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Monday
Nov222010

Homemade Dinner Rolls

  

I love dinner rolls as much as the next person, but the thing is, there’s only so much I can eat at Thanksgiving, and choices must be made.  So I usually forego the bread so I can load up on turkey, stuffing, potatoes, etc., etc., etc.  Having said that, I’ve been trying out different dinner roll recipes and this one is, without a doubt, the best.  This is how you want a dinner roll to be… just a little crusty on the outside, and very soft and yeasty on the inside.  These rolls have a little heft to them, but are still light enough to eat several at one sitting.  I know this from personal experience.

 

The good people at Cook’s Illustrated are to be commended for this recipe.  As they do with so many of the recipes coming out of their test kitchens however, they tend to over think and over-complicate, so I have streamlined the recipe without any adverse effects.  These rolls come out perfectly.  Do not be put off by the lengthy instructions; these are easy to make.  In spite of its length, each step of this recipe is easy, and each time I’ve made them, they’ve come out consistently and awesomely good.

 

I’ve already made a batch of these for our Thanksgiving dinner, and they’re waiting patiently in the freezer for their big day.  I may just have to do without that second helping of mashed potatoes.  I’m so having dinner rolls this year.

Homemade Dinner Rolls

If you don't have a mixer with a dough attachment, just mix your ingredients in a large bowl and knead on a flour surface for 5 or 6 minutes until the dough comes together and is soft and satin-y.  Then just proceed with the rest of the recipe. This method makes very rustic-looking rolls which are wonderfully light and fluffy.  I roll each piece into a ball and pull along the counter to create surface tension and a pretty tight little ball.  Place these in your baking pan and proceed with baking as noted.  They will come out as shown in the photo.  The surface tension creates a bit of a nice crust to each roll, while the inside is impossibly fluffy and delicious.  If you would like to make these a day or two before your dinner, I bake them for the first 10 minutess at 500 degrees, remove them from the oven, let cool in the pans, cover with plastic and keep them at room temp until I'm ready to finish baking them for the final 12-12 minutes at 400.

 

Click here for a printable recipe
Makes 16 rolls

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1 1/2   cups plus 1 tablespoon water (12 1/2 ounces), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons honey
3 cups plus1 tablespoon bread flour (16 1/2 ounces), plus extra for forming rolls
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (about 1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

Instructions

1. Whisk water, yeast, and honey in bowl of stand mixer until well combined, making sure no honey sticks to bottom of bowl. Add flours and mix on low speed with dough hook until cohesive dough is formed, about 3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.

2. Remove plastic wrap and evenly sprinkle salt over dough. Knead on low speed (speed 2 on KitchenAid) 5 minutes. (If dough creeps up attachment, stop mixer and scrape down using well-floured hands or greased spatula.) Increase speed to medium and continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 minute. If dough is very sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour and continue mixing 1 minute. Lightly spray 2-quart bowl with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Fold dough over itself; rotate bowl quarter turn and fold again. Rotate bowl again and fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

4. Transfer dough to floured work surface, sprinkle top with more flour. Using bench scraper, cut dough in half and gently stretch each half into 16-inch cylinders. Divide each cylinder into quarters, then each quarter into 2 pieces (you should have 16 pieces total), and dust top of each piece with more flour. With floured hands, gently pick up each piece and roll in palms to coat with flour, shaking off excess, and place in prepared cake pan. Arrange 8 dough pieces in each cake pan, placing one piece in middle and others around it, with long side of each piece running from center of pan to edge and making sure cut-side faces up. Loosely cover cake pans with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes (dough is ready when it springs back slowly when pressed lightly with finger). Thirty minutes before baking, adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.

5. Remove plastic wrap from cake pans, spray rolls lightly with water, and place in oven. Bake 10 minutes until tops of rolls are brown; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees; Continue to bake until rolls develop deep golden brown crust and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer rolls to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Because this dough is sticky, keep your hands well floured when handling it. Use a spray bottle to mist the rolls with water. The rolls will keep for up to 2 days at room temperature stored in a zipper-lock bag. To re-crisp the crust, place the rolls in a 375-degree oven for about 10 minutes. The rolls will keep frozen for several months wrapped in foil and placed in a large zipper-lock bag. Thaw the rolls at room temperature and re-crisp using the instructions above.

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Reader Comments (44)

We have homemade rolls Christmas Eve just for that reason. They are just too much to have with the big meal.

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

I agree, Renee, but the family would never let me get away with not serving rolls. These are pretty delicious little things, and like I said, it's going to be hard not to have one this year.

November 22, 2010 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

We always have fried bread with my husband's family-I prefer a nice Brown and Serve to eat my cranberries on :)

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTami

I am a full out carb lover, and would never leave out a carb (especially bread!) at Thanksgiving. These look like the perfect dinner roll!

November 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor

These are absolutely the best dinner rolls EVER! and as a new cook/baker (non desert) this has become my go-to staple at my holiday dinner table. Simply the best and get better with each batch I make :)

December 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Those rolls look just perfect!

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChocolate Shavings

Those look absolutely perfect -- like you bought them at some wonderful bakery. Nothing beats home-made, though. I actually somehow do find room for homemade rolls at Thanksgiving time. Will definitely remember these for the holiday.

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Jung

They look beautiful.

July 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAna

I was going to make these for dinner tonight and it looks like I should have started earlier... a lot earlier. So am I reading correctly, they need to raise 5 different times for a total of 3 hours? ( 30, 60,30,30, & 30 mins?) I have never made rolls from scratch and these look AMAZING!

January 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenGO

Yes there are five different rising times which seems excessive,doesn't it? I probably should have recommended up front that you plan ahead and I will fix that on the post. In truth, none of the steps are difficult, and the resulting rolls are so amazing. I hope you give them a try, Jen. Good to hear from you!

January 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

HOLE-LEE-COW!!!!!!!! I just got out of the kitchen from making these balls of heaven. The aroma of these babies baking had me on the edge of oven. I couldn't get the knife and butter out quick enough after they were done baking. I didn't even give them time to cool, not even a little. I just wish I would have taken a little more care in rolling them so they would be a bit more uniform.

If you have four hours to dedicate (during the 5 raise times, you can get plenty of other stuff done, just set a timer! haha) you will not be disappointed!!!!!

Gotta go have another before they cool!! Thank you for the great recipe, Patrice!!!!!

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenGO

So glad you liked these, Jen. Aren't they good??? I'm also glad you went ahead and made them after realizing they took so many rise times. Well worth it, I agree.

January 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Can these be made in the bread maker on the dough cycle? Then baked as rolls?

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa

I'm not really sure, Vanessa, but I don't see why that wouldn't work. If you try it, let us know how they come out, OK?

February 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Do you have to use a cake pan? (poor college student)

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

You can use any baking pan that seems the appropriate size, Lauren... Probably smaller than a 9x13 if you have one. Glas or metal would be fine. Have fun!

February 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Hi! I LOVE dinner rolls and am excited to to try this recipe, however although I have bread flour I do not have any whole wheat flour on hand. Considering this is such a hefty time commitment I just figured I should check with you first before I tried to sub the wheat flour for regular all purpose flour without fudging up the results! Do you think it would work??

Many thanks!

June 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

It would be no problem at all to use all bread flour, Amy. They would turn out just fine. So nice to hear from you and I hope you enjoy the rolls!

June 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Do you think you could hand knead it instead of using a dough hook since my mixer didn't come with one?
And for how long do you think I should knead it for.

October 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElle

Of course, you can knead this by hand, Elle! I'm so sorry I didn't mention that in the recipe. You only need to knead it for about 5 or 6 minutes by hand. Just long enough for it to feel like it's all come together and smooth and soft. Thanks for asking!

October 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I don't have bread flour , can I use all perpose flour ?

October 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdnan

Yes, you can definitely use all purpose flour for these, Adnan. The texture might be just a little lighter, but they should be just fine.

October 29, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Hi there! I just came across this recipe for potential Thanksgiving use...I like your idea of making them beforehand. We had undercooked rolls last year by trying to do them while trying to do pies, turkey, etc...

If I make them the day before, what's the best way to keep them? I see you mention freezing or just storing in a ziplock. If I don't freeze - do I store them all in a ziplock and throw them in the fridge? If I freeze, do I wrap individually in foil and throw in a ziplock?

Thanks so much!

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKat

The recipe states that you can put them in a ziploc bag for a couple of days; I would store them like this in the refrigerator, Kat. From experience, I know that these freeze really well, so that's a good option too. No need to individually wrap them for the freezer. You only need to wrap the rolls in foil (but not individually) if you're going to freeze them for longer than a couple of days. Just put them in a ziploc, lay that on a baking sheet so that the rolls are on a flat surface and freeze. After they're frozen, you can remove the baking sheet. Make sure that you bring them to room temp before re-heating them. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the rolls!

November 16, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I love America's test kitchen recipes, and am a bread baker. What changes did you do to the recipe to simplify the process. I do know that they can certainly complicate things sometimes, as they do go to the extreme. I am just curious, hope you don't mind, and thanks for this I will be making these for our Xmas dinner
Debbie, in Canada

December 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

The main thing I changed, Debbie, is that I didn't feel it was necessary to remove the rolls from the pan part-way through the baking process and place them on a cookie sheet to finish baking. I like the soft edges that are created by keeping them in the cake pan. This seemed like an unnecessary step to me and when you've got a big dinner to tend to, you don't need to be adding more work, time and effort to the process. Enjoy the rolls!

December 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrice Berry

Hi,

I made these exactly as directed and during the last rise, my round balls "melted" into spread out hamburger buns. Is this a problem with the yeast? I was very disappointed as they did not turn out like your beautiful rolls pictured. Any idea what could have gone wrong? Thank you!

December 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I'm so sorry, Amy. The only thing I can think of is that the yeast wasn't quite right. This can happen even if your yeast is well before the expire date. The only other time I've heard of dough going flat like that is when the water is too warm for the rapid rise yeast. Unlike active dry yeast, the rapid rise yeast must have cold or room temperature water. I hope you'll give them another try. I know it's a lot of work and super disappointing only to have them melt down like that. They're well worth the work if they turn out. Keep us posted...

December 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Patrice, did you know you can speed up the rise of the bread by putting the rolls or the bread in the bowl in the dishwasher turned on heat. Put it up on the top rack and let it set. It acts just like a 'proofer' in the large bakeries. They turn out very light and fluffy.

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRena

What a great idea, Rena! I'll have to give it a try! Thanks!

April 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

"Using bench scraper, cut dough in half and gently stretch each half into 16-inch cylinders. Divide each cylinder into quarters, then each quarter into 2 pieces (you should have 16 pieces total), and dust top of each piece with more flour."

For the ball shape you would then... ?

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

I added an update at the bottom of the recipe on the blog post, Audrey, explaining that I just formed them into balls instead of leaving them as cut pieces of dough. Mainly, I just roll them into balls and then sort of drag them across the surface of the countertop to increase the tension on the surface of the dough. But it works just as well to simply roll them into balls and place them into the pan as noted. I hope that answers your question!

June 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Oops. Forgot to ask. Is the baking time and temp the same if you make the ball shaped rolls?

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

Thank you for the prompt response! Love your blog. I was trying to determine how large the balls should be?

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

Yes. the baking time seems to be about the same, but every oven is different, so keep an eye on them and take them out when you they're done the way you like.

June 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I'm not sure I know the exact measurements of the balls, but since you're dividing the dough into 16 equal pieces, the balls should all be about the same size. The baking pan in the photo is a 9-inch pan, if that helps give you a sense of the size that the balls should be.

June 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

These look awesome and I am going to try them this Thanksgiving. I bake a lot of bread and cinnamon rolls and I have a proofing cycle on my oven, but I have got to try Rena's idea about proofing in the dishwasher! Regarding do mix and the initial proofing in a bread machine, I do that a lot and it saves time. Just don't skip the additional proofs. Regarding the pan choices, with rolls I find that if I put mine in a taller, dark materiales roasting pan and give them a comfortable space between, then let them rest and rise before baking, they rise to fill the voids and are extra fluffy. That's with a really sinful cinnamon roll I make with a sweet dough, roll out as ropes that get drowned in melted butter, dredged in cinnamon sugar, tied in a double knot, dredged again in the sugar mix and then placed in a pan prepared with melted butter and more cinnamon sugar sprinkled. When turned out after baking, that stuff on the bottom of the pan becomes the caramel self-topping glaze. Don't bother with calorie counts ;-) I love your healthy recies that let me eat right the rest of the time so I can have the occasional naughty good stuff!

August 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVickie

Thanks for all those tips, Vickie! Your cinnamon rolls sound amazing!

August 17, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Are these still your favorite dinner rolls?

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

Yes they are, Lisa. I just made them for our Thanksgiving dinner and they were so good. There really is nothing like homemade dinner rolls and these are always a hit.

December 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

As a beginner baker i'll have to say that these rolls are WONDERFULLY DELICIOUS and very easy to make! I'm in love! Thank you thank you thank you for the recipe

December 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAline

You're so welcome, Aline! I'm so glad you liked them! Aren't they wonderful? Great to hear from you!

December 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made a test batch of these buns, ate a couple fresh out of the oven and then froze and re-heated the rest. I wanted to see if they would be as good after re-heating. They were just as good as fresh out of the oven! I could have eaten the whole batch myself in one sitting. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am now making several batches to be able to pull out of the freezer over the holidays. I know they'll be a hit with my family.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

So great, Debbie. I've had great success with freezing them too. So nice to be able to make them ahead and just reheat when needed. Thanks so much for letting us know.

December 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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