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.
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.