Soft Dinner Rolls

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These soft dinner rolls are fluffy, sweet and take you back to the days at grandma’s for Sunday dinner. They are easy and forgiving.

Equipment

Stand mixer with dough hook (optional, I have this KitchenAid)
Large mixing bowl
Measuring cups, scoops and spoons
Tea towel or plate
9×13 pan or cast iron (2)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk 
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active or instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 cups all purpose flour or bread flour

How To Make Soft Dinner Rolls

Yield: 32 Soft Dinner Rolls (You can easily cut this in half to do one 9×13 pan of 16 bread rolls!)

Combine liquid ingredients

Tip: This is optional but warming up your liquid ingredients can help the yeast activate faster. Don’t overheat so that it kills the yeast, but just slightly warm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a mixing bowl, combine melted butter, milk, eggs and sugar. Mix with dough hook attachment. 

Combine dry ingredients into liquid

First add the yeast to the milk mixture. If using active dry yeast, give it time to bloom (bubble up on top of the liquid mixture). If using instant yeast, just throw it right in. Combine.

Next, add half, or around 2-3 cups of flour. Combine with liquid ingredients and yeast slightly, then sprinkle in the salt. 

Finish by adding the remaining flour slowly. The flour amount needed may differ depending on your environment and type of flour, so only add enough flour for the dough to be a little sticky and pulling away from the bowl. The dough should not be stiff, but workable. 

Knead

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and work the dough. Knead until the dough passes the window pane test. Passing the window pane test is when you can stretch a piece of dough enough to see through it, but it does not tear. 

Tip: You will  knead longer than you think you need. Just continually check the dough. It is hard to over-knead!

1st Rise

Place dough into a greased bowl and cover with a plate, plastic wrap or a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place around 2 hours or in the fridge 8+ hours, or until doubled. 

Tip: If I am needing bread fast, I place my dough in my oven with the light on and it rises very fast! Rise time will vary depend on temperature of your home, where you allow the dough to rise and how fresh your yeast is. 

Shape

Prepare a 9×13 glass dish, a half sheet pan (also 9×13) or cast iron skillet by greasing it.

Once the dough has doubled in size and is a smooth ball of dough, punch it down and lay it out onto a lightly floured surface removing any leftover dough from the sides of the bowl and adding it to the dough ball. Use a knife or a bench scraper to cut the dough into 32 equal pieces. 

Take each piece of dough and pinch the sides into the center, working in a circle. Set the dough ball down and cupping your hand around the top, roll it into a round ball. 

Place rolls close together on the prepared pan, barely touching on your pan of choice.

2nd Rise

Place your baking dish back into the warming spot or allow to rise at room temperature for 2-4 hours, until doubled in size and large and fluffy. 

Tip: Rise time will vary depend on temperature of your home, where you allow the dough to rise and how fresh your yeast is. 

Bake

Once the rolls have doubled in size again, melt down a few tablespoons of butter and apply to top of the rolls with a pastry brush. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 35-40 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.

Tip: I do not preheat my oven before putting in the risen dough or rolls. I put them in and allow the oven to preheat. It adds a lot of rising power and helps them to rise up instead of out.

Add butter

Homemade rolls or bread can develop a skin and dry out easily. To keep these buttery dinner rolls soft, rub the tops with butter immediately after removing from the oven. This will help preserve the freshness and keep the crust nice and soft.

Variations

Flour- To change up the texture, taste and nutrition of these rolls, try using a different flour. A bread flour will have a higher protein content giving a fluffier rolls. A whole wheat flour will add more flavor, but possibly a denser texture to the rolls. 

Sweetener- trying to lower your sugar intake? Replace with honey or a no calorie sweetner. This may alter the nutrition and/or the taste of your rolls.

Lemonade- Replace half of the sweet tea for lemonade for a tart flair to this strawberry drink. The fun of a strawberry lemonade paired with the classic sweet iced tea makes for quite the treat!

Storage

Store at room temperature for 1-2 days before consuming, to hold onto the freshness. Store covered in the refrigerator to keep them fresh longer, around a week. These also freeze very well and will hold up in the freezer for several months. I have actually found that when I freeze my baked bread and rolls from this recipe, it softens the bread even! These rolls are great make-ahead options. These rolls can be stored in the baking dish you used, in tightly sealed baggies or in a fabric bread bag. If freezing, I recommend in a freezer bag at the very least but then also put into a container is even better. 

What ingredient makes bread softer?

The fats in this recipe make for a softer bread. The butter, eggs and even milk (instead of water) all make a big difference in how soft the rolls are. These items are also important for fluffy dinner rolls. 

Is it better to use oil or butter for bread?

Now listen, this may be preference but I will always reccomend butter over oil, especially for bread. The butter adds so much more flavor to the bird and it is more easily accessible in better qualities to me. 

Is it bad to leave bread to rise for too long?

It can be. Any dough can overproof and turn into a very sticky and wet dough that cannot hold its shape. This comes from overfermentation and it being at room temperature for a little bit too long. If it is left too long after shaping, the bread could fall flat during baking and will not puff up. Just watch for the dough to double and you should be just fine. 

Soft Dinner Rolls

soft dinner rolls with pink tulips laying on an antique tablecloth

These soft dinner rolls are fluffy, sweet and take you back to the days at grandma's for Sunday dinner. They are easy and forgiving.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk 
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active or instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5-6 cups all purpose flour or bread flour

Instructions

Combine liquid ingredients

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a mixing bowl, combine melted butter, milk, eggs and sugar. Mix with dough hook attachment. 

Combine dry ingredients into liquid

First add the yeast to the milk mixture. If using active dry yeast, give it time to bloom (bubble up on top of the liquid mixture). If using instant yeast, just throw it right in. Combine.

Next, add half, or around 2-3 cups of flour. Combine with liquid ingredients and yeast slightly, then sprinkle in the salt. 

Finish by adding the remaining flour slowly. The flour amount needed may differ depending on your environment and type of flour, so only add enough flour for the dough to be a little sticky and pulling away from the bowl. The dough should not be stiff, but workable. 

Knead

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand. If kneading by hand, lightly flour a work surface and work the dough. Knead until the dough passes the window pane test. Passing the window pane test is when you can stretch a piece of dough enough to see through it, but it does not tear. 

1st Rise

Place dough into a greased bowl and cover with a plate, plastic wrap or a damp towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place around 2 hours or in the fridge 8+ hours, or until doubled. 

Shape

Prepare a 9x13 glass dish, a half sheet pan (also 9x13) or cast iron skillet by greasing it.

Once the dough has doubled in size and is a smooth ball of dough, punch it down and lay it out onto a lightly floured surface removing any leftover dough from the sides of the bowl and adding it to the dough ball. Use a knife or a bench scraper to cut the dough into 32 equal pieces. 

Take each piece of dough and pinch the sides into the center, working in a circle. Set the dough ball down and cupping your hand around the top, roll it into a round ball. 

Place rolls close together on the prepared pan, barely touching on your pan of choice.

2nd Rise

Place your baking dish back into the warming spot or allow to rise at room temperature for 2-4 hours, until doubled in size and large and fluffy. 

Bake

Once the rolls have doubled in size again, melt down a few tablespoons of butter and apply to top of the rolls with a pastry brush. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 35-40 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.

Add butter

Homemade rolls or bread can develop a skin and dry out easily. To keep these buttery dinner rolls soft, rub the tops with butter immediately after removing from the oven. This will help preserve the freshness and keep the crust nice and soft.

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