Sneak 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. So 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. But leftover rolls with cold melted butter were soggy, greasy, 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.
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. Then, 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 many thrift stores, garage sales, and 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.
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. Three wins! Besides that, I always have yogurt on hand since I make it myself.
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 baking 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 a preheated oven.
How to roll out and cut dough for Fantans:
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Fantans: A Bread Machine Recipe
- 6 tablespoons butter - sliced
- ¼ cup warm water - may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of additional water if dough seems dry
- 1 tablespoon mild honey or sugar
- ¾ cup plain yogurt or buttermilk - I use my homemade Greek yogurt–see note
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt - table or sea salt
- 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
- Place all ingredients into the pan of a bread machine in order given. Select the dough cycle.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Turn each piece on its side and put it into a muffin cup. Make more rolls with remaining dough in the same manner.
- 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.
- Bake rolls at 375˚F until golden brown for 20-25 minutes. Brush tops with 1 tablespoon melted butter if desired.
- If using thick or Greek yogurt, add milk to thin it closer to the 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. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. 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 as indicated in the recipe.
- If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
- Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.