If there’s just one thing that quarantine has been good for, it’s my baking, and I think my family will wholeheartedly agree to that. Early on in this coronavirus crisis, I decided to make my own bread and rolls, simply because we initially couldn’t find bread. While Ryan and I don’t eat a ton of bread, the kids do, and they love a good buttered roll for a snack. So, I decided to set out on the task of making my own. I’m picky with dinner rolls though. I like them to be fluffy and light, but they definitely need to have a good flavor, too. Honestly, I’m partial to King’s Hawaiian rolls, but I didn’t want to make a copycat version of those because I wanted a simple recipe with only a few ingredients and minimal effort. #lazy, party of one. So, I did some research, plenty of testing, and ended up with my favorite sweet dinner roll recipe.
My Favorite Sweet Dinner Roll Recipe
You know those canned dinner rolls and biscuits you can get at the supermarket? They’re easy, right? Now, forget about them. They do not even compare to these dinner rolls, which are largely just a sort of “set it and forget it” recipe. Not only are they less than 10 ingredients, but once you’ve mixed the dough, the hard part is over. For the most part, the dough does the heavy lifting for you. You just have to shape them, give them time, then pop them in the oven. Don’t believe me? Take a peek:
2 tsp active dry yeast – you can use a packet of instant yeast if you prefer
1/2 cup warm water – no warmer than 110 F
1/2 cup warm milk – no warmer than 110 F
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp honey
1/4 cup salted salted butter – melted
2 large eggs at room temperature
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour – you may need slightly more
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tbsp butter to brush the tops (optional)
If you bake a decent amount, chances are you have these ingredients in your baking pantry to start. I mentioned a few weeks ago that yeast has been hard to come by here (especially the instant yeast), so I actually went on Amazon and purchased a pound of yeast for just $23. As long as you plan to keep that yeast cool in the refrigerator, it’s a pretty smart way to buy yeast, especially with the shortage most stores and states are seeing these days. I should also mention that I chose to get active dry yeast because it kind of does it’s own thing once mixed gently with warm water, milk, and sugar.
If you’re looking for an easy-prep sweet dinner roll recipe though, trust me when I say this is it. I’ve had quite a few people ask me on instagram what I do, and truly, I follow this recipe to a T every few days. While the kids eat breakfast, I mix the dough, then I set it aside and let it do its thing for a couple hours. Then, when Mieke takes her first nap, I pull out the dough, shape the rolls, and let it do its thing again for another hour. Baking it is the final and ultra-easy step, so when I say it’s pretty much fool-proof, I mean it. Want to see?
- Combine your water and milk, and heat it slightly. I usually put it in a microwavable bowl for no more than 20 seconds. It should be lukewarm.
- Add your 3/4 cup of sugar and stir gently.
- Add your 2 tsp of yeast, then stir again gently until decently saturated and combined. Set it aside for 10 minutes. During this time, it should get nice and foamy. If it doesn’t, your yeast isn’t active, and you’ll want to start again.
- While your yeast mixture is doing its thing, mix your flour, eggs, and salt in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
- Create a little well in the flour mixture, and pour in your melted butter.
- After 10 minutes, add your yeast mixture to the flour mixture in your stand mixer, and start it on the lowest setting, letting it incorporate slowly for about 7 minutes or until the dough has pulled completely off the sides. One note here; your dough should be sticky, but not wet. If it is considerably wet, add about 1/4 cup of flour until the dough is tacky.
- Add in your honey, and let it mix for one more minute.
- Remove the dough and shape it gently into a ball, then place it in a lightly greased bowl. Seal the bowl with cling wrap or a towel, and set it in a warm, dark place for two hours. I usually put it in the microwave.
- When the two hours are up, your dough should have doubled in size. If it hasn’t yet, let is sit for another 30 minutes. If it has, remove the dough, and punch the air out of it.
- Form your dough into small, smooth balls, and place them in your desired baking dish. I usually like to make mine into pull-apart rolls, so I actually put them on a pizza dish where I arrange them into a circular shape.
- Once all your rolls are formed, cover lightly with a towel, and place them back in the warm, dark place for one more hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- After an hour, your rolls should have risen again, and they’re ready for baking! Add them to your preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until they’re golden brown. I usually brush them with a tbsp of butter right before they go in the oven, but it’s completely optional.
Timing for baking varies based on individual ovens, but my rolls are almost always ready right about 18 minutes. I like them to be nice and fluffy, rather than crusty, so I pull them out before they get too brown. If you prefer a slightly crunchier dinner roll, you’ll just want to leave them in for the full 2o minutes!
And there you have it; literally the best sweet dinner roll recipe you’ll ever try! Tell me – have you been baking a lot during the quarantine? What type of breads do you like the most?