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Everyone loves that bite of freshly made, warm 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 to 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 it’s 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 $2 0; this is the one I use.
Before we get on with the recipe, let me give you some bread basics that help me get the best dinner rolls possible!
Some Thoughts on 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 about 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 yeast so that you can start having the nice fluffy rolls and breads 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.
How To Knead Bread 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!
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!).
Punching the Dough
After an hour or so, the dough will look magnificent! You may be tempted to think that it is ready to bake!… It isn’t! 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 Dough Balls
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 1/2 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 in 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! High five to you!
- If you find that your dough is too tacky and sticking too much to the counter top, 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 counter top so that your dough has something to hold on to and help take shape.
- 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. Once all of the dough balls are rolled and placed in a pan with some room from each other and the sides of the pan, cover fully with a plastic wrap but don’t worry about spraying them with cooking spray and let them rest for about 30 minutes or until double in size. I like to let them rest on top of the oven that’s been preheated.
- Right before throwing these beauties into the oven, I take the two eggs and make an egg wash out of them; this can be accomplished by scrambling the two eggs and adding either a splash of milk or water to the eggs. I then use a pastry brush and go over each of the rolls GENTLY with the egg wash so that they get a nice coating but the structure of the roll isn’t ruined.
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!
- 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 mixer and on the lowest speed, add dry ingredients to the warm water and yeast. Mix until dough ball begins to form. Turn up speed to medium and add butter slowly. Mix afterwards 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 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 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, lace 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