My job this thanksgiving was a simple one - to bring some sort of dinner roll. I wanted to make something a little different, at least shape-wise, so I made some classic cloverleaf rolls (something I hadn't done in the past).
3 tablespoons warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 stick + 1 tablespoon butter, divided
1 cup whole milk
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
In a stand mixer bowl, mix together the water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes and froth. Melt 3/4 of the stick of butter, add milk to the mixture, and heat until lukewarm in a microwave. Add the milk and butter mixture into the yeast, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, bread flour, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon, and then place into the stand mixer with a hook attachment. Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, and begin kneading the dough. Add the remaining flour slowly until the dough is no longer sticky (about 10 minutes of kneading). Cover with a towel and wait for it to double in size, about 1 hour. In the meantime, butter 18 muffin cups with 2 tablespoons butter. Punch down the dough and cut into 54 equal portions (I cut the dough in half, divided each half into thirds, divided each third into an additional third, and thirded one last time to try to get even pieces). Roll each bit of dough with your fingers to get a roughly round shape, and position three pieces into each muffin cup. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. If the seeds need to be toasted, empty them into a heavy skillet and put over medium heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned and fragrant. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and brush the tops of each roll, then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Bake 15-20 minutes.
These simple rolls are fairly simplistic in their flavors, so serve them alongside some jams or butter. Their fun shapes and ease to pull them apart set them aside from the standard dinner rolls, and you could boost the flavors to your own whim by topping them with a different spice or herb of choice.