Dinner rolls are an obsession in my family.
My Grandmother made the greatest rolls in the history of roll making. They were the stuff of legend. She even used frozen bread dough… they were still the best. You’ll just have to take my word for it. She would make dozens and dozens of rolls for holidays and parties. My cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers… all of us hoarded them. She remedied this by making even more and sending us all home with our own private stash.
Sadly, I cannot replicate them. I can come close… my Mom and Aunt also nearly have it down, but none of us can completely nail it. My Aunt has watched the rolls being made, start to finish, and still can’t replicate my Grandma’s crazy roll-making skills. This is completely inexplicable, considering the fact that frozen bread dough was being used. It drives me mad. I’d give just about anything to smell and taste my Grandma’s rolls again.
As frustrating as it is not being able to make them the way she did, it’s one of the reasons I love food. Memories. A breeze can come through and bring with it a scent from long ago that immediately transports you home. The taste of something new can flood your senses with days long since passed. Those are the things I cherish and anything that helps bring me back to those days, I welcome with open arms.
Since I’m unable to make decent rolls out of frozen dough, I’ve moved on to making my own from scratch. Even though these homemade rolls aren’t exactly like my Grandma’s, this is one of my favorite recipes and also happens to be one of the easiest.
These rolls taste rich from the butter and are a little sweet from the added honey. The inside is soft and tender with a sturdy outer shell. This subtle yet sweet roll is the perfect complement to any dinner. They also make the most perfectly sized slider rolls. They are fabulous for parties. I love making mini sandwiches and little sliders using this recipe, everyone loves them. Plus, they look adorable all lined up.
As dinner rolls, they taste incredible hot from the oven. The smell takes hold of the entire house and you’re salivating by the time you pull them from the oven. I think everyone can agree that fresh baked bread and rolls are one of the best smells on Earth. It’s
nearly impossible to not gobble one up the second they are out of the oven.
A great way to serve these is with some honey butter. It adds a little something extra and unexpected, plus it tastes fantastic!
Adapted from Artisan Breads at Home
1 1/2 cups milk, 90 F
1/2 teaspoon malt powder or syrup
2 2/3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast, instant dry
2/3 cup milk, 80 F
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons honey
1/3 cup soft butter
2 2/3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon salt
Combine milk and malt powder/syrup in a bowl to begin making your sponge. Mix flour and yeast together in a separate bowl. Combine all ingredients and mix by hand for about two minutes. This allows the gluten to develop. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30 minutes or until doubled in size and springs back slightly when touched lightly.
After your sponge has doubled in size, you can begin making your final dough. Add the sponge, honey, milk and butter to a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed for 1 minute to break up sponge. Add flour and salt to the mixture and attach a bread hook. Mix for 4 minutes on low speed, scraping down sides and flipping dough over twice. Increase speed to medium and continue mixing 4 additional minutes. Again, scraping down and flipping dough twice during this time. The dough will feel tacky and have full gluten development when you are done mixing.
Put dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to double in size. The dough will ferment in 45-60 minutes and will spring back slightly when touched.
On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 24 2 oz slider or dinner rolls. Roll each piece into a ball and place seam-side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Lightly brush rolls with egg wash then cover with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-45 minutes.
20 minutes before rolls are ready to bake, preheat oven to 450 F.
Right before baking, brush with egg wash again.
After placing trays in oven, reduce heat to 400 F. Bake for 14 minutes. Rotate trays and bake for an additional 4-8 minutes, until golden brown.