The hint of cornmeal mingled with the light sweetness of the dough make these extra-fluffy, cornmeal dinner rolls one of my favorite rolls of all time!
I get asked all the time what my favorite, go-to homemade roll recipe is. The one I can’t imagine living without. My roll soulmate, if you will.
You can understand how questions like this cause me to panic. That’s like choosing a favorite child! A favorite pair of jeans! A favorite book! A favorite husband! (That last one was a joke. Ha.)
I love so many different roll recipes. All for varying reasons. Some might even say I have a homemade roll obsession. But, in the interest of full disclosure, I do find myself making these buttery cornmeal dinner rolls over and over and over.
Today’s post is a little bit of a placeholder. You see, a similar variation of these rolls has been on my site for years (behold the gloriousness of Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls) and the base of the dough makes up one of our most-loved meals of all time: Chicken Pillows.
As I’ve made the crescent rolls referenced above over the years, I’ve found that more often than not, I skip the crescent-shaping part and go straight for the extra-fluffy, dinner-style roll. It’s easier to quickly shape them into a tight ball, and the rolls bake up like pillowy clouds of fluffy cornmeal heaven.
If you may have passed up the original crescent version because the shape or recipe seemed intimidating, now’s your chance to dive in and embrace the simplicity (and deliciousness).
And if you’re skeptical about the cornmeal in the recipe – you have to trust me on this. The cornmeal gives just the slightest textural boost to the rolls and mingles perfectly with the lightly sweet dough. They are so yummy, and don’t even get me started on how wonderful they are with leftover turkey or ham.
A couple months ago I made these fluffy cornmeal rolls for a cute luncheon I was helping with for ladies in my area who are 55 and older. It’s called the Sunshine Girls Luncheon, and it is kind of awesome. Too bad I’m not invited every month (only when I’m on roll duty, I guess, since I have a few more years until I meet the minimum age requirement).
That particular month when I brought these cornmeal dinner rolls, I had one elegant, white-haired woman quietly pull me into the hallway and say, “Don’t tell my friends I’m asking you this, because I already make the best rolls they’ve ever had, but those rolls were better than mine; do you know who made them and where I can get the recipe?”
You know me…I’m always one to help a girl out with a recipe, so I gave her the web address of this pretty awesome food blog I know about. 🙂 She wasn’t the only one who requested the recipe that afternoon, although the other women were slightly less secretive about it.
If you are looking for THE roll to impress this holiday season, you really need to give this one a try. I love the round, fluffy shape even better than the original crescent roll shape. It definitely makes the roll more accessible for maximum sandwich/leftover fixings.
So while I’ll never profess my undying love for just one and only one roll recipe…just know that these rolls seem to be my go-to homemade dinner roll of 2016 with no signs of stopping.
One Year Ago: New Thanksgiving Favorite: Pretzel and Sausage Stuffing
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie
Three Years Ago: Black Bean Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust
If you need/want to use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, change the amount of yeast to 2 tablespoons active dry and dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let the yeast mixture activate and foam (approximately 5 minutes) before adding it to the cornmeal mixture with the butter and 1/3 cup sugar.
I've had good luck subbing in 50% white whole wheat flour for these rolls as well (if doing so, increase the kneading time by 2-3 minutes).
Also, as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.
- 2 cups milk (1%, 2% or whole)
- 2/3 cup yellow corn meal
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 5 1/2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour (see note above)
- In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, warm the milk to just below a simmer; tiny bubbles will appear around the edges (this is called scalding milk). Add the cornmeal and cook and stir constantly until the mixture is thickened and bubbling. It should be the consistency of porridge before taking off the heat.
- Pour the cornmeal mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or a large bowl (if mixing by hand) and let cool until lukewarm. Add the yeast, butter and sugar (if you dissolved active dry yeast with a bit of water and sugar until it foamed, add it now). Mix.
- Add the salt and eggs. Mix well. Add the flour gradually until a soft dough forms. Knead for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap; let rise until doubled.
- Portion the dough into 24 equal pieces (about 2.75 to 3 ounces each) and roll into a taut ball on the counter. Place each roll on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing about an inch apart to allow for rising (on a 11X17-inch rimmed baking sheet, I fit 24 rolls on the sheet - four across, six down). Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let the rolls rise until doubled.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 14-17 minutes, until lightly browned and baked through. Remove from the oven and brush with butter while still warm.
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (similar to these Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls – method changed slightly)