1/4 cup warm water, 100 degrees to 110 degrees
1 packet active dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar plus a pinch
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for plastic wrap, bowl and baking pan
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 tbsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 1/2 to 5 cups plain flour, plus more for dusting
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together yeast, water and a pinch of sugar. Set aside until mixture is foamy, approx 10 minutes.
2. Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment. On low speed, add 7 tbsp melted butter, milk, salt, remaining 3 tbsp sugar, and eggs. Slowly add enough flour to make a sticky dough. Brush the inside of a mixing bowl with butter. Place dough in bowl and cover with buttered plastic wrap. Set aside until doubled in size, about 2 1/2 hours.
3. Generously brush a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with butter. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Roll into a 12 by 16 inch rectangle. Brush dough generously with 3 tbsp melted butter. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut dough into 6 equal strips lengthwise. Cut dough crosswise into 4 equal sections. You will have 24 elongated rectangles. Fold each rectangle in half, and place in prepared baking pan, 4 across, and 6 down. Brush tops with remaining 3 tbsp melted butter. Cover pan with buttered plastic wrap. Set aside to ride until dough does not spring back when pressed with a finger 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Heat oven to 180 degrees. Bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for at least 5 minutes before turning out of pan. Brush again with melted butter before serving.
I was really happy with how these rolls turned out. They were so buttery and warm and soft that it was hard to stop at one (or two). Someone even mentioned that the rolls reminded them of croissants, I think because of the buttery flavour. The only problem I had was that because we had so much food for our Christmas lunch not all the rolls got eaten. I went back to have another one later that night and found that they'd already started to go a little hard. So these rolls are good if you've got a large group of people and you know they're going to get eaten pretty much straight away, but not if you want them the next day.