These soft, flaky dinner rolls are by far one of my favorite recipes to make. This recipe does not take a ton of active time in the kitchen and results in rolls that please everyone, every time. These rolls are baked pretty often over at my place but they also are my go to side dish to bring to a dinner invite.
If you are intimidated by bread recipes like I used to be, this is the perfect place to start. These dinner rolls are (almost) impossible to mess up. That being said, I'm going to let you in on some of my tips for making sure you get beautiful, delicious rolls from this recipe.
When you warm your milk, it is vital that it is within the temperature range of 100-115°F. Anything higher will kill the yeast and anything lower may not properly activate it. I highly recommend testing the milk with a cooking thermometer before adding the yeast and sugar.
Do not skip or skimp on the rising times. Both rising times are necessary to get bread with the proper texture and flavor. This dough could be made ahead if that better fits your schedule. To do so, follow the recipe until step six. After shaping the rolls, place them in greased pan and tightly cover before putting them in the fridge for up to twelve hours. The next day, place the rolls on the counter and allow to rise for one to two hours before baking.
As I mentioned before, these are very popular at my house. So every once in a while, I like to change up the flavor of the rolls by adding slight variations to the base recipe. There are endless variations to bread and you can basically add anything you desire, dried fruits, nuts, cheeses, the list of possibilities goes on. My three favorite options are Garlic Rolls, Italian Herb Rolls, and Caramelized Onion Rolls.
Garlic Rolls - Add one teaspoon of garlic powder to the bread dough. Add two cloves of minced garlic and two tablespoons of unsalted butter to a small bowl and melt in the microwave. Brush baked rolls with mixture.
Italian Herb Rolls - Add a half teaspoon of the following spices to the bread dough: oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary. A mixture of any herbs you have will work, these are just my go-to's. Add one teaspoon of herbs to two tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter to brush over baked rolls.
Caramelized Onion Rolls - Cut one small onion and cook it in a skillet with an oil of your choosing. Cook on medium-high stirring occasionally and being careful not to let onions stick to the pan or blacken. This could take about thirty minutes. Let onions cool and add to the bread dough. You can add half and keep half for topping if you prefer.
You are ready to knock the socks off your family and guests. On to the recipe...
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Yields: About 16 rolls
1 cup whole milk, warmed
2 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, 1 packet
3 tbsp granulated sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
3 cups (375g) bread flour, all-purpose flour, or a mixture of both
Optional 1 large egg + 1 tbsp of water, for egg wash
Optional 2 tbsp, melted butter for topping
Warm milk in the microwave or on the stove until it reaches between 100° and 115°F. Add warmed milk, yeast, and sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk briefly, cover and let sit for 5 minutes. It should become foamy.
Add the butter, egg, salt, and half of the flour and mix until dough loosely comes together. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour and mix for about two minutes. If dough is too sticky add flour a little at a time until dough is workable.
Knead the dough. Using the dough hook attachment, set your stand mixer to medium-low for about 7 minutes. Alternatively, knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes. The dough should bounce back when poked.
Time for the first rise. Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Place the dough in the bowl and then turn it over so that both sides of the dough are coated in oil. Tightly cover it with plastic wrap or a bowl cover. Let rise for about 1 hour depending on the warmth of your environment. The dough should double in size.
Line and grease a 9x13inch baking dish or any preferred pan.
When dough is ready, push it down to release some of the gas bubbles. Lightly flour a workspace and divide the dough into 16 even pieces. Make less rolls if you don't have enough dough, you want them to be pretty even so each roll cooks at the same speed. Gently fold each corner of the dough piece into the center to form a ball, smooth it by rolling it on the floured surface.
Place rolls about an inch apart in prepared pan. Cover rolls with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for about an hour, or until rolls look puffy and full. The rolls should be touching at this point.
When rolls are almost ready, preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk egg and water together for egg wash, if desired. Gently brush rolls with egg wash, being careful not to deflate them.
Bake rolls on the bottom rack of even for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with optional butter topping. Best served hot!