I decided last week that I would put to use all the bread skills that I worked so hard on earlier this year and make homemade dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. But instead of spending hours researching recipes on the internet and falling down the rabbit hole, I went straight to my mom’s old Betty Crocker cookbook. Come to find out, Betty’s dinner roll recipe starts with the same Sweet Roll Dough recipe that was the inspiration for my homemade cinnamon rolls.
Betty Crocker is rock star!
I’ve made these dinner rolls twice now and they are super easy and nearly foolproof. Here is all you need:
- 1 package of Rapid Rise or instant yeast
- 1 cup of warm, scalded milk
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
OK. So let’s get started. The first thing to do is to scald the milk. Basically all you want to do is heat the milk which will kill the enzymes that would make the dough sticky and hard to handle. I put the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and watch for the bubbles that start to form around the outside edges. Give the pan a little swirl every couple of minutes just to be sure it’s not burning on the bottom. It only takes maybe five minutes total. And you don’t want the milk to boil, but it should feel hot. Remove the milk from the heat then add the butter and the sugar.
Let it cool for a bit until it’s barely warm to the touch. Maybe 15-30 minutes or so. Meanwhile, add 2 cups of the flour along with the salt and yeast to the bowl of your mixer.
***Tip: Because it’s so much cooler in the house this time of year, now would also be a good time to find a large bowl in which to let the dough rise and fill it full with hot tap water. The warmed bowl will make sure the rising gets off to a great start!***
Next, add the cooled milk mixture to the bowl and mix with the paddle attachment until just blended. Let rest for five minutes. Next add the egg and mix on low speed on well incorporated.
Add one more cup of flour and mix on medium speed just until blended then switch to the dough hook. Add 1/2 cup more flour (for a total of 3 1/2 cups) and mix on medium speed. The dough should start to come away from the sides of the bowl somewhat.
Continue mixing on medium speed and within a couple of minutes the dough should then start to pull away from the sides of the bowl completely (it was cool and dry today so I only needed 3 1/2 cups of flour, but you may need the extra 1/4 cup more if you are in an extremely humid climate). Here is dough at about two minutes and four minutes respectively. Notice how the dough still clings to the bottom of the mixer a bit – that’s good.
After about 6 minutes the dough should clean the sides of the bowl and become more elastic. You’ll probably hear the distinctive (technical term here!) “whap, whap, whap” against the sides of the mixer bowl too.
At this point you can remove the dough from the mixer and plop it onto your flour dusted countertop. It should feel soft and slightly tacky.
Pat the dough into a square (more or less) and gently form into a ball. Generously butter a large bowl (***I emptied and thoroughly dried my bowl full of hot water***) and place the ball of dough top side down, and then turn the dough over so that it rises top side up.
Let the dough rise until double, approximately 1 1/2 hours. It could take more or less time depending on the conditions in your house. I used a warmed bowl, but you could also let the dough rise in an UNHEATED oven with the light on. That works good too.
After it’s risen, turn the dough out onto your counter lightly dusted with flour. See all those little holes?? That’s good stuff!!
So now pat the dough into a (more or less) square shape and prepare to cut into pieces. This recipe makes 16 rolls so you can divide the square in fourth and then each fourth into fourths…
…or you can be a freak like me and weigh the entire mass and divide by 16. And if you want to be a complete overachiever, weigh in grams!
Once you get your precisely measured pieces of dough (ahem)…
…gently pat each piece and form it into a ball, pinching the ends tightly.
Look at that ball of cuteness!
Even better – 16 cute little dough balls.
And here’s the artistic shot, just for fun. hehehe
OK, I’ll be normal now. It’s just that I get so freaking excited when I make dough. Anyway, generously butter two eight-inch cake pans and place eight rolls in each pan.
At this point you can cover them with a dishtowel and let them rise again until doubled (they should be very puffy with their sides touching – approximately 30 minutes or so). Bake them at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. If you want to make them a day ahead (like I am), spray the tops with spray oil, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. The next day, remove them from the refrigerator about two hours before dinner and let them rise and bake as before.
Here are the Cloverleaf Rolls I made a couple of nights ago. To make cloverleafs, all you do is divide the dough into 36 equal portions – I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you eyeball or weigh it (Is it weird that I like weighing things out so much??? ) then place three little balls into each of the well-buttered cups of a standard 12 cup muffin tin.
No matter how you make them, prepare to be blown away by how delicious these little rolls are. OMG…a little pat of butter and I’m telling you life just doesn’t get much better.
Simple pleasure like this are something to be thankful for.