One of the English expressions that puzzles me the most is “easy as pie.”  That’s because I don’t see anything easy about making the dough,  rolling it out, and mastering the finishing touches that result in a gorgeous pie.  But, I promise  that this bread is  a cinch to make, and much, much easier than pie!  It quickly comes together,  so you can wake up on a sunny Sunday morning and make this bread in time for  brunch.

(adapted from The Fresh Loaf Forum)

Makes 12 to 18 rolls, depending on size

6 to 6 1/2 cups (750 grams) bread  flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 envelope (2 1/2 teaspoons)  instant yeast
1 tablespoon warm water
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 5 minutes.

Pour the yeast, buttermilk, and honey into the flour mixture and mix to form a shaggy mass. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then do a 10-20 seconds kneading.  Cover the dough with plastic film, and let it rest for 15 minutes. Repeat the minimal kneading two more times, at 30 and 45 minutes, then let the dough rise for another 45 minutes undisturbed or until almost doubled in size (total bulk fermentation will be  about 90 minutes).

Divide the dough into 12 to 18 pieces. 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 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. I used sesame seeds.

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


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  I didn’t have a springform pan, and my smaller round cake pan could only fit 11 of the dough balls.   So, I shaped the leftover dough as a small loaf and baked it separately.


As I munched on these soft, springy rolls I kept thinking about Thanksgiving dinner :  they are perfect for that occasion, so keep them in mind. Thanksgiving is such a busy cooking day, and this recipe is so easy  that it will be something to give thanks for.  😉

Something strange and unexpected happened to the individual loaf I baked.  I sliced it, then placed on the kitchen counter to wrap in plastic and freeze.  But,  I forgot about it for a couple of hours and when I went to search for it, it was gone!   My beloved husband was not around, and one of the dogs is too short to reach the counter, which left two possibilities:

1. I have a double-personality disorder and the “other me” has no self-control.

2. The “other dog” knows how to get the most of those long skinny legs.

I guess we know which one it was (sigh).

I am sending this to Susan’s Yeastspotting

ONE YEAR AGO:  Grilled Lettuce Salad   (you’ve got to try it!)

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21 thoughts on “BUTTERMILK CLUSTER

  1. LOL! “Easy as pie” is rather puzzling. Perhaps it refers to eating pie. That’s certainly easy for me. 😉 Actually I’d prefer baking a pie to baking bread any day of the week (not that I don’t love bread). I love making pies – especially in the fall. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to master and enjoy making bread one of these days too. I may start with this recipe this weekend!


    • Well, maybe we can try to help each other – I am a little terrified of pies, I do them, but don’t feel that comfortable.

      Phil is much better than me, so usually I make the dough, and he helps me roll it out and does the finishing touches, so that the pie doesn’t look like something the cat dragged inside the house. 🙂


      • LOL! I would agree that rolling the crust out is intense. I’ve found that working with an all shortening crust has made my life a lot easier. It’s still intimidating, but it has a higher success rate than my half butter, half shortening crusts did. Either that, or I’m just getting better at it. 😉 For me pie making is definitely a solitary process though. Needs all of my concentration! I’m going to try out the Buttermilk Cluster this weekend! Wish me luck. 😉


  2. Yumm… reminds me of Challah bread without the eggs…
    Our golden retriever eats everything in sight (literally!) so I’m going with the dog theory =)


    • Oh, you have a golden retriever! I love those dogs, our new neighbor in LA has a huge one, and finally Oscar is warming up to him, he was too afraid in the beginning. Chief, the Jack Russell, loves any dogs, so they’ve been playing quite a bit. Our neighbor mentioned that the dog is absolutely unruly around anything edible… 😉


  3. I think I might make these later today! I have some buttermilk in the fridge and I don’t know what it was bought for. I will take your blogpost as a sign 😉 I think ChefMom is right, easy as pie, means easy eating – I always find pies a bit of a challenge too xx


  4. easy as pie, pies are not so easy…eu prefiro fazer pães até faço tortas mas são trabalhosas. adorei este pão. é um pena que aqui buttermilk só o caseiro, não fica a mesma coisa mas engana. bjs


  5. Great looking bread, Sally, as usual!

    this one seems more doable to me, I am tempted to go for it, I even have some buttermilk in the fridge. Will let you know if I get the courage to do it


  6. Made it last night – I discovered on measuring that commercial buttermilk in the UK comes in little cartons that are exactly one cup! So I magically had the right quantity of buttermilk. I weighed the contents of one and it was 250 grams. I wonder if American buttermilk is the same as the stuff we get here? It made a very firm dough, but looks pretty. I am going to warm some up and get the coffee on for a late breakfast. I also visited the Fresh Loaf thread, it’s obviously a very popular bread there. I guess because it looks so pretty. Anyway off to breakfast now and thanks again! I saved two spoonfuls of the buttermilk, added it to 500 g of milk, put it in the heated yoghurt maker gadget and it has turned to yoghurt this morning. I wonder what the difference is between the two, type of bacteria maybe? xx Joanna I don’t know if you can see the pic, trying out mobile me https://www.me.com/gallery/#100029/IMG_0156


  7. Well I attempted these today. I think I am just brain blocked or something when it comes to bread. Actually I think I’m doing something wrong with the yeast. I had the same problem that I do when I try my mom’s rolls – the bread doesn’t rise properly. The rolls ended up tasting good, but were dense and I’m guessing not the right consistency. Am I killing the yeast do you think? Going to redeem myself by making a pie crust tomorrow. LOL.


  8. Pingback: Buttermilk Cluster with love to Sally | Zeb Bakes

  9. Hi Sally. I’ve lurked over here quite a few times but haven’t commented before. This looks lovely. I’m finding any baking with yogurt or buttermilk in it is very agreeable at the moment! Have you tried a sourdough version of the same bread?
    I’ll definitely be playing with this one.


  10. Pingback: Shoo Fly Shoo | Eat, Play, Love

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