Really Crusty Bread Machine Rolls with a Secret Glaze

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Sneak Preview: Make these really Crusty Bread Machine Rolls with the help of your bread machine. They are like your favorite French Bread made into rolls. The secret to the crust is in the simple cornstarch glaze.

Bread machine crusty roll recipe

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Who can resist freshly baked French bread rolls with a thin, crisp, and crackling crust? Not me, for sure. Show me some marshmallow-soft salted butter, and I’m set for dinner. These are the perfect accompaniment to vegetable soup or gumbo.

Instead of a pan of hot water or another fancy system, the secret is in the glaze. So please keep reading to find out how easy it is to get a crackly crust on these distinctive dinner rolls.

If you don’t have a bread machine, no worries! See the recipe notes for how to use a stand mixer or your hands to make these rolls.

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What’s the secret to the crispy crust?

  1. The glaze is a cornstarch and water mixture, microwaved until thick, then cooled. For me, it’s easier than spraying water into my oven or using oven tiles or other special equipment to produce crusty bread.
  2. Bake the rolls for 35 minutes to get the crispiest crust.
  3. Poking the rolls with a toothpick also contributes to a crispy crust but it’s optional.
  4. If you want the crust even crispier, set your baked rolls in an air fryer for a couple of minutes before you are ready to eat them.

Ingredients and substitutions:

ingredients needed for this bread
  • WATER: If you have spring water, some people think it makes better bread. I have used tap water for years with success. Warm water is not essential. The friction of the paddles as they knead the dough will warm the ingredients in a hurry.
  • OLIVE OIL: I use extra-virgin olive oil because I always have it on hand. Avocado oil or another vegetable oil like canola make a good substitute.
  • SALT: Table salt or sea salt is my first choice. If you use Kosher salt, add a 1/4 teaspoon more. I encourage you not to cut back on the salt as it lends this bread a delightful flavor.
  • SUGAR: Use granulated sugar. It’s possible you could substitute honey but I haven’t tested it in this recipe.
  • FLOUR: The combination of unbleached all-purpose flour and bread flour results in an excellent texture. If you don’t have one or the other, use the one you have for all of the flour requirements. If possible, weigh the flour with a digital scale.
  • YEAST: This recipe was formulated with a bread machine or instant yeast. You can substitute active dry yeast if that’s what you have. See the recipe notes for details.
  • CORNSTARCH: The cornstarch glaze is the secret to the crunchy crust. I have not experimented with any other thickeners.

How to make Crusty French Rolls with a bread machine:

all ingredients added to the bread machine pan except for glaze ingredients
Add all the dough ingredients into the bread machine pan in the order given.
dough starting to clump immediately
Select the DOUGH cycle and press START. Lift the lid during the first minute and check to make sure the paddles are engaged correctly and the dough is starting to clump.
dough should become smooth and elastic as the kneading progresses
Recheck the dough 12-15 minutes later. Open the lid and watch the dough knead. It should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly. If the dough is too wet and sticky, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing a couple of minutes for the dough to absorb the flour before adding more.

If the dough is too dry and rides freely on to of the post, add liquid one tablespoon at a time, allowing a couple of minutes between each addition for the dough to absorb the liquid before adding more. Read more about this secret to making amazing bread with a bread machine.

preparing the secret glaze for the French rolls
While the dough rises in the bread machine, prepare the glaze with water and cornstarch so it can cool before you need it. Measure the water and cornstarch into a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Stir with a whisk.
Dough should double in size by the end of the DOUGH cycle.
At the end of the DOUGH cycle, the dough should look puffy and double its original size.

Shaping the rolls:

pulling the dough out of a bread machine unto a floury surface (a silicone baking mat)
Pull the dough out of the pan and onto a lightly floured surface. I use a silicone baking mat because it makes clean-up easy.
lightly knead and shape dough into a ball
Lightly knead the dough and shape it into a ball.
dividing dough into 6 or 8 equal portions
Use a knife or bench scraper to divide the dough into six or eight equal pieces.
shaping each roll into a ball
Shape all portions into round balls. See this in action in the accompanying video.
cover rolls for a final rise.
Cover shaped rolls with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap lightly sprayed with oil. Set aside for the final rise. The rolls need to expand to almost double their original size and get puffy.

Preheat your oven to 375˚F (190˚C) about 15 minutes before you think the rolls will be ready.

glazing rolls
Lightly glaze each roll. Try not to let any glaze drip or run.
scoring rolls.
After glazing, score the rolls. (Scoring is optional.)
poking rolls with a toothpick
Use a toothpick or cake tester to punch 5 or 6 tiny holes in each roll. Don’t worry if the rolls look deflated. They will pop spring back when they hit your hot oven. This is optional. If you forget about or don’t want to mess with it, no problem.
baked rolls served with butter.
Bake at 375˚F (190˚C) for 35 minutes or until the crust is crispy and golden brown.

FAQ about French bread dinner rolls:

How do I re-crisp French roll bread?

Give your baked rolls a quick trip back into the oven just before dinner to re-crisp. Warm the rolls for about 5 minutes at 400˚F. Turn off the oven, and leave the rolls inside for another 5 minutes. This technique also works in a toaster oven when you are only re-heating one or two rolls.

Can I make bread bowls for soup with this recipe?

Yes. Read all about making bowls with this bread.

How can I avoid a mess when slicing crusty rolls or loaves?

See the picture below for a special slotted cutting board designed to catch the crumbs. It also makes a convenient cooling rack and/or serving tray. If you don’t have such a tray, place your cutting board on top of a towel to catch the crumbs.

cutting really crusty rolls on a slatted cutting board

Can I freeze these rolls?

Yes. Double-wrap them to prevent freezer burn and eat them within a month for the best flavor.


Parting Thoughts: If you like this roll recipe, you will also love my popular French bread recipe seen here: Crusty French Loaf. If you want chewy sourdough rolls with a crunchy crust, don’t miss these. Both are mixed with a bread machine, then baked in a conventional oven for the best homemade bread you’ll be proud to share.

This recipe was closely adapted from my favorite bread machine cookbook, “One Hundred Years of Bread” by Sidney Brockman Carlisle .

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon! Paula

Really Crusty Rolls

Really Crusty Bread Machine Rolls Recipe

I can think of no better accompaniment for stew, gumbo, or chowder than these Crusty dinner rolls with a soft interior. Cornstarch glaze is the secret.
5 from 68 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins
Course Bread
Servings 8 large rolls

Video

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup water - 227 gr
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil - 13 gr
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon table or sea salt - 9 gr
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar - 8 gr
  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour - 180 gr
  • 1-1/2 cup bread flour - 180 gr
  • 1 teaspoon bread machine or instant yeast - 3 gr

Glaze

  • ¼ cup water - 57 gr
  • ½ teaspoon cornstarch - 1.25

Instructions
 

Dough:

  • Pour cool water into your bread machine pan with the blade in place.
  • Add olive oil, salt, sugar, flour, and yeast to the pan. Select the DOUGH cycle and press START.
  • Check the dough at least twice during the mixing and kneading phase by lifting the lid to take a peek. The first time, look immediately after the machine starts mixing to ensure the paddles are engaged correctly. 
    Look again 15 minutes into the DOUGH cycle to assess the consistency of the dough. For most recipes, the dough should stick to the side, then pull away cleanly.
    If your dough is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
    Conversely, if the dough is too dry, add one tablespoon of liquid at a time until the dough looks just right. Read more about this surprising secret to success with a bread machine here.

Shaping the rolls:

  • When the DOUGH cycle is finished, if the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the pan to a floured surface. If the dough has not risen enough, leave it in the machine until it does before proceeding.
  • For dinner rolls, divide the dough in half (2 pieces), then cut each half (4 pieces), and finally, divide those 4 pieces in half again resulting in 8 rolls.
  • Cover a cookie baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Lightly scatter cornmeal over the sheet before placing the round dough balls onto the cookie sheet–evenly spaced from each other.
  • Cover dough balls with a tea towel and set them in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until risen almost double.
  • Preheat oven to 375˚F (190˚C).

Making the glaze:

  • Mix the water and cornstarch in a 2-cup pyrex container and heat in a microwave for 2+ minutes on HIGH or until thick. Whisk it well.

Preparing the rolls for baking:

  • Brush rolls with cooled cornstarch glaze. Use a serrated knife to make a small gash in the top, if desired, but it's not required.
  • Use a toothpick to poke 5 or 6 holes in each roll. Don't worry if the roll looks deflated. It will pop right back when it hits the oven.
  • Bake for 35 minutes until the crust is crisp and brown.
  • Move the rolls to a wire rack to cool.

Notes

  • To my fellow yogurt-makers: For a faux sourdough flavor, try substituting whey drained off yogurt to produce Greek yogurt for the water in this recipe.
  • Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:
    • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer:  Add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on LOW to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Then, using a dough hook, turn the speed to 2 or 3. Continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
    • If making by hand: Combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead with your hands until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading will likely take 10-20 minutes, depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
    • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Really Crusty Bread Machine Rolls Recipe
Serving Size
 
1 roll
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
78
Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
2
g
3
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Sodium
 
148
mg
6
%
Carbohydrates
 
13
g
4
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keywords: bread machine, crusty bread, yeast rolls, French bread rolls
Like this recipe? Thanks for leaving a 5-star rating inside the recipe at the top! 🤩

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64 Comments

  1. woo, HOO!! I’m running to the kitchen to start this now! I don’t normally save my whey but just did a batch of yogurt and did! I love the thought of the crusty exterior!!! Is the 1 tsp of yeast true? Very excited ! Thank you!!!

  2. These look and sound so good! I can’t wait to try them.

  3. What an interesting method for making a nice crust! We love crusty rolls, and this sounds like an easy way to make them. They’d be great with all of the soups we’ve been having in this cold weather! 🙂

  4. SimplySusan says:

    Would be so good with soup but makes me wonder if you have a good bread machine recipe for bread bowls.

  5. Arthur in the Garden! says:

    Wow! I love bread and this recipe looks easy and tempting!

  6. Nice rolls, and I love the tip on using cornstarch with water who knew? Thanks for sharing these I must try this out soon.

  7. making them today Tuesday jan 28/13 never heard of using cornstarn and water like that idea thanks
    diane

  8. I’m also making these today. So far so good 🙂 however I didn’t have cornmeal so I’m doing without. The cornstarch / water slurry is very interesting. Can’t wait to eat these with my soup. I love this blog. Thank you so much for doing this.

  9. My bread machine directions say to put in the yeast first,then flour, etc. ending with the liquid. I’ve noticed your recipes, including this one, start with the liquid and end with the yeast. Does it matter which way I put the ingredients in? Thanks for helping out a novice. I made my first loaf of bread using the combined bread machine and oven. It came out great!

    1. Hi Beaner,
      You ask a very interesting question. I generally say to follow the directions for your particular bread machine as far as the order of ingredients. All of machines have specified the flour, then the yeast last. I can’t imagine doing otherwise if you are using the timer because you don’t want your yeast to get wet. If not using the timer, I can’t imagine why it would matter. Glad your loaf came out good. May you have many more happy bread-making experiences.

    2. Yes it matters! You do not want the yeast to get wet initially in a bread machine.

  10. I just took these out of the oven. It’s a snow day here and I was looking for a roll to go with the soups (clam chowder and also beef vegetable) I have simmering. Wish I could include a picture but I don’t know if that’s an option. Yes, I took pictures because they are beautiful 🙂 So happy with how they came out!! They look really good, they are crusty on the outside, soft on the inside… and they taste AMAZING. I always come back to your site for bread recipes. Thank you for another fantastic recipe!

    1. Thanks for the testimonial Andrea!

    2. Why do you use 1/2 AP flour and 1/2 bread flour? Why not use all bread flour?

      1. Hi Tricia,
        You can use all bread flour if you like. I like the texture of the combined flours in these rolls since they are not meant to be light and fluffy. If you try both, I would love to know your favorite.

  11. made these tonite. So good. I brushed mine with butter and it only took 20 minutes.

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you for the Metric measurements 🤩

      1. You’re welcome, Margaret. Anytime you find one of my recipes without them, send me a message and I’ll covert it ASAP.

  12. These are great rolls! I made mine by hand using whey in place of the water. In order to get the nice crust, the rolls definitely need close to 35 minutes, which I initially thought would be too long a baking time. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  13. I made the glaze with 1/4 cup of water and then realized there are no units on it implying it should be 1/4 teaspoon but that doesn’t seem like enough water. Should it be cup or teaspoon? Anyone know?

    1. Hi Susan,
      My mistake–which I have corrected. You were right to assume 1/4 CUP of water. Hope your rolls turn out to your liking.

  14. Thank you, Paula! We’re going to use them for pulled pork sandwiches tonight. They’re in the oven now and smell amazing! Thank you so much for your recipes. I’m new to bread machines and I’m learning a lot on your site.

  15. thebakingathome says:

    They are great, no mistakes in measurements! Really nice trick the cornstarch! Thanks for adding this recipe in one of my favorites of bread making! Real tasty rolls!

  16. I have been trying out different recipes for crusty rolls, but they never turned out right. Now I will never have to look for one again!!! Thanks Paula for sharing. These rolls were just yummy and the crust on top was just like your picture!!! The cornstarch mixture, as well as the entire recipe was a bomb!!!

  17. I made these last night. They came out perfect and everyone loved them. Thank you for the recipe.

  18. I am making these for my mom. Do you have any freezing suggestions? Should I freeze after cooking, freeze before? If freezing before what about the glaze? I would like to make it as easy for her as possible? I am hoping it will be a taste of home (UK) for her.

  19. Christine says:

    Thank you for these wonderful bread recipes. I’ve only recently started making bread again and love making the dough in the breadmaker and baking in the oven. We were not fans of the bread baked in the breadmaker so this is exactly what I was looking for. These rolls were great! Next time I will use part whole wheat flour or 12-grain. Have you done that before?
    Our favourite so far is the sunflower oatmeal bread – I skip the sunflowers and substitute Whole Wheat flour for part of the white flour. A very much loved bread here. Thank you for making breadmaking so easy!!!

  20. I made these for Thanksgiving, with no changes to the recipe. They were a big hit! Easy, and perfect, tender and crusty, as promised.

  21. This afternoon I folowed your recipe to make the crusty rolls Your Very special hint of the cornflour soloution brushed on the rolls just before putting them in the oven was Brilliant- Earlier I had to put a pan of boiling water in the oven and still did not acheive the reults, but with this method they came OUT just Amazing! THANKS A LOT , really appreciate it

    1. Glad you liked them SS. I think I agree with you that the font is light when you are typing a comment. Will remedy that ASAP. Thanks for letting me know.

  22. 5 stars
    When I type the fonts so light that I can barely read and so made a spelling error, is it your website or soething wrong on my side! The spelling should read Followed
    Thanks

  23. 5 stars
    When I type the fonts so light that I can barely read and so made a spelling error, is it your website or soething wrong on my side! The spelling should read Followed
    Thanks

  24. Can you ever over-proofed these babies?? Because I’ve forgotten to set my timer ?

    1. Yes, Ju, you definitely can over-proof. If that is what happened, push the dough down and let it rise again, just not as much. When your bread is over-proofed, it will usually collapse on top and/or the sides. Hope this helps.

      1. Thanks Paula. They turned out PERFECT! Family requested to make again ?

  25. SewMagical says:

    5 stars
    My first time making rolls. Came out perfect! I added poppy seeds to the top before baking.

  26. Hi Paula! Greetings from Nova Scotia, Canada! Can I refrigerate this dough overnight after the dough cycle ends? If so what would I need to do the next day? Do I need the cold dough to warm up before shaping (like your pizza dough) into rolls or do I shape them cold and allow to rise if so for how long? Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I would love to adapt this recipe into an overnight refrigerated all-purpose dough. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi MJ, I have never tried it with this dough, but in general, you can do it with most dough recipes. Worth a try. I would not think it is necessary to wait for the dough to warm before shaping into rolls. However, if you shape the cold dough into rolls, it might take an additional hour or two for them to proof until almost double in size. I can’t give you a specific time. It will depend on the ambient temperature where your rolls are rising as well as the size of the rolls, how long you took to roll them out, how cold your baking container is, etc. There’s a good chance that refrigerating overnight will improve the flavor of your rolls.

      1. Paula, I have just submitted a 5 star review. Thank you for answering my questions on refrigerating this dough – it was a great success! I made a biga the night before using 1 cup of the flour and ½ cup whey (instead of water) and ¼ teaspoon yeast. I added it to the recipe reducing your quantities of flour and water by those amounts. After the dough cycle was complete I plopped the dough into a deep greased glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. Next morning I divided the dough into 8 equal pieces, formed the buns and placed them on a lined baking sheet to rise for 1 hour 15 minutes in the oven with the oven light on. I find the oven with the oven light on is the perfect proofing environment. After they had doubled in size I placed a shallow bowl of water on the bottom rack of the oven (for steam) and preheated the oven to 425F. I brushed the buns with the cornstarch glaze, slashed them slightly and baked them for almost 20 minutes. The tops are “crackly” and the interiors are soft and chewy. I hope my feedback helps.

        1. Thank you, thank you MJ. You’re the best!! I love that you used whey. Yes. Perfection. I’m going to try it myself.

  27. 5 stars
    Paula, thank you for answering my questions on refrigerating this dough – it was a great success! I made a biga the night before using 1 cup of the flour and ½ cup whey (instead of water) and ¼ teaspoon yeast. I added it to the recipe reducing your quantities of flour and water by those amounts. After the dough cycle was complete I plopped the dough into a deep greased glass bowl, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. Next morning I divided the dough into 8 equal pieces, formed the buns and placed them on a lined baking sheet to rise for 1 hour 15 minutes in the oven with the oven light on. I find the oven with the oven light on is the perfect proofing environment. After they had doubled in size I placed a shallow bowl of water on the bottom rack of the oven (for steam) and preheated the oven to 425F. I brushed the buns with the cornstarch glaze, slashed them slightly and baked them for almost 20 minutes. The tops are “crackly” and the interiors are soft and chewy. I hope my feedback helps.

  28. 3 stars
    I tried these for the first time yesterday and I have a second batch proofing in my oven as I write this. These rolls are fantastic and so easy. The recipe is perfect as is. Yesterday, I made the rolls a bit smaller to serve with dinner; today I made the larger size to use as buns with turkey-spinach-feta burgers. This just might be my new favorite bread recipe. I am all Italian and was raised on bread that is very much like yours; my family raved over these and that is high praise indeed coming from a bunch of Italians who have very strong opinions about good food. Thank you so much!

  29. Hi! I’m going to be making these rolls tomorrow- very excited! Was just wondering, if I knead the dough by hand how long should I allow it to rise until it is double in size?

    1. Hi Nicole,
      It’s difficult to tell you an exact time as it depends on several factors: the temperature of the dough when you start the rising process, the ambient temperature where the dough is sitting, and the kind of yeast you use. In general, it takes about an hour to an hour and a half. Check it after an hour to see if it has doubled in size.

      Do you know how to check if the dough has risen enough? Poke two fingers into the dough and pull them back out. The holes should start to fill in SLOWLY when the dough is ready. If the holes don’t fill in at all, the dough has risen too much already. If the dough bounces back and the holes disappear almost immediately, it needs to rise some more. I hope that helps. Happy Bread-eating!

  30. I made these yesterday. They were excellent with a tender inside and crunchy crust. I appreciated your tips for troubleshooting the dough’s consistency.

    1. Hi Renee,

      Good deal. Always happy to hear when a recipe works out for you. Thank you for writing.

  31. These are excellent! I have made them 3 times in the last 2 weeks. The first batch we just couldn’t stop eating. The second was cut up and used for fondue dipping for our annual NYE celebration (just the 2 of us) and the third is being used for small sandwiches. Thank-you so much for such an easy, delicious and consistent recipe.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      I like your idea to use it for fondue dipping. What a great tradition! Gotta remember this. Thanks for writing.

  32. This sounds great for hoagies. If this recipe makes 8 buns might it make 6 hoagies?

    1. Hi Vivan,

      Sure, I think it would make 6 hoagies, although I’ve never tried it. Do you want your hoagies to be really crusty? If not you could leave the cornstarch glaze off.

  33. Tira Wood says:

    What temperature should the microwaved water be.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Tira,

      If you’re talking about the cup of water at the beginning of the recipe, room temperature is fine. The water/cornstarch mixture is cooked until it thickens. Have never checked the temperature on that mixture.

  34. Hi there Paula!
    Just whipping these up and need to confirm the gram discrepancy between the sugar and salt. Both 1.5 tsp, but sugar is 18g, and salt is 9g? Seems like a big difference for 2 substances that are similar in texture?
    I’m using rosemary salt for a little variation! Thank you fo all the awesome recipes! My family just loves that I’ve taken up making bread, and I couldn’t have done it without you!!!

    1. Tia,
      Thank you for catching this and taking the time to write. The sugar is wrong–should be 6 gr. The salt is correct at 9 grams. I use the conversion table on the King Arthur Baking site if you ever want to check an ingredient for yourself. https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart

      Also, thank you so much for your kind words. You made my day!

  35. Leela Manilal says:

    I am using Panasonic
    Will I get fruit bread recipes

    1. Leela,
      I’m not sure what you mean by “fruit bread recipes.” If you are talking about traditional banana bread that is a “quick” bread with baking powder and/or baking soda, I don’t have recipes like that on my website. My recipes are strictly for yeast breads, and some of them do have fruit in them. My banana yeast bread is fabulous if I do say so myself, but it’s not a cake-like bread.

  36. 5 stars
    Hi Paula, may I know the temperature of the water after being heated? As I don’t have a microwave. Thanks.

    1. Hi Ju,

      Let me apologize in advance for all the recipes I use a microwave in. I love microwaves and can’t imagine life without them.

      In this recipe, the water will have to come to a boil (212˚F) to thicken the mixture. Use a small pan and it shouldn’t take long.

  37. 5 stars
    During proofing then only realised I didn’t have cornflour in the cupboard 😂 so baked these using the “spraying water into oven” method, bit messy 🤭… But taste as wonderful – – even when heated up in oven from the freezer 🤩