I’m on a Roll
You probably think I’m confused. Here we are in the middle of March and I’m posting a roll recipe. These are normally reserved for holidays only. But I just couldn’t wait. These were too good and you need to know about them.
You might wonder why I’m making sheet pans full of rolls this time of year. Don’t worry. I haven’t gone crazy. It was for charity. Betsy’s office does an event occasionally at the local homeless shelter where they cater a meal. It turns out there’s a lot of good cooks in her office! Betsy and I were on roll duty so these were the ones I made.
They turned out so good that I just had to post on them. The good news is that Easter is right around the corner which these would be great for, but also you could just make them because they rock. They work great as small sandwiches and freeze just fine.
1) Add water, yeast, and sugar to a mixing bowl and stir together. Let sit for a few minutes until yeast starts to foam.
2) Add oil, eggs, and salt and stir to combine. Make sure everything is dissolved.
3) Add flour in two cup batches, stirring between each batch.
4) If using a mixer, use a dough hook to mix for 5-6 minutes. If dough is really sticky, add more flour 1/4 Cup at a time. Dough should barely stick to the sides of the bowl. If using hands, add flour until dough is together, then add dough to a really well floured counter and knead dough. You'll have to add a good amount of flour for that.
5) Transfer dough to a well oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until it doubles, about 2 hours.
6) Shape rolls into 2 1/2 inch balls (about 4 ounces). Add rolls to a half sheet pan.
7) Cover rolls with a warm damp cloth and let rise a second time for 30-40 minutes.
8) Bake rolls at 350 degrees until they are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Make sure the rolls in the middle are cooked through.
9) Let cool for a minute and then brush rolls with melted butter.
Adapted from a Once Upon a Plate recipe.
Mixing the dough
This dough mixes really well in a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one, you can definitely just stir everything together in a large bowl and then knead it lightly on a floured surface, but a mixer makes it a lot easier.
One thing that I like about this recipe is that it uses a few different flours which give the final rolls a great texture. If you want though, you could use just all-purpose flour and still end up with great rolls.
Start this recipe by adding your yeast, sugar, and water to a large bowl or the mixing bowl. Stir it all together and then let it sit for a few minutes to make sure the yeast is active. This is such a big recipe that it’s important to test your yeast or else you run the risk of wasting a lot of ingredients.
Once it’s bubbling and you’re sure the yeast is good, add the oil, eggs, and salt to the bowl and mix everything together well. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved and not just sitting on the bottom of the bowl.
Then start slowly adding your flour, about 2 Cups at a time, mixing for a minute between each flour batch. After all your flours are added, the mixture should be pretty moist still. If it’s really sticky, add more flour 1/4 Cup at a time.
You want a dough that’s still a bit sticky, but not liquid at all if that makes sense. If it’s sticking to the sides of the bowl really badly, add more flour. For example, this was my batch and I added probably another 1/2 Cup of flour to it.
Continue to mix this together. If you’re doing this by hand, you can turn your dough out onto a very well floured surface and knead it for a few minutes. You’ll need to add a good amount of flour if you do this because the dough will be pretty sticky.
My favorite part of this recipe is folding in some fresh herbs. This gives the rolls a great flavor. You can use almost any fresh herbs for it. Personally, I like rosemary and oregano.
A Good Rising
Once the herbs are mixed into the dough, it needs to rise for a few hours. Add some oil to a large bowl and add your dough to the bowl. Make sure the dough is coated with oil and then cover it and let it rise until it doubles in size. It’ll probably take two hours.
I doubled the above recipe because I was shooting for around 60 rolls. Just for a reference for how much dough that is, the cup in the below photo is a ONE CUP measuring cup.
It’s a lot of dough.
After a few hours, my dough was at least doubled in size.
It’s like The Blob or something.
Shaping the rolls
Shaping rolls like this is half-art half-science. The science part is making sure all your rolls are the same size. Until you get the hang of it, I recommend weighing your rolls. About a 4-4.5 ounce roll is good.
To actually shape the rolls, rub your hands down with butter (this is the artistic part) and form the dough into a ball. The best way to do this is take your thumb and index finger and form a small circle. Push the dough up through this ring, as it goes through your finger and thumb, it’ll create surface tension on the roll, forming a perfect ball. Then you can just pinch it off and you’ll have a perfect roll.
Since the dough is pretty sticky, the key is to make sure your hands are well buttered so the dough doesn’t stick.
Then add the rolls to a sheet pan!
The best pan for these rolls is one of those disposable half sheet pans you can buy in the store. 30 rolls fits perfectly in it.
Cover the rolls with a warm, damp towel and let them rise for another 30-40 minutes.
Bake the rolls at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. They should be golden brown all over and evenly puffed.
When they come out of the oven, let them cool for a minute or two and then, as an optional step, brush them all with some melted butter.
Ok. So I don’t consider the butter at the end optional, but I guess you could not do it.
So these would obviously be great for a holiday meal, but get creative people. You could use them for a million things. Slider buns? Mini breakfast sandwiches? Bribes? You get the idea.
My point is that you don’t need a holiday for an excuse to make good food. And these were really good.