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Soft Dinner Rolls Recipe & Video

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Soft Dinner Rolls are delicious buttered and make the perfect accompaniment for soups and stews. They also make great sandwiches and can even be used as hamburger buns. I just love their golden brown crust that's wonderfully chewy, while inside their texture is soft and oh so fluffy. 


To make these Soft Dinner Rolls really flavorful, I like to add a Sponge. A Sponge is just a small amount of bread dough that is made the night before and stored at room temperature overnight so it has time to become nice and spongy. Next morning when you make your bread dough, you simply add the Sponge along with the other ingredients.

As far as ingredients go, we are using unbleached bread flour which has a higher protein content than All Purpose Flour. The bread flour gives the Rolls a nice chewy texture. For the yeast, I like to use SAF Red and SAF Gold instant yeast #ad. This type of yeast gives a good rise and it doesn't need to be proofed. However, if you want to substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast you need to increase the amount of yeast by about 20%. You also need to activate the yeast in warm water. To do this, remove about 1/4 cup (60 grams) water from the total amount called for in the recipe and heat it to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy. Dried milk powder is added to the dough as it enhances the color of the crust, adds flavor, and helps to keep the bread moist. For the salt I like to use kosher salt. There is also butter in this dough, and I like to use unsalted butter. And lastly, we need water. I like to use cold filtered water from the refrigerator. The temperature of the water is very important when making bread as it determines the temperature of the final dough, which affects the rate (time) of fermentation (proofing). The desired dough temperature (DDT) should be between 74-77 degrees F (23-25 degrees C).

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Sponge: In a medium sized bowl, stir the flour with the yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water. With a plastic scraper or wooden spoon, work the flour into the liquid, until all the flour has been moistened. Place into a medium sized container that has been lightly oiled, cover, and let it sit (ferment) at room temperature for 12 - 14 hours.

Soft Dinner Rolls: In a large bowl stir the flour with the yeast, salt, sugar, and dried milk powder.

Pour the cold water into the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Then add the Sponge, the egg, and the flour mixture. Knead the dough on 1st speed for 5 minutes. Increase your mixer speed to 2nd speed and continue to knead the dough for about 3 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth, elastic, and a little sticky. Add the butter and continue to knead the dough, on 2nd speed, for another 3 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth and elastic. The dough will be a little sticky.

Place your dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Turn the dough once so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from forming on the top of the dough). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit (ferment) at room temperature (about 75 degree F) (24 degree C) for one hour.

Turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. You want the top of the dough to now be on the bottom. Lightly flour the top of your dough and with the palms of your hands flatten the dough slightly to break any large air bubbles. Then divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 75 grams each). When you divide the dough use a pastry scraper or knife and cut, don't pull or stretch, the dough. Then, working with one piece of dough at a time, pre-shape your dough into a ball. With the palms of your hands rotate the ball of dough on an unfloured surface to create surface tension and to seal the edges of the dough completely. Place the rounds on a floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let the rounds of dough sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. (This is to relax the dough and you will notice that the dough will rise a little.)

You will need a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Next, place the rounds of dough, upside down, onto a lightly floured surface. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten the dough into a round, breaking any air bubbles. Next, take the edges of the dough and fold them into the center and gently seal. Then flip your dough over so the smooth side is facing up. With the palm of your hand rotate the ball of dough on your unfloured surface to create surface tension and to seal the edges of the dough completely. Place the rolls on your baking sheet, spacing several inches apart. Cover the pan with plastic wrap that has been lightly oiled or sprayed with a non stick vegetable spray and let proof at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours. (If you lightly press into the dough, your finger will leave a slight indentation.)

Meanwhile preheat your oven to 400 degree F (200 degree C).

When your Rolls are ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg yolk with the cream. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the Rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if desired). Bake for about 14 - 16 minutes or until your Rolls are golden brown. If you tap the Roll it will sound hollow. About halfway through baking, turn your pan front to back to promote even baking. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The Rolls can be stored in an airtight bag for about three days or it can be frozen for a couple of months.

Makes 12 Soft Dinner Rolls.

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1 cup minus 1 tablespoon (115 grams) unbleached white bread flour

1/8 teaspoon SAF Red instant yeast Available on Amazon #ad

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (72 grams) cold filtered water

Soft Dinner Rolls:

2 2/3 cups (347 grams) unbleached white bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons (4 grams) SAF Red or Gold instant yeast Available on Amazon #ad

2 teaspoons (8 grams) kosher salt

2 tablespoons (28 grams) granulated white sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons (24 grams) dried milk powder

3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon (185 grams) cold filtered water

1 large cold egg (55 grams)

5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature


1 large egg yolk (about 17 grams)

1/2 tablespoon cream

Sesame Seeds (optional)

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