The one thing I HAVE to bake every Thanksgiving: pull-apart butter buns


Oh, boy…  just look at these rolls.

I mean, feast your eyes on them. The golden, buttery crust. The soft, tender interior. Can’t you just imagine these, warm from the oven, the tiniest bit of steam wisping into the air as you pull them apart and reach for the butter dish?

Well, imagining is fine. But reality is right around the corner.

It’s called Thanksgiving.

Is there a baking holiday as gratifying, as delicious, as FUN as Thanksgiving? I think not. Thanksgiving is ALL ABOUT FOOD. No gift-shopping; no mall crowds. Just folks gathered together for a long, congenial day of football, friendship, family time… and food.

Turkey. Stuffing. Cranberry sauce. Mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, creamed onions, peas… The delicious double cliché of marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole mortared together with cream of mushroom soup and topped with canned fried onions.

Like old friends, these dishes aren’t perfect; they’re a bit tattered and worn, but comfortably so. Thanksgiving food is like that old pair of jeans you slip into when you get home from work. Undemanding; cozy; there for you, like a best friend.

We all have our signature Thanksgiving dishes. Maybe it’s homemade stuffing – buttery, onion-y, redolent of sage. Or perhaps cranberry nut muffins. Maybe your old-fashioned pumpkin pie?

Whichever of your recipes is the first one out of the box Thanksgiving morning, it’s undoubtedly a trusted standby, a guaranteed crowd favorite. For me, it’s these pull-apart rolls. I’ve dubbed around with the recipe over the years, and this is my current favorite version. I’m eager to share it with you here because it’s A) easy, B) delicious, and C) the essence of comfort food.

What better way to celebrate America’s favorite food holiday?

Let’s make Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns.


So, what’s with the white powders here? They’re two of my “gotta have” white bread ingredients: potato flour, and Baker’s Special Dry Milk. The potato flour adds moistness and keeping quality; the Special Dry Milk, a great rise.

Can you make these buns without these two ingredients? Sure, I’ll provide substitutions below. But if you make sandwich bread frequently, I suggest making them a regular pantry item; they DO make a nice difference.


Mix together the following:

3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons potato flour or 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
3 tablespoons Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons soft butter
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk


Mix everything together to make a rough dough…


…then knead for about 7 minutes at medium speed, till relatively smooth, but still rather sticky.


Gather the dough into a ball, and put it in a greased container to rise. As always, I’m using my 8-cup measure; it’s fun to track the dough’s progress.


Let the dough rise till it’s doubled; this’ll probably take 60 to 90 minutes. Look at those lovely air bubbles around the bottom – the yeast is growing, giving off CO2, stretching that gluten in the flour just like a balloon.


Once the dough is risen, gently deflate it. You’re going to divide it into 16 pieces, which you can easily do simply by dividing it in half, then in half again, etc. You can eyeball the process; or actually use a scale to make perfectly-sized rolls.

The entire piece of dough weighs 812g; don’t fret if yours doesn’t weigh exactly 812g, OK? This isn’t rocket science.


Divided in half: 405g. Remember what I just said – this isn’t rocket science. 405g is close enough.


Continue along the same lines till you’ve made 16 pieces of dough.


Next, shape each piece into a ball. Let’s do one at a time. First, flatten the piece of dough a bit by pulling on the edges, smoothing its top.


Turn it over, and gather the underside into a knot; this smoothes the top side further.


Knot-side down, gently roll the dough in circles beneath your curled fingers. No need to put pressure on it; just imagine the way you roll dice, cupping them in your hands and shaking. Same idea; the ball of dough will move freely under your hands.

You know, when we ever have video in this blog, this shaping technique is the first thing I want to show! It’s so easy to do – and so miserably hard to explain…


Ah – lovely. Sixteen round dough balls.


Lightly grease two 8” round cake pans, spacing eight balls in each. Can you use 9” round cake pans, or a 9” x 13” pan? Sure; the buns just won’t nestle together as closely, so their sides will be a bit more baked. And they’ll be a bit shorter in stature.


Cover the pans, and allow the buns to rise till they’re crowded against one another and quite puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.


Now THAT’S what I call buxom buns!


Bake the buns for 22 to 24 minutes…


…until they’re golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the center bun should register at least 190°F.


Remove the buns from the oven, and immediately brush with melted butter. You’ll need 1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter, depending on how generous you are. Trust me; this is a time for generosity.


You may think that you’ve used too heavy a hand with the butter…


…but it sinks in, leaving a really pretty, satiny sheen. This is why we call these pull-apart buns; they come apart very easily.


Split open; add more butter. WOW.


How about cloverleafs? Divide the original piece of dough into 36 small pieces. You don’t really need to try to make these 36 pieces all the same size; just divide the dough into 12 balls, then each of those balls into three pieces.

Nestle in the wells of a lightly greased standard muffin pan.


Let rise till they’re puffing over the rims.


Bake as directed for the regular rolls, brushing with butter when they’re done.


Festive, huh? And so ’50s…


So OK, I got a little carried away. But trust me, none of these had a chance to get stale. There’s just something about soft white bread that’s eternally compelling. Especially at Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns.

P.S. I notice a lot of you have been asking about preparing these buns ahead. Here’s a couple of suggestions:

To make them a day or so ahead, prepare all the way through a partial bake (parbake). This means bake them, but not till they’re golden, only till they’re set.

How long? Not sure, in your oven. Just keep your eye on them, and when they’re just starting to brown a bit around the edges; and they feel set (not soft and liable to collapse) when you gently poke one, take them out. Cool completely, then wrap in plastic – right in the pan. Store at room temperature. Just before serving, bake in a preheated 350°F oven till golden; it’ll take maybe 10-15 minutes? Brush with butter, and serve.

To prepare more than a few days ahead, shape the buns and let them rise in the pan. Don’t let them over-rise; a bit less than usual would be good. Carefully tent risen rolls with plastic, and freeze. Once frozen, wrap more securely (but not tightly – a plastic bag is good).

The night before you want to serve them, place the pan of buns, still wrapped, in the fridge. Next day, remove from the fridge, and let them warm a bit as you preheat your oven. Bake as directed; they’ll probably need a few more minutes than the recipe says. Brush with butter, and serve.

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...


  1. Amanda

    Those are gorgeous! Saving the recipe to try ;) I have one similar to the second half of your post where you roll three balls and put them together in muffin tins. Yum

  2. Sandy Heinz

    Will I be able to make these rolls without a bread machine or mixer?

    Sandy Yes, you can make these by hand. These are the dirctions from another recipe, but they really list the strps nicely. MIXING
    Combine water, milk and the fat of your choice in a saucepan and heat until lukewarm. Pour into mixing bowl, add honey, salt, yeast, and 2 cups King Arthur Flour.Beat 2 minutes with an electric beater or vigorously by hand. Then, stirring by hand, gradually add enough flour until the dough pulls away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.

    Put dough on a lightly floured board. To knead, fold the far edge of the dough back over on itself toward you. Press into the dough, pushing away with the heels of your hands. Repeat in a continuous rhythm. (After each push, turn the dough about one-fourth of the way around.)
    While kneading, sprinkle only enough flour on the board to avoid sticking. Knead for 7 or 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth, elastic and doesn’t stick to the board.

    Round the dough into a smooth ball. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, turning over to grease the entire surface. Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a warm place. Let dough rise 1-1 1/2 hours or until double in bulk.

    Have fun with it! Mary @ KAF

    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      You can absolutely eliminate the sugar, Lucinda – it’s simply there for flavor. Enjoy – PJH

    2. Lisa

      If sugar is omitted what will the yeast feed on? I thought sugar is a must for bread recipes using yeast.

    3. PJ Hamel , post author

      Lisa, yeast is perfectly capable of turning the starch in flour into the sugar it needs; added sugar is simply “fast food,” a quick meal for the yeast as it gets going. It gives it a boost, but strictly speaking, isn’t necessary; there are many recipes (e.g., baguettes, pizza crust) that don’t include sugar. Hope this helps – PJH

  3. Kathleen

    I will be one of the first to watch the video for rolling nice round balls of dough because I do have some trouble with that part of it but I was wondering why Baker’s Special Dry Milk and fresh milk? The extra boost from both milks helps to ensure a nice tender roll. Mary@ KAF

  4. Lish

    Awesome! I was trying to find a recipe for rolls for Thanksgiving. My mother still does all the turkey, stuffing, gravy and sides, and the only thing she will let me make is bread or rolls. So you have now given me exactly the recipe I needed. Can’t wait!

  5. Pat

    Now I am torn…which recipe to use…Potatoes Rolls (from 2009 Holiday Baking sheet),
    Soft White Dinner Rolls (from the KA Web), these Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns. So many decisions, so little time.

    What is the best way to freeze rolls? I think I would like to make the rolls, put into baking pans, wrap well and freeze…take out the night before, place in refrigerator and bake in the morning. Is that a viable plan?

    I am going to make the cloverleaf rolls just the way Mom did. This is what Thanksgiving is about…old traditions, new traditions and families.

    Thank you,
    Pat Your plan should work beautifully! Enjoy those old traditions, add some new and have fun! Mary @ KAF

  6. Elise

    These look great, and I plan to make them for Thanksgiving. Can I do the first rise, form them, put them in the pans and refridgerate to hold until later in the day – then take them out for the second rise and bake?

    Thanks for ALL your receipes, I love them all! That should work! have fun with them! Mary @ KAF

  7. ,br />Dorothy

    We’re celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday (early, but it’s the best time for out-of-towners), and I “thought” I had my menu down…until I saw this blog post. My original plan was to make the KAF Guaranteed “Soft White Dinner Rolls,” which I’ve made before and really liked. How does this recipe compare in the taste & texture dept.? They seem very similar, and I’m tempted to switch up and go for this recipe. The recipes results in similar rolls. Nice , soft delicious rolls. Try them both and see which one you prefer. It ‘s like peanut butter differnt brands have slightly different tastes. I may prefer one but you prefer another. Viva la difference! Mary @ KAF

  8. Tim

    yay! they look yummy and these are always one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner. Any advice on what to do if they need to be made ahead of time and then re-heated (or finish baking) later? *Nobody* is allowed in my grandma’s kitchen on Thanksgiving day itself…

  9. Madeline

    I make some rolls that are very similiar to these, but to bump up the “white bread” image, I toss in some ground flax seed and toasted wheat germ. I am going to have to try this recipe soon for a change! Thanks for all the great reasons to bake (as if one needs a reason or an excuse!).

  10. Kelly

    These rolls look wonderful. I have having 25 people for Thanksgiving, do I’ll need to at least double this recipe. Do they freeze well? I’d like to do ahead of time – the oven will be too busy for me to bake that many rolls real time. Thanks for the great photos, you make baking so much easier for us “new bread breakers” :) Yes , they do freeze well. mary @ KAF

  11. Jamie AZ

    Mmm… rolls! We’ll be adding these to our holiday menu! On a side note, my kids LOVE King’s Hawaiian Rolls and these look like the same texture/softness, but the KHRs have a sweetness to them. Do you think that’s as simple to achieve as adding a bit more of honey or sugar to these rolls? Thanks!! Yes, that should work. Mary @ KAF

  12. Lauren

    This looks great but I’m cooking for only 2! I’m planning to halve this recipe – is there any reason that this wouldn’t work? That should work. Have fun with it. Mary@ KAF

  13. gayu

    Can these be kneaded by hand – I only have a hand-held mixer and a small food processor. Will the food processor do the job? . They absolutely can be kneaded by hand. I think this would preferable to the food processor. Mary @ KAF .

  14. Celeste

    I learned a nifty shaping technique for the dough into a rectangle, cut into long strips, stack the strips, and cut into 1-wide bundles. Put the bundles on their sides in a muffin tin; they’ll rise into round buns with layers. Pretty cool.

  15. Bill C.

    Is there any benefit to first rising the dough outside the Zo as opposed to in it? Not really. The Zo keeps it at a nice constant temperature. Mary @ KAF

  16. Melinda

    WWKAFD? We’re driving six hours to Thanksgiving on Thursday morning. I’d love to bring these along! Should I (1) bake entirely on Wednesday, (2) freeze rolls and then put in car defrost along the way and then bake at our destination on Thursday, or (3) find some other recipe? I would bake the day before , then reheat. If you were defrosting them in the car and delays happened, they might over rise. Have fun with them. Mary@KAF

  17. Anne

    Well, my beautiful daughter-in-law has taken over the Thanksgiving tradition, and she’ll be entertaining twelve of us this year. In our new tradition, I’m always asked to bring the bread. This went right straight into my recipe box, and I guess I’ll be baking two batches. Do they freeze well? Yes they do. Mary @ KAF

  18. jane

    My parents house is freeezing – any tips for how to get bread to rise in those conditions? Dough will still rise at cool temperature, just give it plenty of time. If you need to speed it up put a rack over a bowl of hot water. Put the bowl of dough on the rack and cover the whole thing with a large bowl, or plastic wrap and a towel. Mary @ KAF

  19. Linda

    Hmm, looks great with a minor issue. I can’t have dairy at the thanksgiving table (kosher)… so, if I use water instead of milk and milk powder, do i need to adjust anything else to bump up the protien… wonder if changing to the bread flour will be enough of a protein boost?

    Thoughts? I would just omit the milk and powder, use water for the amount of milk and not change the flour. mary @ KAF </strong.

  20. Debby

    Oh, these are on my weekend baking list. I just spent money on KAF, and ordered more of your ingredients for improving bread baking. I just make Pioneer Woman’s buttered rosemary rolls in a cast iron skillet– using KAF wheat flour and vital wheat gluten. These are a great way to make white bread… some butter, sea salt and fresh rosemary, and these are going to be a hit! I just love this blog.

    Love the addition of rosemary, Debby – I’ll definitely have to try that! PJH

  21. BakingSpiritsBright

    I had asked for a recipe for crescents that you sent me a link for. I was all set to make these but now I may have to make two kinds of rolls for Thanksgiving. I have an electric oven and I find that if it is cool in the kitchen I put things to rise in the oven with the oven off but the light on. The light gives off just enough warmth to help with rising.
    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  22. June

    I will definitely be trying this recipe- I wish I had seen it at 5am this morning when I was stirring up the dough for rolls for our pre-turkey day dinner at work today. I made my standard roll recipe dough into crescent rolls (very easy to shape- my first try) and I think your recipe would work even better. I like the idea of the potato flour, and I just happen to have some in my flour cache! I love reading the blog here- I always get inspired and learn something. I envy y’all your jobs!


    Hope those rolls ou made this morning came delicious, June – love the idea of pre-Thanksgiving at work. Our Web team usually spends the day before Thanksgiving here baking pies or rolls in the test kitchen – but maybe we should throw a turkey in the oven too, eh? :) PJH

  23. Stewart

    I’m definitely going to make these. I’m in a similar situation as Melinda.

    How would you recommend reheating if I bake the day before? Covered at 300 or something like that?

    Or, could I par-bake and finish at the destination?

    Stewart, tent with foil and reheat for about 5-7 minutes in a 350°F oven. Or better yet, as you say, parbake till set but not golden; and finish baking the next day. PJH

  24. June

    PJ- they were tasty, although I mis-calculated my timing and they were ready an hour too early- we were trying to think of a clever name for dough that rises too swiftly ( I work in a medical clinic) – so far we decided it was “premature tumescence”- :-) We have our turkey day 2 weeks in advance of the REAL day since we don’t want everyone to be totally burned out on turkey and ‘punkin’ pie!
    PJ, you guys rock!

    Uh…. gee, June, you guys have some extra time on your hands there at the clinic? Premature tumescence, huh? I can’t think of anything better! :) PJH

  25. Allie

    I can’t wait to try these. I find that any bread thing I make using my machine for dough comes out really well if it involves potato flakes for some reason. And I have finally found the perfect place to let bread rise–the top of my tropical fish tank with the light on. ;)

    Well, now, THAT’S using your baking imagination, Allie! I’ll have to try that with my fish sometime… PJH

  26. Michael

    Got weights, preferably in metric, for these for those of us who prefer to bake by weight :) Is this recipe in the main site too or just the blog?

    Michael, weights are listed in the recipe itself, which links from the blog – just toggle at the top of the ingredients, switching from “vlume” to “weight.” Sorry, we only had two spots, so no room for metric… PJH

  27. Jackie Julty

    Can you also use the buttermilk powder that KAF flour sells instead of the nonfat powdered milk?

    You can indeed, Jackie – it’ll give the buns a slightly different flavor, and won’t help with the rise, but will add tenderness. In other words, it won’t do the same thing as the Baker’s Special dry milk, but it’ll do other beneficial things… It’s all good. PJH

  28. Taneasha

    I just volunteered to bring the rolls to thanksgiving dinner this year, so this was perfect timing! Those rolls look amazing.

    On a different note, I noticed in one of the pictures that your paddle attachment seems to be shiny. Is that a stainless stell paddle attachment for your Kit… I mean “stand mixer”? If so, perhaps you could be so kind as to point me in the right direction?

    Taneasha, those shiny new paddles come with the new KitchenAids (HA – said it!). I just got a 6-quart/wide bowl, not sure of the model – “Power” something… the attachments are shiny, but not sure if they’re ss, or just shiny aluminum. Anyway, your eyes weren’t deceiving you! PJH

  29. Beth @ 990 Square

    I NEED those butter buns. But noooo way am I waiting for Thanksgiving! I just can’t get over how perfect they look!

    Beth, these are the friendliest rolls – they’re just dying to please you by rising perfectly, browning perfectly…. I really, REALLY like this recipe. It’s pretty foolproof, and YUMMY. As I said – definitely my go-to roll. PJH

  30. Bob

    These look amazing and I can’t wait to try them. I just got a stand mixer and have used it a couple times for bread making, but I’m not sure I have it down yet. When the dough is being kneaded with the dough hook, should it be stuck to the hook? The speed on my mixer goes from 1-12. Dumb question – but is “medium” around 6? Should I set the mixer speed until the dough slaps the sides of the bowl as it’s is spinning? Just not sure at what point I’m kneading the dough and at what point it’s just twirling around the dough hook not doing anything.


    Hi Bob – If there’s an ULTRA-slow first speed, for mixing things, then I’d go up 2 clicks from that. If the first speed is just regularly slow, then click up to the next one. At any rate, you should be on the low end of the middle – maybe speed 3 or 4? The dough slapping the bowl is too fast. And if it sticks on the hook, it might be a bit too stiff; try making your dough a bit “looser” (more liquid). You can always add more flour if necessary. Keep experimenting – you’ll soon find what consistency dough works best. Enjoy – PJH

  31. Ginger

    I made these rolls last night and my husband loved them. For years he’s been asking for rolls “like his Grandmother made.” Since I never had said rolls, I’m going by his description. He said there were close except her’s had a more yeasty taste. I know her rolls were not sourdough. I’ve tried everything I can think of except cake yeast. Do you think cake yeast will give rolls a more yeasty taste? I come across it every once in a while, next time I see it I’m going to buy some and give it a try.

    Yes, I think cake yeast would give them more yeasty flavor. OR try doubling the amount of instant, and just going through the whole process very quickly – they’ll rise like crazy. Worth a try – more yeast, more yeast flavor… PJH

    1. Cecilia Naughton

      For a slightly more yeasty taste, use a starter dough. Take a cup of water, a quarter teaspoon yeast, and enough flour to make a very stiff dough. Cover with plastic, and let sit overnight. Add to the roll dough along with the liquid ingredients and break it up well. Proceed as usual with the recipe. It will rise faster. and the texture will be improved.

    2. PJ Hamel , post author

      Cecilia, yeast breads are usually very happy to “start with a starter” – as you say, it helps the yeast get going, and adds flavor via organic acids and alcohol, as well. Thanks for sharing this tip here – much appreciated! PJH

  32. D. M.

    I just delivered 90 rolls, with butter and homemade peach and apple butter, to a homeless shelter yesterday for their dinner last night — it was our church’s turn. And today I read your blog. Mine were good, but yours sound great!

    May I share a little trick my son-in-law taught me? When kneading bread by hand, as it starts to feel less sticky, take a little pinch of dough and stretch it out while holding it up to a sunny window or a light. If it becomes translucent before it develops any holes in the dough, you’ve kneaded long enough. This really works!

  33. Suzie

    Is there a way to substitute liquid milk for dry and potatoes or potato water for instant flakes in this recipe, and what would be the difference in final roll? I have a time-tested family recipe used and passed on to each generation but it has liquid milk, no potato, and I always added extra yeast. Of course done in cloverleaf, there is just nothing else acceptable–tradition. I would like to have another great roll recipe and this one looks good, want to know though about liquid rather than dry ingredients.

    You may omit the dry milk and replace all of the water with fresh milk that has been scalded and cooled. Fresh boiled potatoes will vary in moisture, determining the exact substitution will need a bit of experimentation. Frank @ KAF.

  34. Tink

    Thanks to you and Bob for stand mixer information. I have used a mixer for some time, but am never sure how liquid the dough should. I have never made rolls before. I look forward to trying butter buns.

  35. Deb

    Hey PJH!
    These rolls are making my mouth water just looking at them! I don’t have the 8 cup measure, but I do have your 2 qt. and 6 qt. rising buckets. Would these work? Which one would you recommend? And how do I determine when the dough is doubled? Could you give me a close guess? I more than likely will use the 6 qt. as i think the 2 qt. would not be big enough. Thanks!!

    Either bucket will work. To make the doubling easier to see, place a piece of masking tape vertically uip the side of the vessel. Mark the level of the dough on the tape with a pencil. Then measure up an equal amount. That is the “doubled” line. Frank @ KAF.

  36. Angie

    Why do you use the stretching method to shape the roll instead of rolling it in your hand, which is what I normally do? The rolls look delicious.

    Either method will work. Use the one you a most comfortable with. Frank @ KAF.

  37. Nancy

    Hi, Just wanted to tell you that my grandma or my aunt taught me to make these rolls by greasing your hands and pinching off a tennis ball, or so, size piece of dough. Then you kind of flatten it in your hand and using one thumb, go to the middle of the dough. With the other hand, start rolling the edges of the dough to the middle, using that thumb to kind of punch the dough into the middle. You are basically kneading the dough in your hand. Continue doing this all around the round until you have a nice ball in your hand. Place seam side down on the pan and let rise.

    You’re right this is really hard to describe with just words and trying to visualize it!!!

  38. Linda Traylor

    Have wanted this sort of perfect soft roll recipe for a very long time and was thrilled to find it in my email this morning. My question: I have both the potato flour and the Baker’s Special dry milk powder; but both are at least 5 years old. They have been stored in an airtight glass jar. Are they still OK or do I finally need to order some more? Or should I try them and see what happens and then order more to replace that which I have?

    If both of these ingredients are still free flowing, then yes, use them. Frank @ KAF.

  39. Jackie

    As another blogger said–just in time. My brother has been doing dinner for past several years after my mother “retired” from cooking. He’s given me the task of rolls. I’m definitely going to make these, but I’ll have to try them out on my husband this weekend. I have a new Zo which I haven’t plugged in yet (lost the directions–just found them). Should I use it through the first rise or just for mixing the dough? Also, the bottom of you 9″ pan looks corrugated. Is that an optical illusion?

    You are gonna love the Zo. Use it for the mix and the first rise. The dough will come out ready to shape. That is no illusion. This is our new 9″ cake pan, made by USA Pans in Crescent Township, PA. They have corrugation for more efficient heat transfer. Frank @ KAF.

  40. Mary T.

    We have always had rolls similar to your Golden Pull-Aparts, with one difference: Instead of the 4Tbsp. butter melted and poured over baked rolls, we makw a powdered sugar, rum and cream frosting to spread over baked rolls. Can this change work for your recipe?

    That sounds good to me mary. I’d give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

  41. Karen

    Oh boy… Looks like I need to try these! I just made my first rolls the other day using my Master Dough (Artisan Bread in 5) & they turned out delish. These, however, look so soft and yummy. Perfect for so many meals! I think I might just have to “test” this recipe out before turkey day!! Thanks for sharing with us!

  42. sharon q

    You explained it so clearly, so beautifully. Now, that’s the way recipes should be written. It’s like you read everyone’s minds or anticipated their questions.
    You’re absolutely right, shaping dough into tiny balls is so miserable to explain. I’ve been frustrated more than once trying to create perfect shapes.
    King Arthur Flour – you’re the best! Too bad you’re in Vermont, so far from Montreal, but I just might want to drop by when the weather gets warmer. Molly of KAF also always comments on my blog; that’s very encouraging of her!

  43. Ruth

    I can’t wait to try these rolls. I am so crazy about this website and the recipes. I have sourdough bread on it’s final rise this very moment.

  44. Lani

    Can mashed potatoes be subbed for the potato flakes?

    yes, you could make this alteration. But be aware that fresh boiled potatoes will have a variable moisture content. You will need to experiment to determine the correct amount. Frank @ KAF.

  45. Gert Martel

    My mother lived in upstate NY where she was famous for her dinner rolls. Your recipe is very similar, except she always added 2 eggs which gives them a nice golden color. My mother made these rolls until she was 93 years old. The holidays wouldn’t be the same without them. My children and grandchildren always request them and I love making them.

  46. Elizabeth

    I baked rolls yesterday using the pan roll recipe you used in July ’09 with the kids in the kitchen. The recipe isn’t listed in “recipes” … After going through the Archives I finally found it “Monkeying around Bread”… will you please add this to recipe listing..? Thanks.. Of course I omitted the cinnamon/sugar…. makes a great 8″ pan of rolls for two or three … :-)

    Thanks for the info. – should be all set now. Glad you enjoy them! PJH

  47. Joe Beene

    I heat a cup of water in the microwave for three minutes, then put the uncovered dough, in a lightly oiled pan, in the microwave, leaving the cup of water there, to let it rise. It rises much more quickly this way than on a counter top. Is there a down side to this rising process? It always seems to work for me.

    It works for me as well Joe. My kitchen hovers around 50 degree in the winter, so this method is a “can’t live without” trick. Frank @ KAF.

  48. Lee

    These look lovely. Very buxom. ;) I do have to put in a plug for the Sweet Potato Sandwich Rolls too. Last night I made them into pull-apart rolls like these pictured here and they were scrumptious! The kids begged to have them for breakfast the next day, too. I’m thinking they’d make great mini turkey sandwiches with a little cranberry sauce. Which reminds me – you all have a wonderful stuffing-flavored sandwich loaf that would be great to showcase sometime soon too! :) :)

    Lee, as one of our other readers recently commented: So many recipes, so little time… I think the sweet potato rolls AND the butter buns, in one bread basket, would look gorgeous. And the sandwich loaf is definitely great for turkey sandwiches, like the SP rolls. I personally love just plain turkey, salt, coarse black pepper, and LOTS of mayo on a soft white dinner roll. Talk about childhood memories – it’s what my grandmother would always send home with us in the car, the day after Thanksgiving. PJH

  49. Jackie

    Can I use instant potato flakes instead of potato flour? Would I need to put them in the food processor or blender to cut them finer?

    Jackie, go ahead and use them in the amount indicated in the recipe. No need to put them through the food processor first. PJH

  50. Betty

    I just made your Soft White Dinner rolls and loved the “yeasty” taste they had, similar to what my grandmother use to make. (I used your instand yeast, and powdered milk). They were a little dense, although that was not a bad thing, and I wondered if these golden pull-apart butter buns were lighter…also do they have that nice yeast taste the soft white dinner rolls have? Thank you. I am making rolls for 30 people for Thanksgiving and appreciate all the feedback you have on your web site.

    The two recipes are very similar, Betty. I believe the pull-apart buns might be a tad less dense/moist, though a lot really depends on how long you let them rise, and especially on how long you let them bake. I can’t comment on whether they have the same yeasty taste, as that’s a matter of your palate vs. mine; neither one tastes particularly yeasty to me… Why not do a practice run with the pull-apart buns this weekend, then decide which recipe to make for Thanksgiving? Good luck – PJH

  51. billi

    These look absolutely ‘to die for!’ Wanted to tell ‘sharon q’ that if she thinks Montreal to VT is far, she should try from OR to VT! I think you need to establish a second KA store in the Pacific Northwest somewhere (hopefully not IN a huge town, but rather like your storein Norwich — please?

    I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with you all last month — I decided I just couldn’t come to the NE without stopping by, though I could mostly ‘drool,’ as the car was quite loaded already with 3 of us and luggage for 5 weeks! Thanks for a great memory!

    And thanks for all the great recipes you share with all of us too!
    HI Billi,
    Glad you got a chance to visit us. I spent 10 days in Oregon in 1989 as a college graduation gift, and it was just beautiful. I still remember the brunch at the Columbia River Gorge Inn very fondly. Come again soon! ~ MaryJane

  52. Sue E. Conrad

    Oh, P.J., you’ve done it once again……these rolls look oh-so-yummy!!! Question – could the dough be shaped into crescent rolls (I’m thinking yes)? I’d love to make these for T-day (we’re doing our annual trip to Daytona Beach to share the day with relatives of my husband), BUT I’m the pie baker for the group – apple, pumpkin, pecan, and most importantly, mincemeat. Fortunately, one of our Vermont daughters found a supply of Grandmother’s mincemeat in a little speciality store in Waterbury…….YAY!!! Should be arriving in FL on Monday, then I can start the holiday baking ball rolling.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and the rest of the KAF folks.

    Sure, Sue – the dough is very nice wot work with, so shape it however you like. Glad your daughter was able to find Grandmother’s for you – we still have it in our supermarket here. I’ve never tried it, but everyone raves over it – so maybe this will be the year! Thanks for your good wishes, and Happy Thanksgiving to you, too – may your pie crusts all be flakey! PJH

  53. AmandaLP

    Yum! This was really good! Of course, I have crappy measuring spoons and didnt realize I was using a half teaspoon measure, so my ingredients were mixed weirdly. I loved how my KA mixer kneaded the dough. I overproofed the rolls (about two hours instead of 60-90 minutes), so they only took 30 minutes to rise the second time.

    Not quite “traditional,” though traditional at my grandmothers house were the parcooked rolls from the supermarket, but very close. Yum!

  54. Alyce

    Can I freeze the rolls prior to baking, take them out the night before and put in the frig, and let them rise in the afternoon and then bake right before T-day dinner? Thanks for such a great blog.

    Sure, Alyce – please read the P.S. at the end of the blog, it tells all about freezing/thawing baking. Enjoy – PJH

  55. Carol Menier

    I found it interesting that you knead this dough for 7 minutes in a big mixer (Kitchen Aid, I assume) and yet the direction for kneading BY HAND that someone requested also say to knead for 7 to 8 minutes. Wouldn’t this be totally OVERKNEADED if you did it for 7 minutes in a heavy-duty mixer? I often have problems with my breads not having good oven spring or seeming to “deflate” or “sink” a bit after I take them out of the oven. I’ve called your test kitchen about this a couple different times, and they always tell me a likely problem is that I’m overkneading the dough in my Kitchen Aid and doing something to the gluten and I should only knead for about 3 or 4 minutes tops. Can you please comment? This just seems like such a long time to knead if you’re using a big mixer.

    I LOVE your blog, have learned so much, and gotten wonderful recipes! Thanks so much!

    Carol, I knead at very slow speed in the KitchenAid; and I think if I were to knead by hand, it would be for about 10 minutes. You could probably knead a much shorter time at medium speed. You can also barely knead at all, and let the dough rise longer; gluten develops all on its own as dough ferments. There are just so many different ways to approach the kneading/rising process, it’s best to figure our your own favorite method. To me, the lack of oven spring and sinking you mention sounds like too much rising, rather than too much kneading. Try putting the bread in the oven when it’s about 3/4 of the way to where you think it should be, and see if that helps, OK? PJH

  56. Leslie

    Do you have to use potato flour? Can you make these without the potato flour?

    Sure, Leslie, you can use instant potato flakes as indicated; or just leave them out. The rolls won’t be as moist/tender, but will still be good. Another option is using potato water (water in which potatoes have been boiled, cooled to lukewarm) for the water in the recipe. PJH

  57. Kara

    We make rolls very similar to these every year for Thanksgiving. Actually we have made them every year I can remember. We are not allowed to show up without them!! I’m glad others can enjoy such fabulous rolls too now!

  58. Theresa, Homosassa, FL

    These make my mouth water, when we were up north in PA and the house seemed chilly, I sometimes resorted to raising my bread on a heatpad set on low. Surprising what we do to make a good yeast bread!!
    May all your homes be filled with family and good food, Blessing to all!!!
    Can’t bake without KA!

  59. Suzanne

    Can this recipe be used in a breadmaker?

    Sure, Suzanne – use the dough setting to make the dough through its first rise – then take it out and shape and bake as directed. Enjoy – PJH

  60. Jana

    Mmm just printed off this recipe for the test run before T day… where are the sweet potato buns recipe they sound perfect to mix and match with these. Thanks everyone for the great ideas and KAF for the fav bread recipes!

    Here you go, Jana, Sweet Potato Sandwich Rolls, perfect for turkey sandwiches. Enjoy – PJH

  61. Marilyn Casey

    These were good rolls. I should have baked them longer, past the 24 minutes. Since I melted too much butter, I had melted butter to brush on the inside. Could I use KAF White Whole Wheat flour for half of the white flour? Thank you.

    Sure, half white wheat is a great substitute, and won’t lower their fluffiness quotient substantially – go for it, Marilyn! PJH

  62. Julie

    I just made these as a “practice” for Thanksgiving (I usually don’t try untested recipes in front of guests). I thought they needed a bit more salt. For the real day, I’ll add more.

    Salt is very personal, Julie – we all like different levels. Additional salt in the dough may slow its rise, however, so keep that in mind for your next batch. Enjoy – PJH

  63. BakingSpiritsBright

    I am making two batches of these as we speak. I have one in my bread machine on dough cycle and the other I made using my stand mixer and dough hook, that batch is now in the oven with the oven off but the light on in a large mixing bowl covered with a tea towel. I didn’t think my bread machine could handle a double batch. So I am curiouse to see what differences there may be as we go through the rise stage. When I first mixed everything together it seemed a little stiff and dry but by the time it finished kneading it looked and felt great. I plan on making several different shapes and I plan on freezing some for turkey day. I can’t wait!

  64. P.B.

    Can you substitute non-dairy coffee creamer for the dry milk powder? Also, these look like they would make really good hot dog or hamburger buns (shaped a little larger, of course).

    They would definitely make good hotdog or hamburg buns. I’m not sure about the non-dairy creamer – as with anything kinda off the wall, give it a shot and let us know – won’t give you the rise the Baker’s Special does, but it’ll probably add some tenderness. PJH

  65. Anna Mae

    Thank you so much for this recipe!!! I made these rolls today as a test for Thanksgiving. Well, talk about a thumbs up from my family. Wow!
    And I see by another posting, I can do most of the work the day before, refridgerate, then do the last rising on Turkey day and bake. How wonderful is that?
    Thanks again,

    Glad they were a hit with your family, Anna Mae – PJH

  66. sophia

    these sound so great, i want to try it out but is the potato flour called for same thing as potato starch? thanks!

    Not the same, Sophia, but go ahead and substitute – it should work out just fine. Enjoy – PJH

  67. Lauren

    Just made these last night for my husband (I halved the recipe). They were outstanding! The texture was perfect. Thanks for another great recipe!

  68. GiovanniSr

    First a comment-made these yesterday afternoon-they’re outrageous!! even more interesting with a thin slice of prosciutto Di Palma, a smear of French mustard plus a glass of Barolo–that was dinner!!!
    Second, a few questions-what would you quess the highest temperature you would be able to safely raise dough in? (I have several ovens) I also have used the

    Giovanni, you really don’t want to let dough rise in a hot place. it prefers room temperature or, at best, warm – optimum is probably 76°F-78°F. If you HAVE to put the dough somewhere hot, understand it’ll rise quickly, and smell/taste quite yeasty, almost unpleasantly so. I wouldn’t go over 100°F, certainly… PJH

  69. Carol

    I was so exceited to try this recipe and it failed me. There are very few from this site that do. I used all fresh ingredients. I think my issue is that there was not enough water and it was not hot enough. In the past when I mix all the dry ingredients including the yeast I need to use pretty warm water/milk. I used the suggestion that you use very warm water and add it to the milk. I think this was my downfall. I do not think the liquid was warm enough. The rolls rose very little. I froze them to bake later and when I did this the rolls deflated. Hum? I went back to my old standby recipe which is similar to this one but I used very warm water and I baked the rolls first and froze them. Jus thought you should know.

  70. Sara in SE MI

    I tried these out last night. Yum. Kids loved them and 2 pans didn’t last very long. I thought my dough was drier than what your photos showed but it worked up very well. I feel sorry for the poor folks who still buy the brown and serve rolls. They don’t know what they are missing and these are so easy too. Grandma would be proud!


  71. Barb

    Made these yesterday as a test run. The dough was a little dry so I added about another ounce or so of water. Probably b/c I dipped the measuring cup & forgot to fluff up the canister. There are only 2 left & the kids are fighting over them, so these will on the Thanksgiving table. I like the prebake option & will do that. Mine seem to be a little bigger than yours, as they touched each other in the pan even before rising, but they rose nicely & were yummy.
    FYI, I have the new spiral dough hook on my mixer, and I find that it does the kneading on some breads a minute or two less than the traditional C hook. I never go over speed 2 on it. Do you find the spiral works a little faster?
    I don’t have any experience with a spiral just the C hook, but make sure you are not over mixing the dough. Molly @ KAF

  72. Ruth Shirk

    I just wanted to say what an outstanding job the photographer did with this photo shoot.
    Hi Ruth,
    PJ takes her own photos, and our beloved Brenda takes the shots for the recipes. Glad you enjoy them. ~ MaryJane

    Thanks, Ruth – just a regular little Canon pocket digital camera, and a table set in the front hallway under a window. This time of year it’s a challenge – only get about 2 hours of partial sun a day, so I have to time things just right! PJH

  73. Suzanne

    I made these rolls today and I thought, “should I halve the recipe since it’s just the four of us?” But I didn’t and am so glad! These are THE BEST rolls I have ever had. Better than any restaurant, better than any bakery. I asked my girls if I should make them for Thanksgiving and my oldest said, “you should make them every day.” Thank you so much for the recipe!!

    Suzanne, you do my heart good! Thank you so much – now I wish I had one of those rolls right now… I’ll be making a double batch for Thanksgiving, to take to my brother-in-law’s, because my 89-year-old mother-in-law demands them! PJH

  74. hector buenafama

    How important is the potato flour ?. How about if I avoid it ?. Thanks.


    Danny, potato flour helps give these rolls their soft, moist texture. Sure, leave it out; they won’t be quite the same but still quite delicious. PJH

  75. Linda

    Help! Help me figure out what went wrong. I followed the instructions and the pictures almost exactly only adding a rest (autolyse) after mixing together all the ingredients. Did each step by hand, no mixer or breadmaker. Let first rise go to double (Took a long time, more than two hours). Collapsed and formed one batch of eight rolls by weight for round pan and another for extra large muffin tin, also by weight. Baked in 350 degree oven measured with an oven thermometer. It took 28 minutes for the rolls to look anywhere near golden. Took them out, generously brushed with butter and tasted. TASTELESS! Let them cool and warmed one up about six hours later in the morning. Still tasteless. Tried one cold after another six hours. A bit more taste.

    I’d like to make these for Thanksgiving since my grandchildren won’t even taste anything that looks like whole wheat, I picked these for them.

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    So sorry this recipe did not work for you. It’s the perfect opportunity to problem solve with one of our bakers. Call our Baker’s Hotline at 802-649-3717 – we’ll be glad to trouble shoot this in time for the upcoming holiday! Irene @ KAF

  76. Sheryl

    I made these rolls as a test last night, and while they were very tasty, they were not as soft as I would have liked as I only have 9 inch round pans. I also thought they were a little small for my husband’s hungry family. Could I increase the recipe by 50% and make the same amount of rolls and bake in my 9 inch pans? I would rather not add more pans to my ever growing collection. Or do you think 50% might be too much? Thanks for a great web site! That should work. You would be using about 3 ounces per roll as opposed to PJ’s 2 ounces per roll.That would make a good sized roll and 8 should fit well in your 9″ pans. I wouldn’t increase the yeast, but leave that the same. Have fun with it! Mary @ KAF

  77. Karen

    If I parbake them today, (I didn’t read the whole blog carefully!) can I refrigerate them until Wednesday, or do I need to freeze them? Thanks!

    For a 5 day “lay over” the freezer is the better option. Frank @ KAF.

  78. Carol

    I also just have 9″ pans and they are only about 1 1/2″ deep and your pans looked at least 2″……the rolls look like they rise quite high and don’t want them to go over the pan…..any suggestions??

    Carol, I THINK 9″ x 1 1/2″ would be OK, since 8″ x 2″ is fine. If you’re worried, divide the dough in half, then take a bit from each half and bake it separately (cloverleafs?) in a muffin tin. PJH

  79. Angie Archdeacon

    I gave these rolls a trial run before Thanksgiving. They turned out wonderful. I did the par bake and could not believe how good they were even 2 days later. This is a keeper. Thanks to King Arthur and your Blog.

    Our pleasure, Angie – PJH

  80. MomintheKitchen

    Can I say that this recipe and pictures put tears in my eyes? These are the rolls that the “good old cafeteria ladies” used to make! Oh for memories of the good old days- Thank you so much! I have been trying to get these right for years and you hit it right on the head-I was missing the dry milk!

    Misty-aka “MomintheKitchen”

    And let’s hear it for the “good old cafeteria ladies,” who generated so many of our food memories… Thanks for sharing, Misty – PJH

  81. Bryan

    Can the dough be made, shaped, and frozen several days early, then baked?

    Yes, Bryan, let rise in the pan, then freeze. Let thaw in the fridge overnight before baking. Enjoy – PJH

  82. Shiyiya

    I have been informed that my grandmother wants me to be in charge of making bread things this year. (dinner rolls at thanksgiving are normally from the store – I’m only eighteen, so I haven’t really had a ‘this is what i bring to thanksgiving’ before.)

    My response was: “Awesome! I have an excuse to make those rolls that were on the KAF blog!”

    Have to remember to buy more flour first though…. Used up the last this morning making biscuits and didn’t have another bag like I thought I did!

    Shiyiya, THANK YOU for carrying on the bread tradition for your family! And for using King Arthur Flour. I hope your rolls (and everything else about Thanksgiving) turn out great – PJH

  83. Shiyiya

    We only have soy milk in the house to cook with (though we do have dry milk powder so that’s no problem). Is there a point in subbing soy milk for the milk, or should I just use water instead?

    Sure, sub soy milk – while it won’t help with the rise, it’ll add some fat, which will make the buns tender. PJH

  84. Trish

    P.J.: I tried a trial run of these yesterday with not such great results. I have been baking bread for about 3 years and I decided that I either under-kneaded (I use a 6 Qt. KA with the spiral dough hook) or the yeast was old. I took out new yeast I just bought and had in the fridge and tried again this morning. WOW! What a difference. They had doubled in about 40 minutes. Also regarding your method of making the rolls – I get it! Mine are rising in the pan right now and they look just like the picture. I really appreciated your step by step tutorial regarding shaping. I’ll update after I’ve baked. These will be served Thanksgiving day. Thanks as always – Trish

    Trish, Im so glad the SECOND time was the charm… Supermarket yeast does tend to be not as fresh as it might be, so kudos to you for guessing correctly what the issue was. PJH

  85. Laurie

    Hmm, what did I do wrong? My rolls came out more like soft pretzels than like rolls. They were very dense and took a very long time to brown. The bottoms got very dark brown…but the tops just barely had a brown tint. The dough ball seemed to double on the first rise, but then the rolls did not plump up enough to really touch each other. The rise times were just about an hour each.

    Hi Laurie – Did you use exactly the ingredients in the recipe, including King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and SAF instant yeast? If so, I’m kind of mystified; it sounds like the yeast was pooping out on you too early. Also sounds like you’ve got a problem with your oven, if the bottoms burned and the tops didn’t brown – unless you had them on the very bottom rack, which probably isn’t the best choice. For more info., please call our Baker’s Hotline, 802-649-3717 – they can help talk you through it. PJH

  86. Debby

    Well, I made these on Friday night and they turned out like hockey pucks…BUT, it’s my fault. I rushed the proofing (with SAF Yeast). I also think I dumped too much flour in…anyway, they were more like hard biscuits. Today, I used 3 cups of flour and patiently did the 90 minute proof. I also used your dough enhancers– dry milk powder, roll improver stuff (forgot the name) and a little bit of vital wheat gluten– 1 tsp. Whoa! They came out BIG and fluffy and buttery– these are the bomb! I wish I could attach my photos, but it’ll be on my blog in the next day or two. I usually make whole wheat rolls, but these are officially my Thanksgiving rolls. Thanks so much!

    Debby, I’m glad you gave these another try – good show! They are indeed da bomb…. thanks for sharing your success. PJH

  87. Dave

    Just a note to say that I made my second batch today (which were greedily consumed by our friends at a pre-Thanksgiving feast).

    I tried the suggestion about increasing by 50% since I have 9″ pans, and it worked well, the only issue being that the first rise took well over 90 minutes. I did keep the yeast at 2 teaspoons, so that might have been part of the issue. The second rise seemed normal, but I did it in a warm oven.

    Regardless, they came out great and I’m looking forward to making them again on Thursday :)

  88. William

    I have been looking for a new role for Thanksgiving…. These pull apart Butter Buns look so good….. Good to read your blog and some of test problems. I have all new KAF ingredients to work with…. After baking for 25 years I have made most of the above mistakes already….. like old Yeast….My first use with KAF instant yeast will be put to the test.

    Wish me well…..


    Happy Baking! You’ll love the ease and time savings of instant yeast! Irene @ KAF

  89. Alvara

    I tried the recipe for the rolls tonight. When they had risen in the pans, I put them in the freezer until Wednesday night. I will bake them on Thanksgiving when the turkey is cooling. Thanks so much for the pictures with the directions. Mine actually look like yours and you explained how to shape the rolls great. It was easy.
    Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving. (and great turkey sandwiches the next day on the stuffing bread)

    Alvara, you reminded me I need to make stuffing bread – thanks! And happy Thanksgiving – PJH

  90. Phyllis Lauber

    This is the second bread I’ve made in my life (after making the snuggle loaves) and it is so easy (I’ve already made two batches in one weekend)! Thank you for giving me the inspiration and recipes that really work. My question about parbaking is that those buxom buns of mine have become wrinkled and shrunken after they’ve cooled off. It that what they should look like or I did take them out too early?

    Hopefully your par bake was for at least 75% or 3/4 of the time suggested in the recipe. Wrinkled crust is usually a shaping thing, so be sure you shape according to the recipe. Irene @ KAF

  91. Phyllis Lauber

    Thank you for the tip about shaping, this second batch my four year-old wanted to help so I think that would contribute to the wrinkles.

  92. Susan

    I’m going to try these–and am learning a lot from the comments so far! Will this recipe double easily?

    Yup, Susan, so long as you have a big enough mixer and can work fairly fast; don’t want the first rolls over-rsiing while you’re still laboring over shaping the last ones. Or bake in shifts. I made 64 rolls (4 batches) concurrently today, using four bread machines, eight 8″ pans, and two ovens. But then, I have an entire test kitchen to play in – which was pretty deserted today, given people were cutting out early… Good luck, and Happy T-giving! PJH

  93. Heather

    I just noticed that in the actual recipe for these rolls (not the blog entry), there’s a little sidebar that gives a “baker’s tip” about using hot tap water and cold milk to make lukewarm liquid. While this sounds like a great idea, people should be aware that consuming water from the hot tap isn’t advised, especially if you’ve got pipes installed before the late 1980s — hot water can leach out lead from the pipe solder. To be safe, it’s almost always best to start with cold water and heat it on the stove instead. Hope you don’t mind the PSA, but since I (and probably many of your other readers) bake at home because it’s healthier than buying supermarket goods, I’m particularly sensitive to health concerns like this.

    Thanks for your advice, Heather – PJH


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