Homemade yeast dinner rolls are the highlight of dinner! This soft and fluffy roll recipe, with just a touch of honey, is no fail and perfect for a crowd!
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Everyone loves that bite of freshly made, warm homemade bread with butter or jam just melting out of the sides and down your arm. I am going to share with you my recipe and technique for making easy yeast dinner rolls! We’ve all had dinner rolls at some point in our life, so they always bring a sense of “Sunday Dinners at grandma’s” whenever we eat one!
I’m not much of a baker by any stretch of the imagination BUT I do love making bread. Man, oh man do I love making bread!
Somehow making bread is much more therapeutic for me over making cookies or cakes or brownies.
To me, bread-making is very much like pasta-making; there’s a certain rhythm to the kneading and then you can’t deny the intoxicating aroma of yeast “blooming” in warm water and then seeing all of the gluten strands getting happy as it rests and the yeast is allowed to do its magic…
Just as a forewarning to you all, most, if not ALL of my baking posts have weighed measurements as opposed to volume measurements (i.e. cups) because weighed measurements are infinitely much more accurate than volume ones. You can pick up an inexpensive food scale at your local grocery store for less than $20; this is the one I use.
Before we get on with the recipe, let me give you some bread-making basics that help me get the best dinner rolls possible!
How to Make Soft Yeast Dinner Rolls
Rules Working With Yeast
Now first thing is first, we have to know how yeast works. Yeast is a living breathing organism, much like we ware. If yeast gets too cold, it dies; if it gets too hot, it dies.
You have to just imagine what temperature we all like to be at to be comfortable and active outside which is in the 80’s and 90’s! Yeast likes to have a party in water that’s around that temperature. I get this water temperature by running the water until it gets hot and then add cold water slowly until I get the feeling of nice, warm, beach water!
Second, yeast has a super BFF, that’s sugar! Yeast and sugar go together like PB&J; sugar is what feeds the yeast so that you can start having the nice fluffy rolls and bread you want. However you don’t want to introduce them too soon otherwise, they jump the gun and the fun is over before your bread is done.
Yeast also has a mortal enemy, salt! They don’t like to be in direct contact with each other; salt does to yeast what it does to snails and slugs… Sad day. We make this awesome bread party work by introducing salt with the other dry ingredients and whisked in so it’s mixed evenly.
After blooming the yeast completely, it’s time to add the rest of the dry ingredients and knead the dough. I knead my dough by hand because my machine can’t handle my recipe, so here is the break down of how to knead by hand.
How to Knead Bread Dough By Hand
The method to kneading is fairly quite simple, you press down on the lower third of the dough ball with the palm of your hand with the majority of the force behind it and slightly roll the ball up and under itself using your fingers to bring the upper 2/3’s over the bottom; you keep repeating this motion in a circular fashion which will help create layers in the dough as well as develop our wonderful friend, gluten!
Resting Yeast Dinner Roll Dough
Once we are done kneading the dough to a beautiful consistency, we need to let it rest!
Take a bowl that will give this dough room to grow exponentially and spray it well with cooking spray. I have this awesome melamine bowl set WITH lids we got as a wedding gift that I just love and use these bowls to let my bread rest.
Spray the top of the bread with cooking spray and cover it with either a towel, plastic wrap, or a lid if you have a bowl set with lids.
Let the dough rest covered in a warm spot for about an hour or until doubled in size (a good place to let the dough hang out is on top of the fridge since heat rises up!).
If you are planning on making this recipe ahead of time, you can let the dough rise overnight in the fridge. Doing this is known as a retard rise because the cool temperatures slow down the alcohol production of the yeast which yields a slower rise.
Rising your dough overnight in the fridge has some benefit outside of freeing up some time for you. Allowing the dough to rise slowly also intensifies the flavor of the dough which yields a delicious roll. Something worth trying.
Punching The Yeast Dough and Second Rise
After an hour or so of rising, the dough will look magnificent! You may be tempted to think that it is ready to bake!
Since the gluten structures haven’t fully developed yet and the flavor that the dough is gaining from the yeast and sugar working together to create magic hasn’t quite peaked. You need to release some of the air that has built up during the rest so that the dough can continue to develop without a weakened gluten structure.
The fun way that I like to release this air is by punching the dough (in culinary school, they’d call it “punching down the dough”).
Now you don’t have to go all Rocky Balboa on the poor thing, just give it a firm punch to release the air, you’ll see the dough fall dramatically.
I typically then fold the inflated sides into the middle as well and then flip the whole thing over so that the bottom is now up; spray it again with cooking spray and replace the lid/cover of your choice. Let the dough rest one more hour.
Shaping The Yeast Dough Balls and Final Rise
So how do we make perfect looking dough balls, you may be wondering. It is very simple, but it does take some practice.
Take a 2 ½ ounce dough ball and roll it in a circle with your hand in a cupping shape. Your hand should have enough space in the cup to allow the dough to roll into a roll without it being too loose.
You should be pressing firmly enough to where you can feel the roll taking shape without smashing it into a pancake.
Your fingers will play a part in helping the dough ball roll and take shape by staying within the bounds of your hands. Once the roll is done, the top will be smooth and if you look underneath it, the roll will have created a belly button of sorts. If you have these two things, congrats!!!! You did it!
After the dough has been shaped, place the dough balls in a greased baking pan and allow to rest for one final time. This time it’s only for 30 minutes. Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel and preheat the oven.
How to Cook Yeast Dinner Rolls
Once the dough is shaped and has risen, give your rolls a nice glossy look by brushing an egg wash on top. As the rolls bake, they’ll have a shiny golden brown look to them.
I preheat my oven to 350 degrees which is the perfect temperature to bake rolls. They get that beautiful color while achieving the soft, fluffy inside that all yeast rolls should have!
After baking, I allow them to cool slightly on a wire rack before delving right into them… it is so tempting to not just gobble them up right after baking. But you do need to let the dough relax before tearing into them.
Yeast Dinner Roll Troubleshoots
Here are some common hiccups or questions that have been asked about making homemade dinner rolls.
What If My Dough Is Too Tacky Or Not Tacky Enough
If you find that your dough is too tacky and sticking too much to the countertop, add a TINY bit of flour just so that the dough soaks up some of the moisture and can now roll. If your dough is too dry, add a TINY bit of water to the countertop so that your dough has something to hold on to and help take shape.
Why Do I Need To Cover The Dough
As you are working the dough and have finished some dough balls, place them on a sprayed 9×13 pan and cover with plastic wrap. If the dough develops a skin on it, it won’t be able to rise fully and you won’t get the most bang for your buck.
Why Are My Dinner Rolls Dense
This is probably because of one or two reasons:
- Your yeast could be dead, and your dough didn’t rise enough.
- You let your dough rise for too long and collapsed because of the lack of structural support while baking.
Check to make sure that your yeast is still good by checking the best by date. Toss it out if it has expired.
Always set a timer when you let your dough rise. You’ll never let your dough go for too long and will end up with light and fluffy rolls once baked.
Can I Make Rolls Using Cake Flour
No. Nope. Absolutely not.
Cake flour and bread flour are milled differently. Cake flour is aimed to have little gluten within the flour, allowing for a shorter crumb when baked. That’s why cakes crumble slightly.
Bread flour is meant to have high gluten content within it to allow for a strong gluten structure to be formed. That’s why bread often has a flaky appearance to it.
Cake flour cannot withstand the amount of beating that bread dough needs in order to develop properly. Do not try to substitute cake flour if you’re out of bread flour. Just hop over the store real quick and buy some bread flour. You can thank me later.
Can I Make Dinner Rolls from Pizza Dough
Theoretically… yeah, you can. Why not. Pizza dough is made with bread flour and goes through some of the same processes that dinner roll dough does as well. You can definitely make a fun dinner roll variation and make garlic knots with pizza dough.
Be sure to check out this post for making killer pizza dough.
How Do You Store Yeast Dinner Rolls
I like to store them in a plastic baggie and place them in the fridge. They last up to 7 days in the fridge and are great to use as little sandwiches. Here are some ideas to use up leftover dinner rolls:
- Sloppy Joe Sliders
- Lamb Burger Sliders with Turmeric Aioli
- Rum Raisin Bread Pudding
- Kale and Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad
I would avoid freezing already baked rolls and instead freeze the dough balls. You can then thaw them and let them rise before baking like usual.
How to Reheat Yeast Dinner Rolls
Admittedly, this recipe makes a ton of rolls. Perfect for a holiday or Sunday dinner but you’ll end up with leftovers.
I like to reheat my rolls with a quick trip into the microwave. I find that reheating in the oven changes the texture by making the roll crunchy. The microwave helps keep the roll nice and soft.
Wrap your yeast roll in a damp paper towel and reheat for about 30 seconds. You’ll have a nice steaming roll fit for slathering with your favorite filling.
Your rolls are done!!!! Now you go enjoy yourself some delicious rolls with some whipped butter, strawberry jam, or some delicious lemon curd! You deserve it!
Happy eating everyone!
Here are some delicious recipes to enjoy with these rolls:
- Roasted Garlic Quick Alfredo Sauce
- Quick Marinara Sauce
- Perfectly Roasted Turkey Breast
- Lemon Herb Cornish Game Hens
- Lazy Lasagna
- Simplified Stuffed Porchetta Roast
- Four Mushroom Beef Stroganoff
Be sure to check out these Gourmet Holiday Sides if you’re planning a holiday dinner.
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- 2 ounces yeast
- 24 ounces warm water, room tem
- 44 ounces bread flour
- 1 ounce salt
- 4 ounces sugar
- 2 ounces milk powder
- 5 ounces butter, softened
- 2 each eggs, for egg wash
- Bloom yeast in warm water for 5 minutes in a mixing bowl.
- With a dough hook attached to the mixer and on the lowest speed, add dry ingredients to the warm water and yeast. Mix until dough ball begins to form. Turn up the speed to medium and add the butter slowly. Mix afterward for 7 minutes to build gluten.
- Grease a mixing bowl with non-stick spray, place dough ball in the bowl and cover. Let dough rise for an hour or doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, punch the dough to deflate, cover again and let rise another hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 30 minutes before the dough is ready to shape.
- Once the dough has risen, weigh dough out to 2 ounce balls and shape by rolling in a cupped hand against the counter (look for a belly button on the bottom of the dough ball). Place dough balls in a greased 9x13 pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again for another hour.
- Egg wash tops of rolls, place the pan in preheated oven and let bake for 12-15 minutes or until the dough is set. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Enjoy with some butter, jam, honey, or whatever makes your heart soar
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Nutrition InformationYield 44 Serving Size roll
Amount Per ServingCalories 145Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 20mgSodium 278mgCarbohydrates 24gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 4g
This nutrition information is just an estimate.