French Bread Rolls

(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!

French Bread Rolls

Yield: Makes one dozen rolls

French Bread Rolls

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

Notes

*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.

http://www.melskitchencafe.com/french-bread-rolls/

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

256 Responses to French Bread Rolls

  1. lacey says:

    Just made these, they are terrific! I think i may put an egg wash on top before i bake them the next time just so they look shiny on top.
    Thanks for such an tasty yet simple recipe!

  2. Holly says:

    I am excited to try these rolls. Do you think I could use coconut oil in place of the canola oil?? Or olive oil? I prefer not to use canola oil. Thanks!

  3. Thank you! Once again you don’t disappoint. I decided to try and make these for hamburger buns.. (I’m a hamburger bun snob and hate store bought nasty ones). I usually just use costco size rhodes rolls to make buns and while they are good they just aren’t quite dense enough.. I have attempted buns from scratch before and they were way too dense.. I was scared but gave these a try anyway.. AMAZING! I couldn’t wait until dinner and tried one dipped in BYU creamery ranch. Soooooo good!

  4. Patty Moreno says:

    I tried these using 3/4 white whole wheat and the rest all purpose. They are good but for some reason they taste a bit bitter. Also, they looked pretty just out of the oven but the ones in the middle of the cookie sheet got sort of wrinkled once cooled. What did I do wrong? Help!! I really want to get these right and I know I must have done something.

    • Mel says:

      Patty Moreno – If they are wrinkling quite a bit, you can try baking them a minute or so longer. Mine actually get slightly wrinkly on top and softer than when they first pop out of the oven so that is slightly normal (but super duper wrinkly probably isn’t). Also, if you want crispier crust, you can try baking them in the oven alongside a baking pan filled with water. The steam can help get that crunchy exterior. Have you tried the whole wheat version of these rolls? http://www.melskitchencafe.com/fluffy-whole-wheat-dinner-rolls/

  5. Megan G says:

    Would love to see a tutorial on making hoagie/sub rolls with this dough. I’ve done it twice now but I’m never sure the best way to shape the dough and how big each one should be for a nicely sized finished product.

  6. Debra says:

    I just took a batch of rolls out of the oven. They look fantastic. Cannot wait to have one. Using it with your “The Best Sloppy Joes” recipe. Dinner will be fantastic.

  7. Ann says:

    Hi Mel! I just took these rolls out of the oven, and they look fantastic to go along with our old-fashioned goulash tonight. I watched your tutorial for making round rolls and I am just curious. Why do the rolls in your photo look like they were pulled apart from each other? You may have answered this somewhere, but I don’t have time to go through the 250 plus comments. :) Thanks for your blog! It’s my favorite!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Annie – usually when I make these and place them on the pan, they rise and bake with the sides connected so after they have baked, they have to be pulled apart to get a single roll off the pan. It’s probably a matter of how far apart or close you put them on the pan. Hope that helps!

  8. Ashlee T says:

    Mel! I made these and they are oh so good! After I form the dough into balls, can I freeze them, then thaw and cook them later? I’m thinking for thanksgiving prep. I’m in charge of rolls!

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