How to Make Yeast Dinner Rolls: You Asked for It!
We asked our Recipe.com Facebook fans what recipes they wanted to tackle, and we were a little surprised that yeast dinner rolls made the list. That’s not because we don’t understand why anyone would want to learn to make them: whether you’re looking for something perfect to sop up some delicious gravy or the last bowl-clinging bits of a savory chowder, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a tender, buttery, fluffy dinner roll to do the trick.
No, we were surprised (pleasantly so) that enough of you still wanted to make them — grandmothers everywhere would be proud! Once a staple of dinner tables across the country, homemade dinner rolls are one of the casualties of our busy lives, often replaced by a baguette or even frozen rolls, hastily picked up at the grocery store and lovelessly tossed into the oven.
Except for the yeast itself, you no doubt already have all the ingredients you need to make dinner rolls from scratch on hand — the ingredient list is comfortingly simple: flour, sugar, salt, milk and butter. Even better, most recipes really only take between a half hour and 45 minutes of active time to make, and those minutes are spread out as you wait for the dough to rise. Given how relatively simple yeast dinner rolls are to make, they’re a great place to start if you’re interested in eventually learning to make all sorts of homemade breads.
We’ve compiled some tips and tricks from our own experience, and also some basic dinner roll recipes to get you started.
• Heat liquid to 120–130 degrees F. The reason that the active dry yeast sold in those little envelopes in the baking aisle at your grocery store doesn’t swell and burst is because it’s sleeping, so to speak. A little warm liquid is all it needs to wake up again, but if the liquid is too hot, it’ll kill the yeast. Stick a candy thermometer to the side of your pot and heat the liquid (whether water or milk, depending on the recipes) to the proper temperature.
• Don’t over-beat your dough. Follow the recipe instructions carefully, especially if you’re using an electric mixer, which makes whipping up a batch of rolls easier but also makes it easy to over-beat the dough. This can result in dough that’s sticky and inelastic. The same goes for kneading; make sure to let your dough rest per the recipe instructions.
• Pick a good spot to let your dough rise. You want someplace warm and free of drafts. A good trick is to turn your oven on low for 10–15 minutes, then turn it off. Place your dough (in a covered bowl) in the warm (but turned-off) oven to allow it to rise.
• Resist the temptation to add too much flour. Initially, your dough might feel too moist and sticky, and it’s easy to think you need to add more flour. But as the dough is left to rise, the flour will absorb a lot of the water. Only add more flour (in slight increments) if the dough seems just too sticky and wet to handle.
• Shiny, happy rolls. If you’re aiming for a delicious golden hue to your rolls, try brushing them with melted butter just before baking, or brush them with a simple egg glaze: whisk together one egg (or egg white) and one tablespoon of milk with a pinch of salt.
Ready to go? Then rise to the occasion with these classic dinner roll recipes: