This versatile dough recipe is ideally made in a stand mixer, but a food processor works surprisingly well, too. Use the dough to make sweet rolls, pretzels, and more.
- 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted
Stand Mixer Method
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°–115°. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.
Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. (If making Vanilla Cloverleaf Sweet Rolls, scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. If making Apricot-Anise Tarts, add aniseed.) Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.
Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic; chill.
Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours (or 2–2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).
Food Processor Method
No stand mixer? Don't worry. Fit your food processor with the standard chopping or dough blade, then make the milk mixture according to the dough recipe (above), including whisking in the eggs. Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in food processor. If making Apricot-Anise Tarts, add aniseed.) Pulse to blend. Add milk mixture; process until combined. With processor running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Process until dough is soft and silky, 2–3 minutes longer. Dough will be sticky but should not be greasy. If it is greasy, process for an additional 1–2 minutes. Transfer dough to the buttered bowl and continue with recipe as directed.