Think of these as potato rolls with a nice tan. The squash is cooked and mashed like the tuber cousins and then added to the batter, providing the same texture and taste with a pretty golden hue. I happened to find honey nut squash at my local farmer’s market, but regular butternut squash will do. You only need about a cup, so if you have more, add some salt and pepper and you’ve got a yummy side dish! To get evenly sized rolls, I recommend weighing them on a scale. It takes a little more time, but it’s worth the effort. I used my favorite new toy, the Challenger Bread Pan, but in the event you don’t own one yet, try a regular cast iron skillet.
Makes 24 rolls
- 1 medium butternut squash or 3 small honey nut squash
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¾ cup (180 grams) warm milk
- ½ cup (118 grams) warm water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for basting
- ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 to 5 1/2 cups (650 – 715 grams) all-purpose flour
Make the Butternut Squash
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Peel the squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a shallow baking pan and fill with water to cover the squash, about an inch depth.
- Cover and cook until fork tender, about 1 hour. Drain the squash, mash with a potato masher and then press out the excess water through a sieve. Measure out 1 cup (250 grams) for the recipe, reserve the balance for another use. Allow to cool before using.
Make the Rolls
- Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup with the milk and water to bloom for about 5 minutes.
- Add the 1 cup of squash, butter, sugar, salt and about 4 cups flour into a large mixing bowl. Mix until a shaggy dough comes together.
- If kneading by hand, turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding the additional 1 to 1 ½ cups of flour as needed. If using a mixer with a dough hook, turn to medium speed, adding the flour as necessary for 6 to 8 minutes or until smooth. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
- Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, equally divide into 24 pieces and using a cupping motion with your hand, round each piece into a ball. Place closely together (touching is fine!) in greased cast iron or baking pan, either 9-by-13 or 12-inch round. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- During the second proof, preheat the oven to 375°F. When the rolls are ready, bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly and then baste with butter. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store the leftover rolls in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.