My Favorite Dinner Rolls show up at almost every celebration meal in my family. This Thanksgiving will be no exception. They are everything you could want in a dinner roll: light, flaky, flavorful, and versatile.
Keep reading to find out how this recipe has been updated (and improved) since it was first published on my site back in 2009. Go here if you are looking for the original My Favorite Dinner Rolls.
Just like 98% of my bread recipes, this one is written for a bread machine. For this reason, the directions will tell you how to mix, knead, and allow the dough to rise in a bread machine, then bake in a conventional oven. The whole process usually takes around 3 hours.
No bread machine? No worries! See the notes at the end of the recipe for converting using a stand mixer or making by hand.
What’s different about these, you ask?
- If you are among the many who tried the original “My Favorite Dinner Rolls” and loved them like we do, the first thing you might notice is the different shape. Cutting and slicing beats making little balls, especially for beginners. Admittedly, they don’t look quite as perfect, but that also means they won’t be mistaken for store-bought rolls.
- They’re more fun to eat, too. Who doesn’t love to unroll the layers of their dinner roll?
How Did the Recipe for My Favorite Dinner Rolls Change?
- Not so obvious are the changes I’ve made to the original recipe itself. Borrowing from the Tangzhong method, instructions are included for making a thick paste mixture with a portion of the milk and flour. This only adds a couple of minutes to the process. You will be rewarded with bread that is more tender and stays fresh longer. We’re talking 2 or 3 days of just-baked-freshness as compared to one day for most homemade breads without preservatives.
- The amount of sugar called for is reduced by a third from the original recipe. You won’t miss it. At least I don’t.
- One more thing….WAIT to add the softened butter until your machine beeps that it’s time for add-in’s (originally intended for nuts and raisins, etc.). Cook’s Illustrated magazine put me on to this idea. It makes the texture of these rolls somewhat flaky and almost brioche-like.
How To Make My Favorite Dinner Rolls With a Bread Machine:
Whisk 3 tablespoons of flour into 1/2 cup of milk. Cook in the microwave for 1+ minute, whisking every 30 seconds until mixture turns into a thick pudding consistency. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps.
Add remaining 1/2 cup milk to “pudding” and pour into your bread machine.
Add remainder of ingredients. Set machine on the Dough cycle and press “Start.”
Dough should look similar to this picture when the kneading has finished.
After dough cycle has completed, check that dough has risen to nearly double in original size. If not, leave the dough in the machine until it does.
When ready to roll out, two fingers poked in the dough will leave an indentation that won’t fill in.
Remove dough from pan to a lightly floured surface. Divide in half.
Roll each dough ball into a 13 x 9 inch rectangle.
Coat with soft butter.
Divide into 4 long strips, then make 1 cut through the middle of the strips to make 8 strips.
Roll each strip as tightly as possible.
Place rolls in a greased 8 or 9-inch pan in a spoke fashion.
Cover with a tea towel (or a cheap shower cap.) Allow rolls to rise until double before baking in oven preheated to 375 degree F .
If rolls are getting too brown before time is up, lay a piece of foil loosely on top. However, be sure they are done in the middle before you pull them out of the oven. “Doughy” interiors will cause them to cave in as they cool.
Having difficulty knowing when your homemade bread is baked through? Buy yourself a quick-read digital thermometer. Bread should be around 185-190 degrees in the oven.
I highly recommend this method if you are an inexperienced baker or even if you are experienced. Since I started testing my bread with a thermometer, raw bread is past history in my kitchen.
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 3 cups unbleached flour, divided
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons bread machine or instant yeast
- 4 tablespoons softened butter (goes into dough) + 2 tablespoons for coating dough in step 2 and 1 tablespoon for glazing baked rolls
Making the Dough:
- Measure out 1 cup of milk. In a separate small bowl, measure out 3 cups flour.
- Make flour paste by whisking 3 tablespoons of the flour you just measured out and half of the milk (1/2 cup) together in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cook on High in the microwave for 1 minute, whisking every 30 seconds. Cook an additional 15-30 seconds, if necessary, until mixture is as thick as pudding.
- Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to the cooked milk/flour mixture and whisk energetically. It's OK if there are still some lumps. They will disappear in the mixing process. Add to the bread machine pan.
- Add egg, heavy cream or egg yolk, sugar, salt, softened butter, remaining flour, and yeast to the pan and select the dough cycle. Press "Start."
- When dough cycle finishes, check to see if dough has risen to double its original size. If so, remove it to a floured surface. If not, allow dough to remain in the machine until it is double, then remove and proceed with the next step.
Making and Baking the Rolls:
- Divide dough in half. Form each half into a neat ball, flouring the surface you are working on as needed to prevent sticking.
- Use a rolling pin to roll one dough ball into a 13 x 9 rectangle. Coat with very soft butter. Divide into 4 equally-sized strips long-ways, then divide each strip in half short-ways. You should have 8 total strips. Roll each strip starting from either of the short ends.
- Place rolls into a greased 8-inch pan. Repeat step two with the other half of the dough. Cover with a tea towel or cheap shower cap and set aside to raise again until almost double. This will probably take an hour, plus or minus, depending on the room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F when you think the rolls are almost ready. Bake rolls on the middle shelf of your oven for 15-17 minutes or until nicely browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Turn rolls out onto a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes. Brush all over with melted butter. (If you leave rolls in the pan too long after baking, they will sweat and become soggy on the bottom.)
Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
- To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add all ingredients to the bowl (except butter) in the same order listed. Turn on low to mix all ingredients until moistened. Using dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Add softened butter and continue to knead with mixer until fully incorporated. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe.
- If making by hand, combine all ingredients(except butter) into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Gradually knead in softened butter until completely incorporated into the dough. Place dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe
- Please note: If you substitute regular yeast for instant or bread machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape rolls.
- King Arthur Flour Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 5 Pound
- Zojirushi BB-PDC20BA Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Breadmaker, 2 lb. loaf of Bread, Stainless Steel/Black
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 150 Total Fat: 6g Sodium: 194mg Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Protein: 4g