When done, these slightly sweet rolls are the match of any bakery Fan-Tan Rolls. The shaping is easy but looks fancy, and the texture is moist and firm.
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 packages (scant tablespoon each) active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 cup butter plus 2 tablespoons melted butter
In a large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, soda, and yeast.
In a saucepan, heat buttermilk and 1/2 cup butter until buttermilk is warm (butter does not need to melt). Add to flour mixture. Blend with mixer at lowest speed until moistened, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
By hand, stir in the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Punch down dough. On a floured board, roll out dough to a 15-inch square. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter, and cut dough into 1-1/2-inch-wide strips. Stack 5 strips together and cut into stacks 1-1/2 inches long.
Place cut-side down in greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes).
Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.