I get the feeling that dinner rolls are one of those things that don’t come out of the oven very often. We all love them. There’s something about the soft melt-in-your-mouth inside, the buttery outside… it’s nearly impossible to resist a freshly made dinner roll.
That’s just the problem though. That whole freshly made thing is hard to do. I don’t know about you, but it is rare I have the time to be home early in the afternoon to throw a batch of dough together to be ready for dinner. I would absolutely love to (and so would AJ… he managed to finish all but one of the rolls I made), but it’s just not that feasible very often.
I unfortunately don’t really have a solution to this problem. I’ve tried the “40-minute” dinner rolls, and they don’t really turn out. They really take about an hour and a half to complete, and the flavor just isn’t there. The huge amount of yeast those recipes use really shows up in the flavor, and the texture never quite suits me.
So today, I’m sharing a recipe for traditional dinner rolls – just how your grandma made them. You’ll love the subtle sweetness and irresistible warmth of these rolls when they come out of the oven. And when you happen to have that day that lets you lounge around the house (or just be at the house!) for a few hours before dinner, you’ll know what to do :)
7 + 3/8 oz all-purpose flour
1 tsp yeast*
3/8 oz potato flour (or 3.8 oz additional AP flour)
1/2 oz sugar
3/4 tsp salt
4 + 5/8 oz non-dairy milk (I used soy), heated to luke-warm in the microwave.
1 oz (2 Tbsp) melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
*If you are using active dry yeast, place it in the heated milk for a few minutes before using. When it is a bit bubbly and frothy, it’s all good to go. If you are using instant, just add it with the dry ingredients (but don’t let it touch the salt directly!)
Combine flour, sugar, salt, and potato flour (if using) in a large bowl and mix. Add the yeast, warm milk, and butter. If you are kneading by a machine, knead with the dough hook for about 7 minutes, until a smooth dough results. I decided to knead this batch by hand, just for the therapy :) Go ahead and mix it all together with your hands. Once a shaggy dough has formed, transfer it to the counter.
Knead for about 8-9 minutes, until a smooth dough results. I’m becoming more and more of a fan of the cut-and-stack technique. All you do is take a bench knife (or some sort of something that can cleanly cut the dough into pieces) and cut the dough into about 8 pieces. Take those and stack them all together to form another ball. Cut it up again, and repeat. I’ll knead it a few times every few stacks just to see how it’s coming along. In my experience, this method of kneading helps the dough come together so much faster than the traditional method!
Once your dough is sufficiently kneaded, form a nice smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl to rise for 90 minutes. The dough should become nice and puffy and have doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto the counter again and separate into 8 pieces by cutting it in half, then in half again, etc. Roll each piece into a little ball by pulling the sides under to the bottom, and pinch the seam shut. Place seam-side down in an 8″ diameter cake pan (I used a 9″ and, as you can see, it was a little big. It will work, but the rolls will just end up being a little more cooked on the outside). Space the rolls evenly and cover with plastic wrap.
Let the rolls proof for 45-60 minutes, until very puffy and starting to push up against one another. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake the rolls for 22 minutes, until evenly browned. Remove from the oven and brush melted butter over the top. Let cool for 10 minutes, and enjoy!