One of my favorite puzzle pieces that makes up a Thanksgiving dinner has GOT to be dinner rolls. My aunt religiously purchases the same brand every year, and ensures that there are at least three rolls available per guest. It’s serious. She always says, “Mrs. Rhodes prepared our rolls for us this year. How thoughtful of her!” (That’s the name of the brand she uses.) She cracks me up, and I love spending Thanksgiving at her house, surrounded by family.
This year, however, we are stuck in good ole’ NC, sans family of any kind. SO. What better way to make Thanksgiving better, than to recreate all of our favorite Thanksgiving treats for ourselves? We did this four years ago when we were living in downtown Chicago, so we are about due for a round two.
In Chicago, I made this gourmet green bean casserole, homemade stuffing, these garlic and parmesan mashed potatoes, soft dinner rolls, and some sort of cheesy potato. (You HAVE to have cheesy potato options at Thanksgiving.) Everything was DELICIOUS, but I never posted the recipes for either the stuffing, rolls, or cheesy potatoes. What gives?
This year, you’re in for a treat. I’m posting it ALL! I mean, I have to make it all again, so why not shoot some photos to lovingly share across the inter webs?
These rolls are my favorite soft rolls. They’ve got a light, feathery texture on the inside, and have just the right amount of butter/salt/yeast flavor that a great roll needs. Half of the time, they’re only used for sopping up leftover cheesy potatoes and gravy, so they don’t need to be packed with their own flavor. They’re like the gorgeous, fluffy little sidekicks. The support system that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves.
The Thanksgiving show couldn’t go on without rolls, so I am super happy to share my favorite recipe with you! There isn’t a ton of hands-on time, but there is a considerable amount of rising / proofing time. So just prepare these gems in advance, that way they’re ready for you when you need them.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you get to spend your holiday with the people you love! I’ll be over here stuffing my face with soft rolls, cheesy potatoes, and gravy, so just holla if you need me.
milk + yeast soft dinner rolls
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (European if possible)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt (finely ground sea salt)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. granulated sugar (this is separate from the other sugar!)
- 1/3 cup warm water between 95-115 degrees F
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg beaten / farm fresh
- 1 egg beaten with water, for egg wash // optional
- Combine the whole milk, unsalted butter, salt, and 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar into a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until butter melts, about 5 minutes. Stir to combine, and remove from heat.
- Combine active dry yeast, 1 tsp. granulated sugar, and 1/3 cup warm water together into a glass measuring cup. Stir to combine. Allow yeast to bubble and activate, at least five minutes.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to combine all of the milk mixture with two cups of bread flour. Beat on low to combine, about two minutes.
- Add the yeast mixture. Slowly work the speed up to high, and beat for three minutes.
- Crack an egg into a small bowl, and use a fork to generously beat the egg. Add the egg to the dough mixture, and beat on a lower speed for about a minute to fully combine.
- Remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook attachment. Add all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until fully mixed in. The dough should be tacky, but not completely wet.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel, and find the bowl a warm home for the next hour to let it rise.
- After the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down. Cover a clean surface with a sufficient amount of all-purpose flour, and divide the dough into fifteen equal pieces. Roll each piece into a small dough ball, and organize the dough balls into five rows of three inside a greased 9x13 baking dish. Cover the baking dish with the same kitchen towel you used earlier, and allow the dough balls to rise in a warm place for at least another 45 minutes, upwards of an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the tops of the rolls with egg wash, and then bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are a gorgeous, golden brown hue. Remove from the oven, and allow the rolls to rest for a bit as you paint melted butter over the tops of them (optional).
- Serve warm, or keep in an airtight container for up to four days.
- These are completely soft through and through. If you'd like to make a crusty top, simply combine one egg with a splash of water. Whisk, then use a pastry brush to paint it on top of the rolls.
- The dough will be tacky. Do not hesitate to use ample flour while punching the dough down and rolling it into small balls.
- The dough balls should only be about 3 Tbsp. in size. They will grow considerably when proofing and baking!