How To Make Butterflake Rolls if You’re Not Martha Stewart

Try as I might, I can’t make things perfect. I can make one cupcake in a batch look pretty dang awesome. From time to time my junk drawer has all of the pens in the same slot.  I’ve attempted gardening until my dirt is a soft mixture of home-recycled compost, but somewhere between good intentions and real life, I discover that I don’t have enough patience to hand-craft pansies from gumpaste. Nor do I have what it takes to handpaint my own murals on antique dresser handles.

Apparently, I don’t have what it takes to make photo-worthy Butterflake Rolls, either. And, let’s be honest, neither do you. You don’t want to spend four straight hours in your kitchen, intermittently scraping down the beaters of your Kitchen Aid all the while churning your own butter for the soft flaky layers so indicative of a true Butterflake roll.

No worries. You don’t have to set your table in matching china with peonies picked from your front porch to serve up a good meal to the people you love. This is food, darlings. It’s meant to be messy. Making it should be fun, not stressful. So, put away your hesitations about photo-worthy eats and dig your hands into soft dough. Press it around your knuckles, lean into it as you stand in barefeet.

The floor will get messy. The rolls may not look magazine-perfect. But your soul will be fed. And your family will love you for all those flaky layers, into which you put a whole gaggle of imperfect (but ever-so-immense) love. Yours.

Toss a bit of butter into your muffin tins. It’s like hiding a little present under a pillow.

Mix together your basic ingredients until a soft, luscious dough forms. Yes, dough can be soft and luscious.  So can bellybuttons in bikini’s. But, that’s not your concern until next week when this dough settles itself atop your hips.

The real trick to making Butterflake Rolls is layer after layer after layer of butter kneaded into layer after layer after layer of dough. It’s a very complex love story.

Bound to get ugly before it gets beautiful.

Oh, who am I kidding. It never really gets beautiful. But, it does happen to taste absolutely divine.


Butterflake Rolls


1 tablespoon yeast
3/4 cup very warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick butter, softened


Prepare a muffin tin for baking by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray, or tossing a small pat of butter into the bottom of each cup. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix yeast in 1/4 cup warm water until dissolved. Add the sugar. Whisk, in the salt and eggs. Beat in milk and remaining water until well-mixed.

Use a wooden spoon to stir in about 2 1/2 cups of flour, adding more (up to 3 cups) as necessary to make a soft dough. You want to be able to knead the dough and not have it stick to your fingers, but still have the dough be soft and pillowy. Less is definitely more here.

Knead dough a few times. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness and spread with a thin layer of butter (it should be about 2 tablespoons). Fold dough in half, then spread with butter. Repeat this 4 more times.

Once you've finished buttering, roll into 1/2 inch thickness and cut dough into 1×1 inch squares. Place 3-4 squares upright in each non-stick sprayed muffin tin. Let rise about 45-60 minutes, or until well risen.

Bake in middle rack at 400° F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

28 Responses to “How To Make Butterflake Rolls if You’re Not Martha Stewart”

  1. Brooke, I SOOOOO wish I were eating these right now instead of drinking a protein shake!

  2. These look just wonderful. I have a recipe similar but it’s much more complex than this – thanks for simplifying! I love it, can’t wait to try this new method! Chris

  3. I disagree. These are GORGEOUS!!!

    I want.

  4. Chrissy M says:

    I think they are beautiful!!
    I wish I had one right now…I’ll have to make them! (after work…boo)

  5. I actually kind of think they’re beautiful! :-)

  6. Katrina says:

    These are gorgeous! Love the title too, so funny.

  7. anna says:

    wow, these look beautiful to me. just lovely.

  8. Liz says:

    These look awesome! So yummy.

  9. Ashley says:

    Um…YUM. Gotta try these. SOON.

  10. Tori says:

    I, too, disagree. I think they look fabulously delicious! I will definitely snag the recipe and a picture. I’ve simply got to make these when my mom-in-law visits next week. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  11. Karly says:

    I think they look amazing. I’m totally making them for dinner tomorrow. Yum!

  12. Tiffany A F says:

    Brooke- This is your best post ever. So often I wish I were that perfect woman. Perfect cook, gardener, DIYer, home beautifier, teacher, Sunday School teacher, wife, etc. Then I begin to realize that when I try to be perfect at everything I pretty much awful at everything too. I’m so glad you included this post, I’m glad to know that you’re a REAL human and aren’t perfect. The rolls look delicious! :)

    • Brooke says:

      Ha! We are allll soo human! I applaud everyone of us for waking up in the morning and giving our lives the old heave-ho. A little hard work, a lot of love, and ample amounts of patience never hurt a single soul. :) XO!

  13. Julie says:

    Totally divine! and I’m so not martha!

  14. Dana says:

    I love reading about how you are not Martha but then you turn out something Martha worthy. This is a beautiful piece of bread Brooke!

  15. […] Butterflake Rolls by Cheeky Kitchen – Butter. Who can resist butter in cute, flaky rolls? […]

  16. Hi Brooke,
    This is Chris at the Café Sucré Farine – I blogged today about these yummy rolls – check it out here!

    Thanks for this amazing recipe!! Love your blog!

  17. […] Butterflake Rolls by Cheeky Kitchen – Butter. Who can resist butter in cute, flaky rolls? […]

  18. These look fantastic and would make an amazing addition to our Thanksgiving table! I am featuring a picture and a link to this post on Sunday’s (11/13) Links to Love post over at!

  19. […] How To Make Butterflake Rolls if You’re Not Martha Stewart …Jun 19, 2011 … Apparently, I don’t have what it takes to make photo-worthy Butterflake Rolls, either. And, let’s be honest, neither do you. You don’t want to … […]

  20. Tulasi-Priya says:

    This is a beautiful post and recipe, Brooke, and I’m so grateful you were the answer to my quest for the flaky. I had a question; what do you think about very, very, very, lightly sprinkling some flour over the buttered dough between folds? Like, through a fine mesh strainer, the flour scarcely visible to the naked eye? I ask because I prefer to cut the rolls round and snuggle them together in a cake pan. If you answer this, thanks in advance!

  21. […] melt in your mouth, unswirling, flaky layers. I saw this recipe on Brooke’s blog, Cheeky Kitchen, a beautiful blog that I’m always inspired by. She always has something wonderful to share […]

  22. Maija says:

    I’m going to try this with a little cinnamon and sugar in the butter layers!! Mmmm…

  23. Fiona says:

    I first had these at a local bakery, and I immediately wanted to make my own.
    I made a double batch and made half of it into normal rolls, but I couldn’t find normal muffin tins, so I made 8 normal size ones in decorative tins and 24 in mini tins, these were all over awesome. Then I split the remaining half into two more halves, I made one of the halves with cinnamon sugar and the other half with cocoa powder and sugar. I then put these in a bundt pan with butter on the bottom, one half had the chocolate and the other half had the cinnamon. I baked it for 35 minutes and it turned out perfect (it looked really dark, but it was great).
    Anyways they were really really good.

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