I believe that the butter-topped rolls in The Bread Bible are the best I've ever tasted. They're certainly the best I ever made. But this wouldn't be much of a blog if I just kept repeating the same old recipes, so I tried the "soft butter rolls" from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread. Better than store-bought rolls, to be sure, but they don't measure up to Rose's version.
The directions say that the first rise only takes an hour. The dough eventually got nice and fluffy, but it had barely moved after an hour. I put it in the refrigerator overnight, took it out immediately in the morning, and let it rise for another three hours. Only then did it double in size.
I should have wondered--there are four cups of flour in this recipe, but only one teaspoon of yeast. In Rose's recipe, it's more like a teaspoon and a half of yeast for two cups of flour. There was no way this was going to take only an hour to proof.
For some reason, I find it very relaxing to divide dough in numerous pieces, weighing each piece to make sure it's exactly the right size. I was supposed to divide the dough into small enough pieces that I'd get two dozen rolls, but it looked like I'd have two dozen bite-sized rolls, so I increased the size and made 18. Once they were shaped, they were supposed to rise again. Hours later, I was running out of time, so they were going to have to go into the oven, risen or not.
They look a little bit puffy, but certainly not like they're going to turn into giganto-rolls.
And they didn't. Bigger than bite-size, but not by much. And because they didn't rise enough, they were heavier than Rose's version, not so light and tender. Since they were brushed with butter, both before and after coming out of the oven, they had a lovely buttery taste and the crust had a slight crispness that was very attractive. So definitely not a failure, but neither did they become the new gold standard.
If I tried them again, I'd either add more yeast or allow for a lot more time for proofing. But, since I like to try out new recipes for this blog, I guess I'm not likely to try them again.