Thursday, January 5, 2012

Darn Good Dinner Rolls

Dinner roll recipes are a dime a dozen.  As a self professed carb-junkie and frequent bread maker, I'm always on the look-out for the next best thing. Sometimes it takes more than a few mediocre attempts before I stumble upon recipe gold.  Other times, I can tell that a recipe has "good bones" but just needs a little tweaking to take it from ordinary to extraordinary.   I live at high altitude so baking bread can be a bit of a challenge. Often times, recipes that work fine at sea level flop miserably at 7000ft.  Over the years I've learned to adapt and overcome!

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a dinner roll recipe in an old Family Reunion Cook Book compiled by my mom's Amish and Mennonite side of the family.  The recipe was alright, but I re-worked it to make it successful at high elevation. As with most Amish recipes, there were hardly any directions. (They assume that everyone knows how to make bread already.)  I'll type the re-worked recipe below and try to be as detailed as possible with the instructions because you know what they say about assuming....

(The pan of dinner rolls I made tonight disappeared so quickly that I had to smack hands just to preserve one for picture taking.  I'm sorry that I don't have a photo of the whole pan.  They sure turned out pretty. You'll just have to trust me on that! My lousy pictures don't do them justice!)

Darn Good Dinner Rolls

3 teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast (Rapid rise yeast is fine. It'll take more than 1 packet so be sure to measure.)
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup salted sweet cream butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk
1 large egg
4 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon Vital Wheat Gluten
1 Tablespoon Dough Enhancer

Preheat oven to 375° F

In a mixing bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Stir.

Warm the milk up to around 105° (I microwave it for just under a minute). 

Test the temperature of the milk.  If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast!  Pour the milk in with the water and yeast.  Next, add the sugar, softened butter, egg and salt.  Stir. ( I use my Kitchen-Aid mixer paddle for this.)

Beat in 4 cups of  bread flour, vital wheat gluten, and dough enhancer until a soft dough forms.  

Knead the dough for a few minutes. ( I take off the paddle and put on the dough hook attachment for this part. I let the Kitchen Aid knead at speed 2 or 3 for about 3 minutes.) If the dough is really sticking to the sides of the bowl, adjust by adding flour a tablespoon at a time until a nice smooth dough forms.  Don't add too much or the rolls will be dense. Less is best!

Next, put the dough into a large mixing bowl sprayed with cooking spray and flip it once to make sure the top of the dough is covered with spray.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and knead it a few times.  pull off small chunks of dough and make 24 rounded dough balls. 

(Because I'm a perfectionist, I cut the dough circle into 8 equal sized pieces on a cutting board with a knife, and then pull 3 dough balls out of each chunk.  That way they are more uniform. You can just follow your bliss!)

Arrange the 24 dough balls into a greased 13x9" rectangular baking dish.  Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 30-45 minutes.

Bake @ 375° for 18-20 minutes.

After removing them from the oven, rub butter over the tops.

If you want to take these rolls over the top, and make them OUT OF THIS WORLD, then make this cinnamon honey butter to go with the rolls:

 Cinnamon Honey Butter

1 stick salted sweet cream butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Whip the ingredients until combined.

Put the Cinnamon Honey Butter on a warm roll, fresh from the oven, and die a thousand delicious deaths.  Then repeat with two more rolls and stuff your belly.  Then decide that all you really wanted for dinner was rolls, anyway.


  1. I love the juxtaposition of your 5K run blog post and this awesome dinner roll post with the cinnamon honey butter. The two subjects don't seem to go together, but you totally make it work.

  2. Yum! I love homemade rolls. What is dough enhancer?
    Lol-I'm eating honey butter on biscuits for breakfast this a.m. :)

  3. Hello Jennifer,thanks for stopping by! Don't worry, up until a few years ago, I had no idea what it was either!!! Dough enhancer is just a powder that many professional bakers use in their breads. It improves the elasticity of the dough, and I think it keeps bread fresher for a few more days. I think it's got whey, soy, and {gasp} tofu in it along with other ingredients. LOL! Don't tell my husband I fed him something with a smidgen of Tofu in it. He'll revolt. I buy "Blue Chip Dough Enhancer" at my local Walmart. If it's not in the baking aisle, we also have a "stocking up" aisle in our local Walmart with bulk goods. It may be there.

    An older, wiser mentor taught me how to make delicious 100% whole wheat bread in high altitude about 4 years ago. While everyone else's whole wheat bread was dense, heavy, and hard, hers was fluffy and soft. Dough enhancer was one of the secret weapons in her arsenal! I've been using it ever since, and I can really tell the difference in my bread.

    Hope this helps. (If you don't live at high elevation, you can omit the vital wheat gluten and the dough enhancer and I bet the rolls would still turn out fine.)

  4. Ya gotta love a good bun recipe!

  5. Thank you! I felt dumb for asking.. like I should know that already. Lol! We're at a lower elevation, so I probably wouldn't have any problems.
    I might have to try it in my wheat bread though, I have such heck getting mine fluffy and soft! My mom's is always perfect.. but she has several years of bread making on me too. ;)

  6. These rolls are unbelievable! We live at 6500 feet above sea level and the altitude has *killed* many once perfect bread recipes....thank you for this awesome recipe that pleased all of my little ones and my husband alike, and the cinnamon honey butter? TO DIE FOR!!!