Recipe summary

Hands-on time:
20 mins. to 30 mins.
Baking time:
22 mins. to 25 mins.
Total time:
3 hrs 42 mins. to 4 hrs 55 mins.
Yield:
16 buns
When you think sourdough bread, you probably think an artisan loaf, one with a thick, chewy crust and coarse interior. These soft dinner rolls are at the opposite end of the texture spectrum. Buttery spirals with a pleasingly mild sourdough tang, they're soft on the inside, but sport a wonderfully crisp crust — think crescent roll. And, like a crescent roll, they're fun to unravel and enjoy bit by buttery bit!
Volume Ounces Grams

Dough

Topping

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika, optional

Directions

  1. 1) Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.
  2. 2) Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it's just about doubled in bulk.
  3. 3) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
  4. 4) Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle approximately 12" x 16". Put 2 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl, and add the paprika, if desired; it's there for color, and accentuates the buns' swirl, but omit it if you wish. Spread the dough with the melted butter.
  5. 5) Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a log.
  6. 6) Cut the log in 1" slices, using a sharp knife, or a piece of dental floss looped between your fingers.
  7. 7) Lightly grease two 8" or 9" round cake pans. Arrange 8 buns in each pan.
  8. 8) Cover the pans, and let the buns rise for 60 minutes, until they're noticeably puffy. Don't let these buns rise too long; you want them to have enough rising power left to expand nicely in the oven. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350F.
  9. 9) Uncover the pans, and brush each bun with some of the remaining melted butter.
  10. 10) Bake the buns for 22 to 25 minutes; they'll color only slightly.
  11. 11) Remove the buns from the oven, and turn them out of the pan onto a rack. Brush with any remaining melted butter. Serve hot or warm. To reheat, place the buns on a baking sheet, tent lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350F oven.
  12. 12) Wrap any leftover buns airtight, and store at room temperature for several days. For longer storage, wrap airtight and freeze.
  13. Yield: 16 buns.

Tips from our bakers

  • You'll notice these buns don't brown as deeply as most dinner rolls — how come? Typically long rising, sourdough affects browning by changing the pH of the bun, as well as consuming the sugar that would otherwise caramelize (brown) on the bun's surface.