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Fantans: A Dinner Roll That’s Fun to Eat

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Preview: Fantans are a buttery pull-apart dinner roll mixed in a bread machine–a better version of grocery store brown-and-serve rolls. Yogurt is the secret ingredient.

My husband’s family always had “Brown and Serve”  rolls for holidays.  He got excited when I pulled these golden brown fantans out of the oven.

They remind him of the inexpensive grocery store rolls his mom served every year with a big pat of butter melted in the middle. They were good when hot. But leftover rolls with cold melted butter were soggy, greasy, and and looked like something the baby had been teething on. Ahem.  

If you don’t have a bread machine, you can still make these rolls by hand or with a stand mixer. See the notes at the bottom of the recipe.

rolls in a muffin pan sitting on a chair

Why use a bread machine to make rolls:

When making dinner rolls with a bread machine, use the DOUGH cycle to mix, knead and proof the dough. At the end of the DOUGH cycle, remove the dough, shape it, and let it rise again. Bake the rolls in your conventional oven.

Go pull out your bread machine.  It’s a miracle worker if you know how to use it.  If you don’t have one, they are available for cheap at lots of thrift stores, garage sales and on E-bay.

A stray remark about bread machines might even uncover one in somebody’s cupboard they never use. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I don’t recommend baking in them anyway so only a dough cycle is required.

If you haven’t fallen in love with bread machines yet, read about the 5 reasons I really love my bread machine.

Yogurt is the secret ingredient in this bread:

How does yogurt help bread?

Yogurt tenderizes bread dough and will help your rolls rise a bit higher and a little faster. 3 wins!

What can I substitute for yogurt?

If you don’t have yogurt, substitute sour cream. Buttermilk is another option. Because it generally has a thinner consistency than yogurt, you may need to compensate with a little more flour. Check your dough after it has been mixing for 10-15 minutes before adding extra flour. If you only have Greek yogurt, use a little milk to thin it until it’s more like regular yogurt.

Can I make these rolls ahead of time?

Make the dough a day ahead of time using the DOUGH cycle on your bread machine. Deflate the dough. Use a container double the size of the volume of your dough. Cover tightly and store in the fridge overnight.

Two to three hours before you want to bake the rolls, remove the chilled dough from the fridge and shape the rolls. If you prefer, allow the dough to come to room temperature before shaping. I think it’s easier to do it while the dough is cold.

Let the rolls rise until almost double. Bake in preheated oven.

How to roll out and cut dough for Fantans:

cutting strips for rolls

Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and myself by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the recipe below. No comments required.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.


Yield: 12 rolls

Fantans: A Bread Machine Recipe

Yogurt Fantans

This is a yeast bread recipe mixed and kneaded in a bread machine. Shaped like peel-apart Brown 'n' Serves.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • 1/4 cup warm water (may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of additional water if dough seems dry)
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (I use my homemade Greek yogurt--see note)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients into the pan of a bread machine in order given. Select the dough cycle.
  2. After the machine has been running for about 10 minutes, check the dough. If the dough is a very firm ball, add a tablespoon of water. The dough should be starting to clean off the sides of the pan but not "bouncing" against the walls. If the dough is very sticky and gooey, add a tablespoon of flour until it begins to take shape.
  3. At the end of the dough cycle, remove dough from pan and divide it in half. Form into two smooth, round balls and let rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 12-inch square (about 1/8 inch thick; keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap).
  5. Brush dough with 1/2 tablespoon butter and cut into 6 equal strips. Stack strips, buttered sides up, and cut crosswise into 6 equal pieces.
  6. Turn each piece on its side and put it into a muffin cup. Make more rolls with remaining dough in the same manner.
  7. Cover rolls with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and dough fills cups. It usually takes 30-45 minutes.
  8. Bake rolls at 375˚F until golden brown for 20-25 minutes. Brush tops with 1 tablespoon melted butter if desired.

Notes

  • If using thick or Greek yogurt, add milk to thin it closer to consistency of buttermilk. Then measure out 3/4 cup.
  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe
  • Please note: If you substitute regular yeast for instant or bread machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape rolls.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 roll

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 444mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 7g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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Tia

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Sorry, I can’t figure out how to share the images!

Tia

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Premaking the dough worked perfectly! I forgot to snag a photo of the refrigerated dough, but here are the rolls prerise, then almost full rise, then baked! I did half w butter between the slices, and half without. There are a couple missing cause my teenager grabbed before I snapped the pic. Either way they were delicious, thank you again for all the recipes! I have thoroughly enjoyed making different types of rolls and loaves with them, and my family loves them all!

Paula

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Good deal, Tia! Sounds like the rolls were a hit. I'm sure you would agree that homemade bread is a good way to fill up those teenagers for not a lot of $$.

Tia

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Hi again Paula I am going to try these for Thanksgiving in a couple days, I would love to get a jump start today or tomorrow, is this a possibility with this recipe? How far could I get before baking and how do I preserve the freshness until then? Love your recipes!!!

Tia

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

@Paula, You rock! Thanks so much for getting back to me! And I will take pics, it’s just the 4 of us, so plenty of time!

Paula

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Those last three words made my day.

I added instructions for getting a head start on these rolls to the post. So if you pop over there now, you should see them. Thanks for inspiring me to add that. Can't wait to hear how they turn out. I love to see pictures--but with the craziness of Thanksgiving, that's asking a lot. Hope they make you the star of the show.

Ro

Friday 7th of August 2020

My family loved it.

Paula

Saturday 8th of August 2020

Love hearing this!!

Earl

Monday 23rd of July 2012

Hi Paula, Like you, I use my bread machine to make my dough, even my sourdough bread dough. I've worn out 3-4 of them in the last few years. :-) I have 2 standbys out in the garage in case of an emergency. Plus one in the attic. LOL.

I use a fast acting, excellent sourdough starter that I made from a few backyard grapes. Since the ingredients in one of my sourdough recipes is close to your Fantan recipe, I’ll try them as sourdough fantans by substituting the yogurt and yeast with starter which means I’ll also have to add a bit less flour and more water. My starter is fast and should double the dough in a couple hours, according to ambient air temperature.

I have one question about your recipe. It calls for 6 Tablespoons of butter to be added at the start, so I’m assuming that the butter brushed on the dough and baked rolls is extra butter and not taken from the 6 Tablespoons? Thanks for the recipe. Those fantans sure do look yummy!

Here's a link to a few pictures of my sourdough bread made with my homemade starter. http://www.feldoncentral.com/garden/photos/v/memberphotos/earl/Betsy+Hunter+Sourdough/

Paula

Monday 23rd of July 2012

Hi Earl,

Sounds like we are kindred spirits regarding the bread machine. I have two in my kitchen and one spare in my garage that is on its way out but could be used if necessary.

You are correct about the butter although it wouldn't be that big of a deal to use a tiny bit less butter in the dough and spread the rest on the dough.

Your dough pictures look great. Thanks for sharing.