didn't have a metal cake or springform pan *owns a sadly ill-stocked kitchen* T_T. They came out alright although they were light on the bottom. 

My sister used just egg yolks on the wash and the high oven temp gave it like a creme brulee sort of look. Eventually the crust softened once they cooled and the browned tops were pretty. 

All in all very delish with a little melted butter! I can't wait to make these again for our morning coffee (Once I get more flour *used 10 lbs this week* T_T) I'll post a pic of my baseball sized ones!

Nomadcruiser53's picture

My 1st bread from scatch.It

It came out a little dense, but I'm sure it's because I'm a newbie and I also added 3 Tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten. Tastes great though and I'm enjoying the buns with steak and salad tonight.


Mary Jane D. Toribio's picture
Mary Jane D. Toribio

i made your buttermilk cluster yesterday and it really turned out great.i made some minor modification like i use sugar instead of honey and i added 1 tbsp of margarine.i also dont have buttermilk at hand so i used low fat milk.I divide the dough into 24 pieces and i use 3 small loaf pan.but still it turned out great.thanks for the recipe its a keeper.

wavyhair's picture

I tried it today and it turned out great!  Thanks for the recipe!

Nomadcruiser53's picture

Those look fabulous.

lizzybhuber's picture

First, this was the prettiest presentation of bread I've ever delivered.  The cluster looked as though baked by someone much more experienced than I.


However, I found the rolls to be somewhat bland and dense.  There was very little flavor in them.  I substituted Bob's Red Mill powdered buttermilk. That is the only change I made.  I would like to make these again but with a bit more flavor.


Also, like other people, I found this recipe to be hard on my KitchenAid.  I ended up having to halve it and knead some by hand and some by machine (switching up every couple minutes). 


Here are a couple of questions for anyone to answer:

  1. What can be done to improve the bland flavor?  Did I do something wrong?
  2. How to make the crust softer?  Mine was very chewy... still good, but would have preferred softer rolls.  
  3. Does powdered buttermilk perform differently than liquid?
  4. Could the recipe from Lesson 2 be used to make a cluster like this?


I absolutely LOVE this site.  Thanks for all the hard work Floyd!

venkitac's picture

My understanding is that if you want more flavor, you'd need to explore all the traditional methods to get more flavor from bread: cut down on the yeast and do a longer bulk ferment with more stretch-fold (or punchdowns), do overnight retarded ferment or proof, consider a preferment, or consider a starter. If you do none of these and go for a straight 90 minute bulk ferment followed by a 60 minute (or such) proof, the bread as such won't have a lot of flavor and all the flavor would have to come from the qualities of added ingredients like honey or buttermilk. (Hm...perhaps you should consider using real buttermilk as Floyd said). Anyway, this is all IMO, I'm pretty much a newbie myself, YMMV.

jessibrown's picture

You may have used too much egg wash and over-baked it by a few minutes.  I've made the cluster many times and that happened to me once.  As for your other issues, I don't have enough experience as a baker to answer.  Keep experimenting!

loniluna's picture

Narien's picture

Mine turned out looking great, but it had that off beery flavour and wasn`t really fluffy at all. It just came out of the oven, but tastes 2 days old. I used bread flour and instant yeast, as much as called for in the recipe, but i`m under the impression that the dough didn`t rise as much as it should have. I also needed to add about a quarter cup more water to make it workable, but maybe i should have added more, it was still quite tough and hard to knead. This is only my 2nd time making bread (first was bagels, also from this website, and they were great) and i`m not really sure what i did wrong. I`ll try making it again in a couple of days.



RebaWoman's picture

I made this today and took it out of the oven an hour ago. I couldn't wait to taste it. It smelled like heaven and tasted delicious; not too yeasty with that wonderful buttermilk flavor. The crust was crunchy and slightly tough with a wonderful packed crumb.

Thanks for posting this recipe.

diamonds088's picture

Well, I am also a first time user and my wife did make this Cluster bread. Have to say tha since we did not know what to expect texture wise, it took a few bites to appreciate the true value of our baking. Not enough left for a picture   lol We think that it could easily become a raisin and cinamon bread,


OldWoodenSpoon's picture

I started it the night before since our kitchen is pretty busy on Thanksgiving day.  I made up the rolls and let them rise for just a few minutes, then refrigerated them until the turkey came out of the oven.  Then I put on the wash and some sesame seeds and baked the rolls.  They were ready just as the rest of the meal went to the table. 

Thank you floydm for a wonderful recipe.  These came out light and tasty, and baked up to a beautiful golden color.  Here are a couple of pictures of the results.


We had some left over since we were only three for dinner this year, but I may make these again at Christmas when the whole family will be together.

GaelicGrime's picture

Brand new here... hi y'all!


I am seriously considering a freeform round loaf instead of a cluster of rolls.


I have not done baking adjustments for a long while (decades [sigh]) but I think if I up the flour about 1/2 cup this will work for a freeform.


Am I daft from years of not using those muscles?

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

adjustments, especially if you use bread flour.  With AP you might need a few grams more, but I would not start out that way.  I think you will be able to tell if you hand-knead a few strokes before bulk fermentation.  Add a little flour if you have doubts at that point.  I used the bread flour called for and followed the recipe as described, and I think I could have formed a free-form loaf with my dough as it was, without adjustments.

Good luck, and come back to let us know how it turned out.  Happy Thanksgiving!


AngelaT's picture

Made these for thanksgiving, they were very good!!  The only real issue I had, was by adding the buttermilk straight from the refrigerator, made the dough very cool.  It took a very long time to raise (several hours, not the 90 minutes mentioned in the recipe.)  When I make this next time, and there will be a next time, I will probably heat the buttermilk slightly.  The dough was easy to work, very dense, made very nice rolls.  Will probably try a loaf of bread next time, though. I always make a recipe as directed the first time, then modify from there.  Very good, just the right sweetness, too.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

with the cold buttermilk.  I wonder if I had such good luck because I used a very long refrigerated rise?  I shaped the rolls into a springform and left them on the bench for a short time, then put them into the refrigerator until time to bake.  About an hour before they went into the oven they came out into the very warm kitchen to warm up on the bench.  They had gotten to about 90% proofed in the fridge.  I might have just escaped the cold milk issue without even suspecting it. Thanks for the heads-up.  I'll watch out for that when I don't use the overnight, refrigerated proof.

These rolls are sure tasty, aren't they.


AngelaT's picture

Oh, by the way.  My bread/rolls don't always look like the gorgeous pictures on the fresh loaf.  These looked EXACTLY like the picture.

RachelJ's picture

That looks awesome! oh dear. 

freefromjane's picture

I made this bread a few weeks ago and it worked first time around (yeah), as i'm off wheat and dairy, is used white spelt and combined soya cream and lemon juice to create a buttermilky effect, worked quite well. I made another one just now with spelt, buckwheat and ricemilk. Can't wait to try it.

monkey445's picture

I am also new at baking and have made several other recipes that didn't come out very good. I love your site and found the lessons to be very helpful. This is the first recipe I've tried from here and it was so successful I am definetly going to be a junkie! Thanks for all of the wonderful information you have provided for all of us budding bakers! I made these in cluster and loaf form and both were great...though the clusters were a little more dense...but still very good. Thanks, Monica


jessibrown's picture

I found this recipe is the Saveur 100 issue and have made it many times since Christmas.  Every step is clear, concise and easy to achieve.  I could swear the pictures in the recipe were taken in my own kitchen!!  My children enjoy making the balls before the second rise but really love gobbling up the entire cluster warm from the oven.  Enjoy!

ejm's picture

I saw a scathing review of this loaf on the SAVEUR site and silly me, I believed the person who did the review and complained that the bread was doughy. I was REALLY surprised because all of the reviews here say the complete opposite. I examined both versions of the recipe and saw that the SAVEUR recipe calls for 5 cups flour rather than the 6 - 6½ cups flour on the Freshloaf recipe. 

I assumed that SAVEUR had made a typing mistake.

I just couldn't believe that all of these rave reviews here would be wrong, nor could I believe that SAVEUR would have added the FreshLoaf into the 100 list if the bread was no good.

I just finished kneading the bread - I used the Freshloaf recipe. Silly silly me!! I NEVER add all the flour in other recipes! But I dumped in 2 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (which came out to 790gm) with 1¾ cups buttermilk and started stirring.

Too dry too dry!!!

I added another ¼ cup buttermilk and continued struggling to stir.

Still too dry!!!

I added ¼ cup water and managed to stir but the dough was pretty stiff. Kneading it was no picnic. I had to resort to lifting it up and throwing it down on the board. I'm thinking that SAVEUR was probably not so off-base to say 5 cups flour.

The dough is now proofing in the oven with only the light turned on (our kitchen is ridiculously cold at 14C) and I'm hoping that it will still produce wonderful bread. I'll let you know.





ejm's picture

I forgot to come back last night after pulling this bread out of the oven.

It looked and smelled fabulous!! We left it to cool overnight and plan to break into it today. I can't imagine that it's going to be anything less than stellar. Thank you for the recipe, Floyd!

As soon as I get the pictures out of the camera, I'll post them.


ejm's picture

I just posted about the buttermilk cluster. It looks fabulous, doesn't it?

buttermilk cluster thumbnail


(Click on the image to see a larger view and more details)

rileybri's picture

I would be honored to add my latest foret into baking to this thread. I made a practice run of the Cluster that I plan to bring to a pot luck later in the week. After some playing with the dough to bring it from to dry to to wet to just right, I proofed in the oven after pre-warming it for 30 sec at 400*. I made the butter milk using the whole milk and lemon juice method so am glad that it worked great. This is my new go to bread recipe for parties and special dinners.....

ejm's picture

The cluster looks beautiful! I used 1% buttermilk when I made it but am happy to hear that milk+lemon juice method works. We don't always have buttermilk in the fridge.


(Too bad we can't get real buttermilk anymore. Isn't it virtually 0% butterfat because it's whatever is left over after churning cream into butter?)

mrfrost's picture

If you shop around for it(in a larger city), you should be able to find what you want. I have access to buttermilks made from skim milk, 1 1/2% milk, and whole milk, at least. This is just at the 2 "neighborhood" supermarkets.

ejm's picture

Yes, but I believe that's not "real" buttermilk, mrfrost - the stuff on the supermarket shelves is made from milk that has bacterial culture added to it - sort of like yoghurt.

It would be cool to try actual buttermilk (without resorting to churning our own butter).


LauraB's picture

Thanks for sharing. I made some fromage frais late last week and decided to use this recipe to make some bread with the leftover buttermilk.

If anyone is interested, it also makes fantastic dipping toasts/croutons. We had a wee bit leftover that was past its best. I sliced it finely, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and re-baked them, which also brought out the taste of the sesame seeds . One of the best things I've tasted in a long time!

smarkley's picture

Hi... we tried these and really like them. Today we tried substituting Seminola flour for the unbleached flour... after mixing it seemed too wet so we added more flour and ended up with about 7 cups of Seminola flour... also we substituted 2 T of Malted Barley for the Honey... Everything came out beautifully and tastes great too!


Here it is ready to go in the oven ( notice our 1960's stove heh heh )... we don't have a springform pan.. so used our good steel skillet that works in the oven LOL.


Before Baking


Out of the Oven...

Out Of the Oven

Finished Product...

Finished Biscuits


Thanks for the original posting, it is a good one!


ejm's picture

It looks great! I have two questions:

  1. Is that a paella pan that you used? How brilliant.
  2. Did you notice any difference in texture because of using semolina flour?


(We have a 1960s stove and oven too. Isn't it great? I love being able to move just one dial to turn on the oven, rather than having to program the thing as if it's a plane being prepared for takeoff. It's also very nice not having to worry that a computer chip will suddenly fail.)

smarkley's picture

Hello Elizabeth...

Yes... good eyes, that is a paella pan we used. It seemed like the ticket since we don't have a springform pan (yet).. heh heh.

The texture is dense, this is not a light and fluffy biscuit. After finishing, I did something I should not have done... I added up all the calories and stats then divided by 16 ( the number of rolls we had) -- it came to 292 calories a piece... then add a couple of pats of real butter - *GASP* At any rate, they taste wonderful and we will definitely make this recipe again.

Heh, yes... you don't need flight training to run our stove, I love it!


-- Steve


ejm's picture

Never never count the calories, Steve!! Oh my. (I hate to think what the addition of goat's cheese and black currant jam we had with our buttermilk cluster would do to the tally.)

I like that the addition of the semolina flour made the bread a little more substantial. And I wouldn't be so hasty to get a spring-form pan. Clearly, using the paella pan works just as well.


dkBaker's picture

mixture dry... my opinion not enough water with the yeast... toughest dough I have encountered ....  taste not a hit either...

jonalisa's picture

I just made these tonight.

First I measured out 6 cups of flour - then I weighed it. What I found is that my 6 cups weighed over 850g instead of the 750g listed and so I had to remove quite a bit of flour from the bowl. Once I did that, the dough was just right, not too dry with a little over 1 3/4c buttermilk. I also used instant yeast and so did not use any water.
I also found that at 425 degrees, the tops of the rolls got very dark very fast and I think in the future I would drop the temp a little. However, the texture was great - very light and fluffy.

Lastly, I didn't find them to have a lot of flavor; somewhat bland. Perhaps more honey or some sugar next time?

Buttermilk Clusters

ejm's picture

Maybe try shaping it and putting it in the fridge overnight to rise in the fridge to develop the flavour.


jonalisa's picture

That's a great idea, ejm, I will try that the next time I make it.


theschnouz's picture

Made this a few nights ago with bread flour, came out really well. Had a lot of extra buttermilk and was not about to throw it out! Paired really well with homemade vegetable soup up here in cold Washington.


giblert's picture

I was inspired to try this and it turned out well. Didn't have any grains/seeds kicking around so used rock salt instead. Very visually appealing in a large cast iron skillet. Didn't have enough buttermilk on hand so topped it off with soy milk.


varda's picture

I just baked this as a practice round for thanksgiving, where I'm supposed to bring the bread.   I saw the picture on the front page and had to try it.   Delicious and gorgeous.   I wish everything I made came out this way.   The only problem for my test drive is that the bottom came out a little hard.   I could say that I should cook it a bit less than 30 minutes, but I don't think that it would be cooked enough.   I have so little experience with this kind of bread that I don't know what correction to make.   I followed instructions above completely, but ended up having to add a bit more water on top of the 2 cups of buttermilk - no more than a quarter cup.  

ChrisKnuckles's picture

I tried this tonight for the first time.  It was very good.  A couple notes...

  1. I think the yeast I used wasn't "proofed" at the right temp and didn't rise as well as it should have.
  2. I rushed making the dough and it was a little dry, I guess.  Not that bad but, still...could have been better.
  3. The crust was too 'crusty' and not as soft as I'd have liked.  I did the butter the top when it comes out but still too crusty for my wife
  4. The taste was great, though!  It will be made again for Thanksgiving!

Here are a couple pics..



Cooky's picture

Have noticed several comments here about the dough being too tough, overly dense, under-proofed,etc. I'm making these rolls for Thanksgiving, and know that I will have to be prepared to adjust the moisture based on the feel of the dough as it comes together in order to get it right.

The great and brilliant Danielle Forestier said it best when it comes to bread recipes: "There is no formula for water." In this case, that would cover buttermilk, or in any liquid, whatever recipe you're using.

Her lesson -- and I have learned to take it seriously after years of experimenting -- is that the measurement for flour should be treated as an exact requirement while the liquid can adjust up or down within a very broad range.

This is where the feel you have developed for the dough becomes critical. There is no exact amount; it totally depends on the hydration of the flour (which varies much more than I ever imagined). The only way to know when you have added enough is by literally touching the dough and feeling if it is in the right range for the kind of bread you want to make. It's art! If the dough feels tough and unyielding, it's too dry, regardless of what the recipes says. (Unless you're making bagel or something else that calls for a very stiff dough.)

This is why we love bread-baking, yes?

gardenchef's picture

Good morning all...

I have been eyeing this recipe for some time and finally decided to try it last nite, for today's Thanksgiving Dinner. BTW, Bravo to all you folks who test recipes before the 'big day'. I never do and just hope for the best. i figure others can learn from my mistakes if it gets messed up. And ok it's immediate family only so no need to impress : )

I have absolutely no idea how this will come out. I made it in my Viking Stand Mixer as one of my last recipes of the nite. So the verdict will come to you all later this evening!

I read and re-read all comments before starting. Then I just made what I hope were a combination of good changes (?) along the way. Funny I've read so many comments and books about building flavor and character that i can't remember what process, goes with what bread type. So my thoughts may be way off base, feel free to laugh, and then please educate me. : )

Starting with Floyd's original recipe I stuck to the recommended amount of flour; using a little over 6C. I didn't have bread flour so I used KAF all purpose.

I have no idea if this will help with tenderness; but I SIFTED all of the flour before I began. (Gosh it looks like silk once sifted) anyway, no, I didn't re-measure I just went with that amount. I used the SAF Red Instant Yeast... so I didn't moisten the yeast I just added it at the beginning with dry ingredients.

And utilizing what I gathered from the comments I changed the liquid amount. I decided to go 2 full cups of buttermilk. (Oh remind me to post on authentic buttermilk in new topic - so much easier than you would imagine if you use a stand mix.) I used store bought buttermilk for this. I also used two Tablespoons of Honey instead of one, hoping to counteract the 'blandness folks wrote about.

Now I'm a 'year old' newbie to bread baking and that is intermittent at best. So my thoughts may not be correct, I will definitely post after we, hopefully, devour it...OR after we laugh, about the brick I made ~time will tell. 

Because it was so late at nite I did the first 90 minute proofing as you normally would. It did not double in bulk, about 1/3 I'd say at best, it was smooth but heavy! (This is the texture it was after kneading with dough hook after initial mix)

Then I kneaded a tiny bit by hand using the 'folding' technique you use with French bread (hoping to add flavorful character)? I cut into 12 pieces (no weighing, just by eye). I rolled them and placed in a PAM sprayed round cake pan.

Ok I was falling asleep, so skipping the next 45 mins rise before cooking I proofed in fridge overnite....covered it with a damp cloth first and went to bed. (actual fridge time 6 hours.) Took it out this morning and was pleasantly surprised at the rising that took place. Prior to this it hardly proofed at all.

Now it is sitting on the stovetop with a large bowl over it. I don't want to cook until last minute, so it will sit there until 1pm (yikes) PLEASE DO TELL if this is a mistake. Then I thought I'd cook it while turkey is 'setting'.

My family doesn't like poppy, sesame... or any of what I call great toppings, I'll glaze and conservatively sprinkle with sugar before cooking. Please respond with tips, advice, oh no's, etc I'd love to hear from you. Thank you bread baking family, the only other group I'm not concerned about failing in front of. We all learn from each other right! : )))

God Bless, I'll keep you posted and welcome your comments.


ejm's picture

So? I'm dying to hear. Did it turn out?

It sounds like it was going to work (as long as it didn't rise too much before you baked it). 

I love that you just went ahead and winged it without testing first. That's MUCH more fun!

As for when to bake the bread, if it had been me, I would have been inclined to bake the bread in the morning before putting the bird in the oven, cool the bread completely on a wire rack and then just reheat it gently just before dinner. But I can't wait to hear that using your method worked out fabulously.

And if you find you didn't love the bread, you can always chop it up, let it air-dry or freeze it and use it to make stuffing for the next holiday feast.


(Thank you for dropping by and commenting at my blog.)

gardenchef's picture

Hi E

So sorry for delay. I can't even write at the moment but hated to keep you waiting..

Long story short, with photos and details to follow.  It was DELICIOUS, I wouldn't change a spec of measurements I adjusted. And I did an egg white sugar wash on top

My only issues came with the proofing, no problem just too long of a wait and I didn't have a high enough pan. (After my initial 45min proof, into the fridge it went for 5 hours, then brought to room temp with it continuing to rise for 8 more hours due to lack of cooking space. LOL! I kept moving it to larger base but low sided pans resulting in a flatter loaf but with all the flavor and 'crumb' that I would have expected from a higher (much more photogenic) loaf. 

You are right, I could easily have baked it the nite before or earlier in the the we are 2 days after baking, one roll left and I had it toasted with butter and drizzled honey last nite -to die for IMHO, will do so today as well.

My 'Country White Bread' doesn't last an hour in the his house. But with all the Thanksgiving food we had and the fact that it had the buttermilk tang (I didn't tell any of my loving bland-palleted family) it lasted longer. I'm determined to expand the palletes of my loved ones!!!!!

So much more to write later. Though I would stand by my adjustments made (a lucky guess), and previously written. Obviously I couldn't have made those adjustments of it weren't for the kind folks on this forum that share their experiences as well!

Elizabeth re: I love that you just went ahead and winged it without testing first. That's MUCH more fun!

You are so right it is more fun, but you have to be willing to expect disasters that are thrown away, as well  Such as my first attempt at pastry creme that never thickened this week, my ganache (first attempt) was awesome though.

Talk soon, I'll follow your blog and recommend it, it's lovely. I'd appreciate if you do the same for me; though it'll be a few weeks till I'm writing everyday. There's plenty to read now just not all regarding baking. 

Have a Wonderful Day, sending baking hugs your way


PS I need assistance...directions on inserting photos? New Macbook and I'm not I-photo literate yet!

ejm's picture

It sounds great, Cathy!

And NO need to apologize for any delay in reply! Sometimes I forget for weeks to come back here. Writing every day? Are we supposed to write every day in our blogs?!


For inserting photos here, this Posting Photos FAQ might help?

ejm's picture

It occurs to me that you may be talking about inserting photos in your blogger blog, Cathy. Here again is the link to how to insert photos on this forum

And here are links to possible sources of help for blogger blogging:


TuzaHu's picture

I rarely buy buttermilk as I only need a cup or two of it then the rest goes bad.  In the past I've frozen left over buttermilk to use as needed but finally got to the point of why bother.  I bought buttermilk solid powder now.  For this recipe I substituted condenced milk and added some buttermilk powder.  It was awesome.


I opened a can of tomato soup and that was my dinner.

ejm's picture

I've often used plain yoghurt in place of buttermilk. It works just as well.


Davefs's picture

Just beautiful!I'm going to try them soon.

Thanks for sharing the photos and recipe!

happylina's picture

I bake my first BBQ pork fillings pumpkin milk cluster last night. This plate is the electric pot lid.

It's very good looking bread. I like it so much.

Thanks for this good idea!


krischang's picture

my loafthis is my first time to bake the loaf and it turn out perfect. The loaf out side crispy and inside is so soft. I like it very much.Thanks for your recipe. I will make it second time^_^

BostonMaria's picture

Looks perfect, and the texture is, too...

I subbed kefir for buttermilk -- could this be why there is almost no taste to this pretty bread?

Floydm's picture

A few other folks have made similar remarks and it kind of leaves me scratching my head.  What are you expecting it to taste like?  Isn't plain old buttermilk bread always pretty... plain?  

This merits of this one is that it makes an eye catching loaf that is great for mopping up cranberries or gravy and it is dead simple to make, but I'd never tout it as one of the more delicious breads on the site.  But if you used it as a base and subbed in some whole wheat flour or mixed in some seeds or herbs or grains? I bet you could come up with something more interesting.


Happy baking!


BostonMaria's picture

But I was thinking that it was time to make something with a good gravy...

I'm also thinking that just a teeny bit more salt would do the trick, or heck -- a whole lot of butter!

Floydm's picture

Absolutely, you could enrich it or sweeten it to come up with something a lot more flavourful.

varda's picture

I and probably many others made this for Thanksgiving this year.   I also brought a couple pain au levain.   Everyone made a beeline for the buttermilk rolls and skipped the bread.    It was just exactly the right thing.   It's not like turkey is the most flavorful meat in the world either, but yet you have to have it.  So of  course I appreciate you having posted this and also put it on the front page just in time for T-day.   -Varda

gingersnapped's picture

Replaced the yeast in this recipe with one cup of sourdough starter and utilized the basic substitution process (added 2/3 of the amount of flour called for, then the liquid).  Let it sit overnight; added the rest of the flour, honey, salt, etc; kneaded it into a ball and let it rise for about 6 hours the next day.  The crumb was beautiful and shreddable and soft -- a real testament to the sometimes unorthodox sourdough substitution!  It was a show stopper at my dinner party the next day.  Thanks again.

SallyBR's picture

we absolutely loved it!

and it baked with no problems in my small Breville oven...


I include a photo here, and for those interested in the full blog entry, here it is


Sheps's picture

I tried this, starting the process the day before yesterday and leaving the dough to rise in the fridge overnight. I went to bed late and got up early (only about 6 hours sleep - poor me!) and was amused to find the rampant dough making a bid for freedom over all sides of the large bowl it had barely half filled the night before. Still, I punched it down, kneeded for a second time and made my small rolls. I found I had to work quickly because they were not keeping their round shape while I was rolling the next, flattening slightly before my eyes. I only have a large flat sheet or two 8" loaf tins to chooses from, so I made two loaves out of a collection of small rolls, hoping to still get that lovely look on top. Using a sharp knife to slice of pieces I was delighted to see large irregular bubbles forming, and I tried to handle as little as possible. The first tin I used what I felt was just enough dough, then used the remainder in the second tin, which turned out to be a little over half. I skipped the egg wash... I'm sure I'm being silly but I always feel it's a waste of an egg. I usually use water, butter or a little olive oil... this time I went for the olive oil.

Then I had to go to work, so I popped them back in the fridge and left the house for another 6 hours before heading back to work from home. I found that the first loaf had risen nicely to fill the loaf tin, and the second (of course) had begun to ooze over the sides. I baked them anyway, allowing them to come to room temperature first.

I didn't get much spring, if any at all. I'm yet to discover where I'm going wrong with this as I don't think I've ever achieved it. Perhaps it's my oven. More likely it's my method.

The bread had a lovely flavour and texture, though it was a little denser than I had hoped. The crusts were great all round, and of course the monster second loaf was gripping the edge of it's tin with it's bulging crust. Slicing this one I find I have a brilliant mushroom shaped slice!

So, I still have the same old problems I always have; sticky dough (whatever recipe I follow I find the dough incredibly sticky to work with, and end up adding an enormous amount of flour during the kneeding process) and little or no spring. Are these related perhaps? If I can find a way to work with my dough without adding so much flour perhaps my bread will be lighter?

Finally, my fussy eating boyfriend loves this bread more than my last. Result. Thanks Floyd!

JamieN's picture

My first time making homemade rolls and my oh my, these were amazing and so easy! I made them in an iron skillet and topped with sesame seeds. Never again will I buy frozen rolls! Thanks, Jamie

Wholewheatgirl's picture

Thank you for this recipe! I dared to use 100% whole wheat and they still came out light and rose really well. Here's what I did :
5 cups whole wheat flour
7.5 tsp of vital wheat gluten
2 cups liquid--didn't have buttermilk, so used 1.5 cups kefir and 0.5 cups heavy cream instead
Otherwise followed the recipe. Kneading was easy: perfect flour to liquid proportion. Next time I think I'll add a little more salt, as they are a little bland, like some have mentioned already, but I wouldn't say they are tasteless. They look so nice. I wish I knew how to upload the pic from the phone. I will definitely make this again

century's picture

ejm's picture

Not too shabby at all. Good idea to use the cast-iron pan!


pattycakes's picture

Floyd, I had looked at these rolls with yearning for so long that I knew this year I was going to make them for Thanksgiving. I didn't read all the comments until I had already made my discovery that the dough was too dry. Thank you, LyndonDimont for the weight recipe!

Luckily, I am a very experienced baker, because here in DRY New Mexico, I knew to add a good deal more than an extra cup of buttermilk to 4 cups bread flour with 2 WW. The dough looks right now after kneading, which is smooth and soft.

Thank you, Floyd, for posting the recipe, and thanks to all who joined in about their experiences!


Gini's picture

I made these today, and they were delicious! Since my dutch oven is large enough to hold a 12" springform pan, I preheated it and started them under the lid. 15 minutes covered, and then 20 more uncovered, and they were beautifully springy with a tender crumb and a crust that was thin and light. Excellent! Will be made again for Christmas, even if it means taking my springform pan in my luggage. (Dutch oven will not be traveling with me, of course!)

Yundah's picture

These worked wonderfully for my contribution to the table on Thanksgiving.  I doubled the recipe and it worked out terrifically.  I would have taken pictures but I was too slow.  Tasty and really easy to get together.  I loved working with this dough.  Thanks and I hope  your Thanksgiving was as good as mine. 

teagossip's picture

Just found this great recipe (made onion bread tonight) so definitely will give this one a try. I think it will take really nice with a cup of good Ceylon Black Tea.

Lareynadenada's picture

I have made these twice and both times they have come out (really) heavy while they taste great I was expecting lighter texture, I don't know what I am doing wrong, got great rise both times

Hestia's picture

 Here goes my first comment...

I made 200 of these for a friend's wedding this weekend.

I scaled each roll to 1.5 oz and baked them in an extra large deep dish pizza pan. I got about 25 per batch, and I liked the slightly smaller rolls with the buffet style set-up.

They were very popular. I did find them a bit heavier than I expected.

I didn't get any complaints though!


Co May May's picture
Co May May

This looks awesome! I gotta try this one...Can I substitute regular milk for Buttermilk? Will it make a difference?

Maggie44's picture

A friend and neighbor who is an artisan bread baker recommended this site to me.  Wow!  Thank you Bill.  What a treasure trove.  This is going to be fun.

JGo555's picture

Just made this bad boy. We're having it for dinner with some fried chicken.

I have 2 toddlers so it's impossible to knead bread with them around. I threw all the ingredients into the breadmaker. And I had to use buttermilk substitute since it would've only been used for this bread.  I had to add about 7tbsp of water while the machine was mixing the ingredients because of how dry the mix was.

It came out beautifully and I baked it for about 25mins. It sprung back but also it was turning too dark.

JGo555's picture

Had it for dinner and the kids inhaled it. It was great tasting but rather dense. We didn't have it warm since I had to make it around the morning and it was done by noon but maybe that affected the texture? What else could be done to make it less dense are very VERY light & fluffy.


Either way, I wanted it warm so I zapped a bun pull for 10-15 secs. and it was a big less hard and warm.  Thanks for the recipe!

ejm's picture

Please excuse the lateness of the reply. My guess is that your bread dough needed more liquid. Or less flour.

I'm not at all familiar with mixing dough in a bread machine (I make all our bread by hand) but I see from my notes about when I first made the  buttermilk cluster using this recipe, I had to add a lot more water and buttermilk.   SAVEUR magazine's kitchen featured this recipe in their magazine and they called for 5 cups of flour rather than the 6 – 6½ cups in the recipe here.

I used the full amount of flour and added about 1/2 cup more liquid to get lovely fluffy bread.


Garanzuay's picture

I live in Houston and also had to increase the buttermilk by 3/4 cup.  It turned out very well.  Great recipe, thank you for sharing!!!!

kd osborn's picture
kd osborn

I know I'm late to the party but wanted to comment. I made these yesterday using the dump method. I didn't like the feel of the dough (it was too dense) but figured after two rises, it would lighten up. The rolls looked good but they were too dense and tasteless. Not liking a kitchen failure, I got up this morning and tried again, but this time I warmed the 2 cups buttermilk to 99 degrees, added 1.5 Tbsp honey and stirred to dissolve. I then bloomed the yeast in the buttermilk mixture while measuring out 6 cups of flour. I slowly added the salted flour to the milk mixture and once it was too stiff to stir, started to knead in the extra flour. All in all, it took the same amount of time but I liked the texture much better. My dough let me know it was ready after only 5 cups of flour. All other times and instructions were followed and I came out with a beautiful, light roll with good texture, taste and rise. 

Becca85's picture

Had 1 cup of buttermilk to use up so halved this recipe.   The dough was a heavy mass and having no more buttermilk to add in I added a 1/4 cup of sourdough starter.  The rise was beautiful and the response was they were excellent. The question I have is was it o.k. to add the starter?  Should I have substituted something else?


pmccool's picture

Especially considering the feedback you received.  Just about any other water-based liquid could also have been used, whether milk or cream or almond/soy/rice milks or water or whey or ...  Every one of those will have slightly different effects on the dough and the finished rolls but any of them would serve to add some more moisture to the dough when required.  What none of them can do is add more leavening, which you got with the starter.

Good improvisation!


Becca85's picture

I was concerned I'd added to much leavening.  I had the sourdough starter out to make some pizza dough so it was just handy to add.  Again thank you for your response. I think I'll make the starter a permanent addition.

linder's picture

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner and just changed one thing - added 2 TBSP of butter.  They were light and fluffy and delicious!  Sorry I don't have pics but we ate them all!  I placed the rolls in a 9 x 13 pan and made 15 rolls (3 across 5 down the sides of a buttered glass pan.  Since I was using a glass baking dish I reduced the baking temperature by 25F and they were done exactly at the 30 minute mark.  Excellent rolls that reminded my friend, Carol, of the ones her mom used to make.  Thanks for the recipe.