I actually made these for Thanksgiving last year, but never posted the recipe. So, in time for Thanksgiving this year.. the recipe!
** Get started early on this recipe b/c it has to rise for a while all-total about 2 hrs and 15 m for the rising only.
If you want, you can make them up to a week ahead of time storing the baked rolls in a Ziploc plastic bag and freezing them. Defrost the rolls for 1 hour at room temperature before reheating. To reheat, wrap the rolls in aluminum foil, 6 rolls to a package. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until heated through 10-15 min.
1 - 1/4 oz package active dry yeast
1 & 1/2 c buttermilk
6 T unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for brushing the rolls
2 lg eggs
2 T sugar
5 c bread or unbleached flour
3/4 t baking soda
1 & 1/2 t salt
Approx. 2 & 1/2 t poppy seeds for sprinkling
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup warm (100 - 110 F) water and let stand until creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
In a medium saucepan, heat the buttermilk, stirring constantly, just until warm (100-110F). or, place the buttermilk in a 1-quart glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 minute, or until warm. Transfer the buttermilk to a 1-quart measuring cup, if necessary, and stir in the dissolved yeast mixture, the melted butter, eggs, and sugar.
Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix to form shaggy dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.
Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Turn the dough to coat with the butter, and turn the dough smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume (if you poke the dough with your finger, an impression will remain) about 1 & 1/4 hours.
Lightly butter 2 9-in round cake pans. Punch down the dough and knead briefly on an unfloured work surface. Cut the dough into 18 equal pieces. (Easiest way: cut the dough into thirds, then cut each third in half and each half into 3 pieces) Place a piece of dough on the work surface. Using the sides of your hands, tuck the dough underneath itself, turning the dough as you tuck, stretching the top surface, and eventually forming a taunt ball. Repeat with the remaining dough, transferring the rolls to the prepared pans as you form them, allowing nine balls per pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F
Brush the tops of the rolls lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with the poppy seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve warm.