Cloverleafs are a holiday staple in my house. From a young age, I have fond memories of grabbing the buns my grandma made, pulling them apart and drenching them in my mom’s turkey gravy.
As grandma is getting older (she turned 94 last summer!) baking a large volume of bread is getting more difficult, so my mom, my aunt, and I have pitched in to help here and there.
I’ve definitely inherited the love of baking bread from my grandma and I love sharing my baking with others! Even on years where we are with my husband’s family for the holidays or at our own house, I am sure to make cloverleafs, so my own children can love them too!
Traditionally, my grandma made these with only all purpose flour. I used some whole wheat flour in this recipe, since I made them for a holiday at my own house. If I am baking to bring these to someone else’s house, I use my grandma’s method since not everyone is as huge a fan of whole wheat. Plus, the whole wheat version dries out slightly faster than the all purpose counterpart.
Recipe from my Grandma
2 cups warm water (around 110 degrees F)
2 packages (4 ½ tsp) active dry yeast
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup bacon drippings or softened butter
1 tsp salt
4 ½ cups all purpose flour, divided
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp water
In the bowl of stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, sugar, bacon drippings, eggs, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Beat with the paddle attachment until mostly smooth, about 2 minutes.
Switch to the dough hook and gradually add the remaining 4 ½ cups of flour. Knead with the dough hook on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is sticky, add up to ¼ cup additional flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple times to form a smooth ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Put in a warm place to rise until the dough is light and doubled; about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Punch the dough down. Grease two 12-cup muffin tins with nonstick spray.
Cut the dough into one ounce pieces. Bring the edges of the dough down to the bottom and pinch tightly to make round balls. Place the 3 dough balls into each muffin tin cup. Cover the trays with a damp towel and allow to rise until they feel soft and light; 20-30 minutes.
Prepare the egg wash by beating together the remaining egg and 1 teaspoon water.
Brush the tops and sides of the rolls with the egg wash. Place the rolls into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Move to wire racks. Cool for 5 minutes, then move from tins and cool completely
Makes 20-24 rolls