Instructions

  1. To make the dough: Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and yeast.

  2. Cut the cold butter into pats; add half to the flour mixture and mix until the butter is in pea-sized bits. Add the ricotta and mix until the dough comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining butter and mix briefly, until it's incorporated but remains in pea-sized chunks.

  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Pat it flat and fold it over on itself (a bench knife or bowl scraper helps) until it comes together. 

  4. Sprinkle with flour and roll the dough into a 10" x 16" rectangle. Starting with one of the short ends, fold the dough in thirds like a business letter. Rotate the dough 90° and turn it over. Dust with flour and roll out once more, folding in thirds once again. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half separately, and chill for at least 30 minutes, or as long as overnight.

  5. To shape: Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll into a 9" x 18" rectangle with a short side facing you. Cut the dough in half across the equator, then into 3" vertical strips to make six rectangles. Cut each rectangle diagonally to make two long triangles. With the triangle’s short base facing you, roll each piece of dough into a spiral toward the tip. Place the 12 rolls, tip side down, on the prepared baking sheet and bend into a crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 24 rolls.

  6. Cover the pans with greased plastic and let the rolls rest for 3 to 4 hours. They won’t rise noticeably; that’s fine. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

  7. Uncover the rolls and brush all over with the beaten egg topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm, or cool to room temperature and then wrap and store.

  8. Store any leftovers tightly wrapped at room temperature. To reheat, place the unwrapped rolls on a pan, tent lightly with aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until the rolls are hot.

Tips from our Bakers

  • In the blog linked to this recipe, PJ Hamel demonstrates a different method of rolling and shaping, by rolling circles of dough, then cutting it in to wedges before rolling into crescents. Either method makes beautiful, delicious, buttery rolls. 

  • Can you make these with whole wheat flour? Well, maybe a bit; say, 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup whole wheat substituted for the same amount of all-purpose flour. Any more than that, we fear the rolls would lose their wonderful texture. But experiment with a higher percentage of whole wheat, if you like; taste is always personal.
  • The dough for these rolls freezes well for up to 1 month. You may also choose to shape the rolls, and immediately wrap and freeze them. When you're ready to bake, let the dough or rolls thaw in the refrigerator overnight, covered, before using. Then let them warm to room temperature before baking.
  • Don't want to use ricotta cheese? Substitute 1 cup sour cream for the 1 1/2 cups ricotta. Be aware sour cream will lend your rolls a tangy, sourdough-like flavor different than that of a classic crescent roll.