(Update 11/10): I originally posted these rolls nearly three years ago and had been making them a couple of years prior to posting them, which basically means they are one of my longest standing roll recipes, which is saying a lot because I swear I try a new roll recipe out at least monthly. These rolls are exactly what their name implies – a little nugget of french bread goodness in roll-form. Really, they are scrumptious. They continue to be one of the easiest, no-fail roll recipes around. Not only that, but I use them in every recipe I own that needs a roll perfect for sandwiching delicious ingredients in the depth of the rolls, like these meatball subs, this Italian beef recipe, sloppy joes, BBQ pulled pork, and the list goes on and on.
Here’s an awesome video tutorial on how to shape these little babies into perfectly round dinner rolls.
Can you tell I love them? Oh yes I do, and I know you will, too!
Note: 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. Also, here's a video tutorial on how to shape the rolls. Lastly, I often use whole wheat flour for all or part of the white flour in this recipe with great results. The finished bread is slightly darker in color and perhaps a bit more dense, but because we are used to the taste/texture of whole wheat breads, we hardly notice. If using whole wheat flour for part of the flour amount, add a few minutes to the kneading time to help develop the gluten and as always, take care not to overflour. Most often, I use 3 parts whole wheat flour to 1 part white flour or just throw 100% whole wheat (finely ground white wheat flour) in there. If you are just starting out using whole wheat, I'd suggest using half wheat/half all-purpose and experimenting from there.
- 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
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, give or take a few tablespoons (see note)
- 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 equal pieces and form the dough into round balls. Place the rolls on a lightly greased or silpat-lined baking sheet about an inch or two apart. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap taking care not to pin the plastic wrap under the baking sheet or else the rolls will flatten while rising. Let the plastic wrap gently hang over the sides of the pan to fully cover the rolls but not press them down. Let the rolls rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.
*Freezable Option: I almost always make a double or triple batch of these rolls. Once they are baked and cooled, I place them in a zipper-lock freezer bag and put them in the freezer. I either take them out a few hours before I need them or I take them out frozen and microwave them for about 2-3 minutes on 70% power.