These buttery, pumpkin- and honey-scented rolls are the ultimate accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner, and are also the ideal bread for the next day’s mini turkey-cranberry-and-stuffing sandwiches. Since you probably will have a few other things to worry about for the big feast, you’ll be pleased to know that you can make these up to two months in advance. To do this, allow the rolls to cool completely after baking, wrap them well in plastic wrap and then seal them in a freezer bag before freezing. When you’re ready to use the rolls, let them thaw in the sealed bag on the counter. Reheat in a 350˚F oven, just until warm, about 10 minutes.
Makes 24 rolls
- ½ cup (121 grams) whole milk
- 2 tablespoons (42 grams) honey
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (7 grams/1 packet) active dry yeast
- 4 ½ cups (585 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup (240 grams) pumpkin puree (preferably Libby’s brand)
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg whisked with 2 teaspoons water, for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons (42 grams) honey
Make the dough
- Put the milk in a heatproof glass measure and microwave 15-30 seconds, just until it is lukewarm (110-115˚F). Stir in the honey and then sprinkle over the yeast and allow to stand for 5 minutes, until small bubbles appear on the surface (if they don’t appear, your yeast is most likely either dead or on life-support, so don’t use it).
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, salt and pumpkin pie spice at low speed until blended. Add the milk mixture, pumpkin puree and eggs, one at a time, then the softened butter, and mix at medium-low speed until a rough dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed for another 10 minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and elastic and cleans the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until puffed and slightly less than doubled in volume, about 60 to 80 minutes.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Punch the dough down lightly to deflate it. Pinch off pieces of the dough, dividing the dough mass into 24 equal pieces (each piece of dough should weight about 47 grams). To form the rolls, gather the edges of a piece of dough and pinch them into the center, creating some surface tension, then roll the dough ball, seam-side-down, into a perfect round. Transfer the rolls to the prepared pan, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise until they are puffed and fill the pan, 1 ½ to 2 hours. About 20 minutes before the rolls are done proofing, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are golden brown (an instant read thermometer should register 200˚F when inserted into the center of a roll). While the rolls are baking, gently melt the butter with the honey over the stove or in the microwave.
- Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately brush the tops with the honey butter. Let stand for 2-3 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and serve immediately.