Life can be very uncertain, but if there’s one thing I can bank on, it’s this: if Asiago bagels are ever around, my 11-year old will eat at least four (and maybe more if there isn’t anyone there, including a brother or three, to cut him off).
The flavorful, crunchy cheese with the chewy, soft bagel dough is pure heaven (and that’s not just according to the pre-teen in our house; we all agree).
The recipe I’m posting today is like the dinner roll equivalent to the adored Asiago bagel. And boy, they are tasty. Have you heard of Magleby’s famous dinner rolls? Yes? No? Magleby’s is a family-owned restaurant/catering business based in Utah. It’s been years (probably about 15 – yikes, I’m old) since I’ve eaten there.
I have absolutely no affiliation with the company, but I remember a long time ago, my sister-in-law, Mary, making a Magleby’s roll knock-off, and they were so divine, that’s where my mind went when I decided an Asiago dinner roll would be a good thing to bring into my life.
You’ll see lots of copycat recipes for Magleby’s rolls online. I take the general idea, since they’re all basically the same, and do my own thing.
First of all, I use this fluffy, divine, basic, so easy, wonderful, staple, favorite (get the idea yet?) French bread dinner roll as the base. If you want a whole wheat version, I think this fluffy whole wheat dinner roll would be fabulous. And then, I opt for Asiago instead of Parmesan for the topping.
I like just a smattering of herbs and cheese over the top of the rolls, versus having a cheese topping an inch thick (not necessarily a bad thing, now that I think of it, but not what I wanted on my delectable rolls). Because of this, I sprinkle the topping over the rolls once they’ve been dipped in mayo and butter, but if you are after more saturation by cheese, go big and dip the top of the roll in the cheese topping (keeping in mind you’ll want to at least double, if not more, the amount of topping).
I know half of you, including my sister, the self-proclaimed mayo-hater, are cringing at the idea of dipping the ball of roll dough in mayo even if it is followed by a dunk in melted butter.
You have to just go with it, ok? Put your big girl or boy apron on and get out that mayo (and no, I haven’t tried subbing the mayo with Greek yogurt, miracle whip, buttermilk, pickle juice or canned dog food; experiment at your own risk). The baked roll doesn’t taste like mayonnaise at all, but the mayo helps to give the top of the roll a special kind of texture and it helps with browning, as well as acting like glue for that cheesy goodness.
I included some variations and further notes below in the recipe (including why I like the tops of the rolls soft, not crunchy, and how to get them that way after baking) so please make sure you read through before making the rolls. The recipe looks long, thanks to the details to guarantee success, but it’s actually very simple
If you’re after a fluffy, amazingly soft dinner roll topped with that signature Asiago taste and a sprinkling of herbs, these rolls will make you very happy.
And if anyone’s wondering, resident 11-year olds have been known to eat more than six of these babies in one sitting (the exact number is still unconfirmed – all I know is one time, after a few tears from siblings, we had a family discussion about how dividing fourteen rolls by seven people does not equal six per person; learning at its finest).
Substituting bread flour for the all-purpose will result in an even lighter, chewier roll. Also, I'm pretty certain you could make this same style of roll using the Fluffy Whole Wheat Dinner if you want a whole grain version.
These rolls can also be made with Parmesan cheese in place of the Asiago although we far prefer the Asiago flavor (thanks to our undying love for Asiago bagels, I believe). The key is to grate the cheese finely - I like to use those sharp holes on the back of my box grater.
Speaking of the cheese, I like to sprinkle the cheese topping on the butter-topped rolls. I think it gives the perfect amount of cheese and herb topping. However you can definitely dip the rolls into the cheese mixture right after they're dunked in the mayo and butter. Doing so will give even more cheese topping (but because of this, you'll want to at least double the cheese topping amounts in the recipe).
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3/4 tablespoon instant yeast (or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral oil like avocado or vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, give or take a few tablespoons (see note)
- 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2-3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/3 cup (or so) grated Asiago cheese (I use the sharp holes on the back of my box grater)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley or herbs de provence for a slightly more gourmet flavor
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl by hand, combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour (if you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, let the yeast proof in the warm water and sugar for about 3-5 minutes until it is foamy and bubbly before adding the oil, salt and flour). Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Judge the dough not by the amount of flour called for in the recipe but in how the dough feels (see a tutorial on working with yeast here). The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch.
- Knead the dough in the stand mixer or by hand until it is very smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 8-10 minutes by hand. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled (this usually takes about an hour).
- Lightly punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop. Divide the dough into 12-16 pieces (I weigh out about 2 ounces of dough for each roll). Form each piece of dough into a tight ball by cupping it in your hand and rolling it on the counter (here's a video on rolling the dough into balls). Place the rolls on a parchment-lined baking tray.
- Put the mayonnaise and butter in separate small bowls. Lightly warm the mayonnaise for 10 seconds or so in the microwave - it doesn't need to be hot, just a little runnier than normal. In another small bowl or shallow dish, toss the Asiago cheese with the garlic powder and parsley.
- One by one, dip the top of each roll in the mayonnaise and then directly into the butter. Place butter side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in a lightly greased 9X13-inch pan. Sprinkle the top of each roll with the Asiago mixture, lightly pressing it into the melted butter/mayo so it sticks a little bit. I like to dip about 4-5 rolls, place them on the baking sheet or pan and then sprinkle with the Asiago mixture before proceeding with another 4-5 rolls (so the butter stays soft and melted to allow the cheese to stick). Place the rolls 1/2- to 1-inch apart.
- Lightly cover the rolls with greased plastic wrap (not too tight as you don't want it to pull up all the cheese topping off the rolls when you remove it) and let the rolls rise until doubled and very puffy.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the rolls for 14-15 minutes until lightly browned and baked through. These rolls taste best, in my opinion, if the tops have a chance to soften. After they've cooled out of the oven for about 5-10 minutes, I like to place a very thin kitchen towel (like a muslin or flour sack towel) over them for another 10-15 minutes (these rolls taste great the next day, too, and the tops are beautifully soft if, once they are cooled, they are stored in ziplock bags overnight).
Recipe Source: used this favorite French Bread roll recipe; topping adapted from Frieda Loves Bread