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Dinner Rolls Recipe

Dinner rolls, or just “rolls”, was the first ever successful bread that I have baked. My attempts to bake these were a hit and miss in the past. There were times when they would rise, and there were times when they won’t, even when I leave them for over an hour.

Right now, during the COVID-19 quarantine period, I have some extra time to bake some goods for personal consumption. My husband being at home is extra motivation. Baking something I could share with someone is always more fun.

In the few times that I attempted to bake bread rolls during quarantine, I’ve taken note of 2 things that allowed me to consistently bake fluffy bread:

  1. Don’t add too much flour
  2. If the dough doesn’t seem to rise, heat up your oven, turn it off, and then let the dough rise in the oven.

If you add too much flour to the dough by accident, it will not rise properly. Based on my [little] experience, we can fix this during the first rise of the dough: preheat your oven, cover the bowl that contains the dough with wet tea towel, turn off oven, and then place the bowl inside the oven. Make sure to shut the oven door. This helps because it provides added warmth and moisture, which yeast needs to make the bread dough rise.

I’m not good at writing recipes and I’m not an expert at baking, but I hope the following recipe helps someone. Please don’t hesitate to post a comment for tips on bread-making, or if something seems amiss. 🙂

Dinner Rolls

I personally enjoy making this for breakfast, snack, or for serving with stew. I don't use an electric mixer on this since it's not a big batch — only a wooden spoon and my hands.
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp oil, for greasing a bowl (this is where the dough will rise the first time)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp instant dry yeast (I use Eagle brand instant dry yeast)
  • 2 and 1/2 Tbsp white sugar (35 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (use 1/4 if your butter is salted)
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (you need about 43°C; any hotter milk may kill the yeast)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter (35g — you may use salted, but remember to halve the amount of salt you're using)
  • 1 piece medium egg, lightly beaten then separated into halves (after separating, each should be about 27g; one half will be mixed into the bread dough, and the other half will be the egg wash)
  • 1/2 tsp water (for egg wash)

Instructions

  • Grease the bottom and sides of a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all purpose flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, butter, and half an egg. Make sure that your milk is warm but not too hot to avoid killing the yeast.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon or your clean hands until the flour is well incorporated, and then keep mixing for 2-4 more minutes until a ball of dough is formed. The dough should still be sticky but begins to pull away from the sides of your mixing bowl.
  • Knead the dough for about 2-4 minutes. Signs that you've kneaded enough: the dough has become smoother, and if you stretch it into a thin sheet between your fingers it should stretch into a paper-thin film without breaking.
  • Form the dough into a ball and then transfer to the greased bowl that you prepared earlier. Try to coat the ball of dough with oil.
  • Cover this bowl with tea towel or beeswax wrap (plastic wrap alternative). Leave it in a warm area for 30 minutes.
    When my dough still hasn't doubled in size after 30 minutes, I preheat an oven, turn it off, and then let my dough rise inside the slightly heated oven for 15-20 minutes. Make sure to turn it off while the dough is in there.
  • Do the poke test: poke the middle of the risen dough with an oiled finger. If the dough springs back right away, it needs more time to rise.
  • Grease an 9-inch square baking pan, or any pan equivalent in volume.
  • Lightly punch down the dough to deflate it, then divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball.
  • Transfer the small balls of dough into the greased baking pan, and then cover with tea towel or beeswax wrap. Let it rise for another 30 minutes in a warm place.
  • Remove the cover from the pan. Preheat oven to 175 (For convection oven, try 100).
  • Mix 1/2 tsp water with half an egg to make the egg wash. Brush the top of the dough with this mixture.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the top. (For convection oven, bake for 12-15 minutes)

Notes

To test the temperature of milk without thermometer, I carefully and slowly dip a finger into the heated milk. If I’m able to stand the heat for 2 seconds but not longer, then it should be good to go.
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