Kindred Spirit Milk Rolls

This recipe is adapted from one I saw in a cooking magazine, a request for the recipe from Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, NC, USA. It sat in my pile of “things to make” for months before I managed to put it together, and I was surprised by how straight-forward it was. 

I added some of my sourdough starter as I love the complex flavours it adds to bread products, but the recipe is designed to work just fine without it. I will forewarn you though – you might be tempted to sample these easy-to-tear rolls while they are still warm, so count a few extra if you plan to serve them to guests!

Makes 8-10 large rolls, 12 split-top buns, 2 – 9 x 5 loaves – or any combination of those (I got 5 rolls and 1 loaf out of my efforts)

5-1/3 cups bread flour, divided

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup cream (10%, 18% or 33% will work – the higher the fat, the richer your rolls will be)

OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup sourdough starter

1/3 cup amber honey

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons kosher salt

3 large eggs (2 for dough, 1 for wash – you will have some left over from the wash)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

non-stick vegetable oil spray

flaky sea salt for sprinkling



Cook 1/3 cup flour with 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly until a thick paste forms (like a roux, but not that thick). Remove pan from heat. Add buttermilk, cream and honey and stir until honey dissolves.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining 5 cups flour (I used 4 cups white and 1 cup einkorn flour; this gave a slightly nutty flavour to the rolls. Spelt would work well too.) Stir in yeast and salt.

Transfer mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add half of dry ingredients and 1 egg and blend at medium speed until dough comes together. Use a spatula to gather any flour or sticky bits from the bottom of the bowl and turn to ensure a full mix. Then add the other half of the dry ingredients and the second egg. Blend at medium to medium high speed until smooth.

Cut butter in pieces and add a couple at a time to the dough, ensuring they are well incorporated before adding more. The dough should be shiny, elastic and smooth; about 5 minutes of mixing.

Coat a large bowl with non-stick spray and turn the dough into it, rolling it to cover and prevent sticking. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place out of any drafts until doubled in size – about an hour or so. (The inside of the oven with a bowl of warm water and the light on can work well for this proofing.)

Decide what format you want for your rolls or loaf and prepare pans by coating them with non-stick spray. For rolls, I used large glass ramekins. For split-top buns, use a 9 x 13 pan.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough:

  • for loaf, you need 6 pieces for each loaf (12 for 2). Place them in 2 long rows of 3.
  • for large rolls, you need 3 pieces for each roll (approx. 30 pieces)
  • for split-top buns, you need 6 “logs” that you roll, placing them in a row down the length of the pan.

Set your shaped dough in a warm place for the second rise, inside a plastic bag in a draft-free place. (You just want them to peek over the top of the pan.) This can be about an hour in a warm spot, or if that doesn’t fit with your schedule, place them in a cooler spot for 2-3 hours or in the fridge overnight. (You may need to let them warm up and rise a bit more after the fridge, but this beats over-proofing them and spoiling your hard work!)

Preheat oven to 375F.

Beat the last egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush egg mixture over your shaped dough. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt if you want to serve them as a savoury item; if you want them for brunch or plan to use a loaf for French toast, then skip the salt.

Bake as follows, always turning your bread halfway through: (NOTE: you can put ramekins on a baking sheet for easier movement if you like)

  • buns and/or rolls, approx. 20-30 minutes,
  • split-top buns, 25-40 minutes
  • loaf, 45-60 minutes

Ideally, all pieces should be at 195-200F internal temperature when done.

Let cool on a wire rack in pans for about 10 minutes. Then gently de-mold them and let cool completely (unless you can’t resist, like me. Then you should just be prepared to share.)


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