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Published December 6, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Believe it or not, dinner rolls are way easier than you may have thought. They’re buttery, soft, and seriously the best bread around!
There isn’t a kid out there who didn’t immediately reach for the rolls once they sat at the table. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just a great weeknight meal, homemade bread just makes the meal. If you haven’t made this yet, now is the time, my friends.
How to Work With Yeast
For some reason, folks get nervous when working with yeast.
- Can I mix it with salt?
- Is there enough sugar in it for the yeast to feed on?
- Is my liquid too hot or not hot enough?
I get these all the time, especially on my most popular bread recipe for an artisan country loaf. Once you use yeast 1 or 2 times, you will kick yourself at how easy it is to bake with.
- The most foolproof way to activate that yeast is by starting with a warm liquid. While most active yeasts call for a 105° to 110° optimal temperature, I usually go hotter, and here’s why.
- When you transfer the hot liquid to your mixing bowl, the bowl is almost always cold and immediately drops the temperature from 5° to 7°, making it perfect. Always account for stuff like that because if it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate.
- Next, simply stir in the sugar, followed by sprinkling in the yeast and whisking just until combined. Let this mixture sit for 4-6 minutes, and you’ll notice a little raft that forms at the top.
Bread Rising Trick
Some folks live in colder areas, and it’s harder to reach that optimal proofing temperature of 80° to 90°, especially in the winter. Well, I’ve got a trick for you, my friends.
- Once your dough has been kneaded and is in the bowl, you plan on letting it rise in. Cover it and place it in your unused oven. So yes, make sure it hasn’t been turned on at all.
- Next, close the door and simply turn the oven light on. The light will provide enough light to give the oven the perfect proofing environment for your bread to rise.
How Do You Make Dinner Rolls
- To start this recipe, add your hot milk between 112° and 115° and pour it into your standing mixer. Immediately add in some sugar, and sprinkle in your active yeast. Whisk the mixture and let it sit for 4-6 minutes or until a raft forms on the top.
- Add the hook attachment and turn the stand mixer to low while adding in the remaining sugar, butter, and salt.
- Slowly add the flour a few scoops at a time so that the mixer can catch up and mix all of the ingredients together. You don’t want to just dump everything in there at once.
- Add 1 egg at a time until mixed in, and then simply knead it on medium speed for 3-5 minutes.
- Next simply add your dough to a container, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and place in an un-used oven with the oven light on and let it proof for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Remove the dough from the oven and place it on a clean surface dusted with flour and punch it down to simply flatten it out. We want it to rise again, so this is why you do it.
Now it’s time to form them into dinner rolls!
Form 20 individual golf-sized dough balls and place them about 1” apart from each other in a greased and lined with parchment paper cookie sheet tray or 13×9 dish. Place a towel over the top of the bread and let it rise for 30 more minutes. You can absolutely place it back in the unused oven with the oven light on.
Remove the towel and brush the tops of the dinner rolls with a simple egg wash of whisked egg and milk. This will help them brown up beautifully. Bake the dinner rolls in the oven at 350° for 25-30 minutes. They should be golden brown on top and soft but cooked in the middle.
Brush on some melted unsalted butter, sprinkle a little sea salt, and have it, my friends!
Make-Ahead of Time
You can absolutely make these dinner rolls ahead of time. You would get them all the way until they are formed into individual little dough balls and placed in a greased parchment paper-lined pan.
Place them in the refrigerator until about 90 minutes before you are ready to eat them.
- Take them out of the refrigerator and let them sit for 60 minutes to get up to room temperature.
- Bake in the oven at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes
Dinner Roll Topping Variations
There are quite a few things you can add to the top of these dinner rolls to make them unique. Here are some of my favorites:
- Butter and Herbs – When the rolls are finished, simply brush them on top of them with a combination of melted butter and fresh herbs. I would use thyme, parsley, chives, or rosemary.
- Garlic – The same as above; however, use garlic instead of herbs and brush the tops.
- Cheese – Once the rolls come out of the oven, immediately sprinkle on some shredded cheese as it will melt immediately. I would use parmesan, asiago, or cheddar.
Bread Making Questions and Answers
How do I know when it’s done rising?
- Bread, in most cases, is usually done rising once it’s doubled its size.
Can I use Instant instead of Active yeast?
- Yes, you can; instant yeast can go with liquid up to 130° and does not need a second rise once your bread has been formed.
What if there is no raft?
- As long as your yeast hasn’t expired and your liquid is between that optimal 105° to 110°, you will be ok.
How do I know when the bread is done?
- Bread should have a nice thin or thick brown crust on top with a cooked soft center. There should be no raw dough.
CHEF NOTES + TIPS
- It is best to reheat these in the oven at 350° for 4 to 6 minutes or until warm.
More Amazing Bread Recipes
- Homemade Pita Bread Recipe
- Homemade White Bread
- French Boule with Poolish
- Kamut Flour Bread with Biga
Homemade Dinner Rolls Recipe
- 1 ½ cups whole milk at 115° + 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 packet active yeast
- 7 tablespoons unsalted melted butter + more for brushing
- pinch of sea salt
- 4 ¼ cups All Purpose Flour
- 3 large eggs
- Add the 1 ½ cups hot milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and yeast to a standing mixer with the hook attachment. Whisk with a whisk until combined and let it sit for 4-6 minutes or when a raft forms.
- Add the remaining sugar, 7 tablespoons of melted butter, and sea salt.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour in 4 or so batches until combined.
- Add 2 eggs until mixed in, and then knead for 3-5 minutes.
- Cover and let rise until it has doubled in size for 60 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and form 20 small golf ball-sized dough balls and place 1” apart in a greased and parchment paper-lined cookie sheet tray or 13×9 dish.
- Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 more minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and 2 tablespoons of whole milk until combined.
- Brush the tops of the bread with the egg wash and bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until browned on top and soft and cooked in the middle.
- Brush with unsalted melted butter and sprinkle on sea salt.
- Serve warm.