Baking your own bread is deliciously rewarding. These ultra-soft, ultra-fluffy dinner rolls are the perfect recipe for beginners and pros alike. These are the type of rolls you can just tear apart and slather with butter for the perfect side to any meal.
The secret to fluffy rolls is in the rising and the kneading stages. The dough needs to rise twice for at least one hour each time. You also have to knead the dough for longer than you think! It may sound daunting, but these dinner rolls are easy-peasy. Get ready to say goodbye to supermarket rolls once and for all!
Ingredients in Dinner Rolls
- Milk: dairy milk naturally contains sugar (lactose) that the yeast will feed on. However, because this recipe adds additional sugar, you can use water if necessary.
- Caster sugar / superfine sugar: or regular white sugar. This dissolves easily into the milk and provides a food source for the yeast.
- Dried active yeast: make sure it is in-date and measured correctly.
- Unsalted butter: reduce the added salt if using salted butter.
- High-protein (bread) flour: higher protein flour will give you the fluffiest rolls and the best dough. You can use plain flour, but your rolls may be denser or rise less.
- Salt: adjust according to preference
These dinner rolls are best served fresh. However, you can keep these rolls stored un-refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
How To Make Dinner Rolls
Once you've nailed the dough-making process, you can put together a batch of bread in no time at all. Follow the steps below to get started.
1. Once you have your shaggy dough, turn it out onto a lightly floured bench top.
2. Knead for at least 8 minutes (and up to 10 minutes) by stretching out the dough with the palm of your hand and folding it back in on itself. Slowly incorporate just enough flour to make the dough elastic and workable.
3. Your dough should be smooth, elastic and springy after kneading. Shape your kneaded dough into a ball and place into a well greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough ball and cover with clingwrap (or a damp tea towel).
4. Allow it to rise in a warm place (40-45 C / 105-115 F) for at least 1 hour! This is important to make the rolls fluffy! I just put the bowl of dough in the oven on the lowest heat.
5. Punch out any excess air and lightly knead the risen dough into a rectangle.
6. Divide into 12 even pieces.
7. Use the pinching technique to shape the dough pieces into rolls: grab the outer edges of a piece of dough and pull then inwards then 'pinch' them together at the top. Repeat until the underside of the dough ball is smooth.
8. Prepare a floured baking tray.
9. Place dough pinch-side-down in the floured baking tray.
10. Grease the top of the rolls and cover, then allow to rise in a warm place for another 1 hour. Look how fluffy they are!
11. Glaze the risen rolls with a combination of whisked egg yolk and warm milk.
12. All shiny! Bake at 200 C / 390 F until golden brown. When you tap the top of a roll, it should sound hollow inside. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tray before serving - then tear straight into them!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why isn't my dough rising?
Make sure to let the dough rise for at least the full hour in both the first and second rise. If your house is colder, it may even take longer. Make sure the dough doubles in size.
Can I use a dough hook attached to an electric mixer to knead the dough?
Yes, mix on low speed for 2 minutes, slowly adding the extra ½ cup of flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
My dough is sticky
If your dough is sticky after persistent kneading, slowly knead in more flour (1 tablespoon at a time) until the dough reaches the desired texture.
My dough is dry and stiff
If your dough is dry, you can knead in 1 tablespoon of milk or water at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
How do I make sweet Hawaiian rolls?
For sweet, Hawaiian-style dinner rolls, increase the amount of sugar to ¼ cup.
For the Rolls
- 1 ¼ cups (313 mL) milk
- 2 tablespoon (40 g) caster / superfine sugar (use ¼ cup / 60 g if you like sweeter rolls)
- 2 teaspoon (7 g / 1 sachet) dried active yeast
- 60 g (2 oz / ¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 3 ½ cups bread flour (see notes for substitution)
- 2 teaspoon (10 g) salt
For the Glaze
- 2 tablespoon (40 mL) milk
- 1 large egg
- Sift 3 cups of flour and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate heat-proof jug, microwave the milk for 30 seconds on high power or until quite warm (around 40°C / 105°F) . Stir in the caster sugar and yeast. Cover with clingwrap or a damp tea towel and set aside for 5 minutes or until the yeast becomes frothy and rises to the surface.
- Stir the melted butter and egg into the yeast mixture. Pour into the centre of flour and salt.
- Stir together to form a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured benchtop.
- Knead for 8-10 minutes by hand (see notes if using a dough hook), slowly incorporating the remaining ½ cup of flour only as needed. You may not use the entire ½ cup. As you knead the dough, it will become smoother and less sticky. The dough is ready when it is smooth and elastic. If you gently poke the dough ball, it should spring back.
- Rinse out the bowl and grease well with butter or cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the greased bowl. Lightly grease the top of the dough ball. Cover the bowl with clingwrap or a damp tea towel and place in a warm place (40-45°C / 105-115°F) to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size (I put the bowl in my oven on the lowest heat).
- Meanwhile, grease a large casserole dish. Dust evenly with flour. This will stop the bread rolls from sticking to the dish.
- Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured bench. Punch out the excess air. Knead lightly and shape into a rectangle. Divide into 12 even pieces. Cover the pieces with a damp teatowel to keep them fresh while not using.
- Take one piece of dough and pull the outside edges into the centre, 'pinching' them together to form a roll. Turn the ball over so the pinched edges are on the under-side and the top of the roll is smooth. Place into the prepared dish. Repeat with remaining dough to make 3 x 4 rows of rolls in the dish.
- Lightly grease the top of the rolls and cover with clingwrap or a damp teatowel. Return to a warm place to rise for another 1 hour or until doubled in size again.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F. For the glaze, microwave the milk for 15 seconds or until warm. Whisk in the egg until very well combined.
- Using a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze over each roll. Bake for 20 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown on top and sound hollow when tapped. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tray before serving.
- Please note that my recipes are measured in metric cups and spoons which are larger than US cups and spoons. Most recipes will be fine if measured in US cups and spoons, but please use the weight (grams) measurement for the most accurate result.
- These dinner rolls are best served fresh. However, you can keep these rolls stored un-refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Flour: High-protein bread flour will give you a flakier result, but I have used an equal amount of standard plain / all-purpose flour to make these rolls with excellent results.
- For sweet, Hawaiian-style dinner rolls, increase the amount of sugar to ¼ cup.
Tips for Light and Fluffy Bread Rolls
- Make sure to let the dough rise for at least the full hour in both the first and second rise. If your house is colder, it may even take longer. Make sure the dough doubles in size.
- It is very important to knead the dough for at least 8 (and up to 10) minutes. This allows the strands of gluten to develop in the dough and makes the bread rolls flakier and fluffier.
- Using a dough hook: sift the flour and salt directly into the bowl of an electric mixer (fitted with a dough hook). At step 3, pour the yeast mixture into the flour and mix on low speed for 10 minutes, slowly adding the extra ½ cup of flour until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 Roll
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 5.9gSaturated Fat: 3.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1.8gCholesterol: 41.6mgSodium: 7.2mgCarbohydrates: 29.2gFiber: 1.2gSugar: 3.4gProtein: 5.3g