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Milk Street Bowtie Butter Rolls

Butter Rolls

12 Rolls
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As featured on our show “Milk Street’s My Family Recipe,” these soft-yet-rich butter rolls were recreated from Royce Tanaka’s memory of his grandfather’s version. While growing up in Hawaii, Tanaka’s grandfather, Masao Teruya, owned and operated M’s Bakery in Wahiawa, on the island of Oahu. Tanaka has fond memories of spending time at the bakery on the weekends while his mother helped out. A World War II veteran, Teruya graduated with the inaugural class in the baking program at Honolulu Vocational School, now Honolulu Community College. One of his classmates was Robert Taira, who later founded King’s Hawaiian Bakery, now famous for its Portuguese-style sweet bread. At M’s Bakery, which was frequented by locals and folks from Wheeler Air Force Base (now Wheeler Army Airfield), Teruya sold a baked good that was and still is extremely popular in the Aloha State: the appropriately named butter rolls, made by baking a rich, lightly sweetened yeasted dough in muffin pans with a pat of butter at the bottom. Teruya didn’t invent the butter roll—other bakeries made them, too—but his were Tanaka’s favorite. The “intense caramelization of the butter into the bread” is what Royce remembers most. “I peeled off the top layer, crispy and hot, and added more butter.” Tanaka’s wife, Terry, would like to re-create these rolls for her husband, but unfortunately, Teruya did not leave any record of his recipe or techniques. Terry said butter rolls are mostly a bakery item—the most famous version is from Liliha Bakery—and people rarely make them at home, which explains why she was unable to find recipes. That’s when she contacted Milk Street. Butter rolls are reminiscent of Parker House rolls, so we used them as our jumping-off point to develop this recipe. To achieve the soft, tender, pillowy crumb and rich, sweet flavor characteristic of butter rolls, we use a combination shortening and butter, as well as both milk and water. The rolls are best served warm, but leftovers keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

12

Rolls

¾ cup whole milk
71 grams (⅓ cup) white sugar
155 grams (11 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, room temperature, divided
85 grams (6 tablespoons) vegetable shortening, cut into chunks, plus more for the pan
650 grams (5 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more if needed and for dusting
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon table salt
Ingredients
  • ¾

    cup whole milk

  • 71

    grams (⅓ cup) white sugar

  • 155

    grams (11 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, room temperature, divided

  • 85

    grams (6 tablespoons) vegetable shortening, cut into chunks, plus more for the pan

  • 650

    grams (5 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more if needed and for dusting

  • 1

    tablespoon instant yeast

  • 1

    teaspoon table salt

Directions

Butter Rolls

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