After years of experimenting with ingredients and methods, my search for the perfect soft dinner roll ended with this recipe. These have a soft, fluffy texture and a buttery flavor with just a hint of sweetness. They're perfect.
The tender, soft texture of these rolls comes from the addition of instant potato flakes (who knew?). Powdered milk adds a layer of flavor. I learned to add these ingredients from a King Arthur's Flour dinner roll recipe, and they make all the difference. After serving these at numerous meals over the past few years, my family agrees that my search for the perfect dinner roll recipe is over. This is it.
Simplified method! I use rapid rise yeast to eliminate the need for proofing, and all of the ingredients can be added at once and mixed and kneaded at the same mixer speed, only stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. This dough comes together so easily, and it's a dream to work with. If making yeast rolls has seemed hard and intimidating before, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. My tips and detailed photos eliminate much of the guess work.
Make ahead convenience! You can make these rolls and bake them the same day, but they also can be made the day before and refrigerated in the pan before the last rise. Simply take them out of the fridge the next day, let them finish rising (they rise some while they're in the fridge), and they're ready to bake. This is especially helpful on those busy cooking days like Thanksgiving. It's such a relief to have most of the roll prep finished the day before. See pictures of a batch of make-ahead rolls further down in the post, after Step 11.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
view on Amazon: rapid rise yeast
Step 2. Pour water in bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle on the yeast, and add all of the remaining ingredients. (No need to proof the yeast!)
view on Amazon: KitchenAid stand mixer
Step 3. Use the dough hook and #2 mixer speed for all of the mixing and kneading. Mix until ingredients are uniformly combined and there are no visible dry bits in the bowl. This will take about 1 minute; the dry ingredients on the edges will gradually mix in--this is so easy!
Step 4. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue mixing/kneading for 5-7 additional minutes. When the dough is ready, it should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl but sticking to the bottom of the bowl. If your dough looks too thin, add flour a tablespoon at a time; if it looks too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. The dough should be fairly smooth, although it will have some visible flecks of potato flakes that will soften and cook in when the rolls bake. It should spring back some if you poke it with your finger.
Step 5. Transfer dough to a greased/oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled and puffy (approx. 1 hour).
Step 6. Gently press and deflate dough and form it into a ball. Place on a floured surface (I use a flour shaker) and cut ball into quarters using a large knife or scraper/chopper tool. Roll each quarter into a log and cut into 6 equal sections. (You can weigh each piece if you want them to be perfectly uniform. I don't normally bother with that and just eyeball it. Close is good enough for me.) Continue rolling and cutting remaining quarters until you have 24 pieces.
Step 7. To form the dough balls, first pull the sides around and pinch them together. Then roll dough in your hands to form a round shape.
Step 8. Place dough balls in buttered baking dish with the smoothest side on top. One batch of rolls fits in one 9x13 baking dish or two 8x8 baking dishes.
Step 9. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until puffy and close to doubled in size, approx. 1 hour.
Step 10. Bake for approx. 25 minutes until browned and center rolls are cooked through. If your rolls begin to brown too quickly, you can set a loose piece of foil over the top so they can continue cooking without getting too brown on top. If you're unsure if the center rolls are done, you can check their internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer--they should be 190 to 200° in the center.
Step 11. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a small bowl in the microwave and gently brush it over the tops of the hot rolls.
Done! I like to serve the rolls directly from the baking dish. It's easy, and the hot dish helps to keep the rolls warm. If you prefer to transfer the rolls to a basket or bowl, wait 5 minutes before gently removing them from the pan. They're delicate.
Below are photos of a batch of rolls I made a day ahead. It's so easy. Form the dough balls according to the directions above and put them in a buttered baking dish, but don't leave them out to rise. Instead, promptly cover and refrigerate them up to 24 hours ahead. The next day, approx. 2 1/2 hours before you want to serve the rolls, take them out of the fridge. They will have risen slightly in the fridge, but they'll likely need another 2 hours to rise enough to be ready to bake--the 1st hour brings them to room temperature, and the 2nd hour allows them to rise. The photos illustrate how much you can expect them to rise. They will puff up more as they bake.
These make-ahead rolls are every bit as good as the ones baked the same day the dough was made. That means you can prep your rolls the day before to relieve the stress of making them on the day of a big meal--like Thanksgiving.
Make-ahead rolls are convenient for regular weeknights, too. What I often do is divide the rolls between two 8x8 baking dishes, bake one for dinner that same evening and refrigerate the other one to bake the next evening for dinner. Freshly baked rolls 2 nights in a row--hard to beat that!
The rolls may be eaten warm or at room temperature. A little bit of butter is all they need. On the other hand, they already taste so buttery that you may not need to add more. Oh so yummy!
Reheating Rolls. These reheat well even when they're day-old. Wrap them in foil and heat them for 10-15 minutes in a 350° oven.
These rolls are always on our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables. Truth is, they'll elevate any meal. We love to dunk them in soup.
Make it a Yummy day!
4 Weight Watchers SmartPoints per roll