Good Old American White Rolls

Welcome to Part I of my new series Baking Outside My Comfort Zone. While I love to bake, there are some recipes that still intimidate me and seem out of reach. I have a new goal to conquer my fears and I’m taking you along for the ride. First up, yeast breads! 

This is not the first time I’ve made rolls. I’ve made so many, and some of them have been pretty good and some have not. I’ve baked my fair share of rolls that were so dense they’d go straight to the bottom if you chucked them into the sea, which is probably what you’d want to do if I ever tried to feed you one.

I’ve never been able to bake that perfect dinner roll with a soft, delicate, and airy texture. At least not one that I’ve been completely satisfied with and proud of. Until now.

Good Old American White Rolls

These rolls were so easy to make, and so easy to do well. I spent some time studying the instructions, browsing tips from Red Star Yeast and attempting to remember lessons learned in culinary school years ago. I think it was the extra effort and awareness that really made the difference with this batch.

The result? Perfect, delicious dinner rolls that rival anything your neighborhood bakery sells. Rolls that would be a lovely accompaniment to any meal.

More yeast bread recipes coming soon!

Good Old American White Rolls

Rising and Proofing

Letting kneaded dough rest so that the yeast can do its job will improve the volume, flavor, and texture of the bread. A second rising (or proofing) after being shaped will increase volume, give the bread a finer texture, and improve the flavor further. You can test if your dough has risen enough by pressing the dough with your finger. If the indentation remains, your dough is ready. If not, give it more time.

Let the dough rest in a warm place, covered with a towel or plastic wrap to retain moisture. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Oven: Heat your oven to its lowest setting for a few minutes, then turn it off. Place the covered dough on the center rack and close the door.
  • Microwave: Heat 1 cup of water in your microwave for 2 minutes. Place the covered dough in the microwave and close the door.
  • Other: I’ve also risen bread on top of a warm oven, running dryer machine, and even on a chair set over a heater vent.

More baking tips can be found on Red Star Yeast’s online Lessons in Yeast and Baking.

Good Old American White Rolls

Good Old American White Rolls
Simple and delicious white rolls, a great accompaniment to any meal.
Yield: 12 rolls
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) milk
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3 cups (375 grams) bread flour
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2¼ teaspoons (One ¼ ounce package) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs
For the glaze (optional):
  • 1½ tablespoons (20 grams) butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk and butter just until the butter is melted. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes (temperature should be 120-140 degrees F).
  2. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 1½ cups of the four, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the milk/butter mixture until incorporated. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time until all incorporated. If needed, add more flour a tablespoon at a time to achieve a dough that clears the bowl, is sticky to the touch, but does not stick and come off on your hands. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes
  3. Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, rolling the top in the butter or oil to grease it as well. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
  4. Punch down the dough and divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Divide each of those pieces into 3 smaller pieces. Shape into rounds and place in a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise again until an indentation remains when lightly pressed with your finger, about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake until golden brown on top, about 20-25 minutes.
To make the glaze:
  1. Melt the butter and honey together. Brush on to tops of rolls immediately when they come out of the oven.
Adapted from Red Star Yeast .

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast. All opinions are my own.

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30 Responses to Good Old American White Rolls

  1. These look absolutely perfect! Just like my Nanny makes 🙂

  2. Yeast can be friend or foe. These rolls look perfect. Lovely post. Excited for this series.

  3. I love that you’re venturing outside of your comfort zone. It looks as thought it’s worked out VERY well for you so far. Those rolls are gorgeous!

  4. Gorgeous rolls, just in time for the holidays! You certainly have shown that baking with yeast is not difficult, and the results are so worthwhile! Looking forward to the rest of your posts in this series. ~Linda@RSY

  5. Not sure if I’ve ever seen such perfect rolls! I must try your recipe. My only roll experience turned into small bricks that would be better weapons than Thanksgiving bread.

  6. Courtney montgomery says:

    I love the recipe but i believe the directions are off a bit as i am reading the recipe you say to heat the milk and butter together until the butter melts then to set aside to cool.but you don’t say when to add it in the mixer to incorporate the mixture.

  7. jean says:

    I am also wondering at what point do you add the milk/butter to the mix?

  8. Nicole says:

    Can you believe I went to a school where they made these in the cafeteria every day for our lunch? I don’t think kids are that lucky these days.

  9. Erin R. says:

    Woohoo! Bread and cookies are my very favorite baking things so I’m excited to see more bread recipes coming. These are beautiful and so rich-looking. I’ll bet they were gone in a flash. I’m bookmarking this recipe for sure.

    Also, don’t be too critical with yourself about previous yeast bricks. There is a certain amount of practice and getting a feel for yeast dough, but frankly some recipes are just duds. I’m sure you’re more aware of this than anyone with all the baking and cooking you do, but a lot of times it’s just a matter of finding a recipe you’re happy with. You’ve clearly got the hang of yeast baking now! Well done!

  10. Megan says:

    Hi Annalise, do you knead the dough with your mixer or by hand?

  11. Amanda says:

    Sooo good! I subbed 1/3 of the flour with whole wheat and they still came out fluffy and fantastic. A great addition to our Thanksgiving feast. 🙂

  12. Maritza says:

    Hi love your blog!! i already pinned a few recipes hope to start making something soon. question, if I don’t have bread flour can I use regular flour?

    • Annalise says:

      You can use all-purpose flour, though it will affect the bread structure and texture. Not sure how much in this particular recipe, though. You might be fine. Bread flour is best for yeast breads as it has the highest amount of proteins which form gluten, trap the carbon dioxide in the dough, and help it rise.

    • Crystle says:

      You can substitute all-purpose flour but for every cup of bread flour a recipe calls for, add two extra tablespoons of AP. So if it says 3c. bread flour, you would use 3c. + 6T. all-purpose flour. I have used this substitution in a pinch for years and it has worked wonderfully for me. Happy Baking! 🙂

  13. karima says:

    I just try your recipe and I love it ! tks so much for all thoses beautiful recipes.

    karima from France

  14. Regina says:

    I just made these rolls and wow!!! Soon delicious!!! They rose so big and fat!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe and baking tips!!

  15. Chelsie says:

    Quick Question!! do you think this recipe would double well? Planning on making these for a family dinner and i don’t think 12 will be enough! I’m just not sure if doubling it would effect to rising time, kneading time, etc.

  16. Linda says:

    Hi, what brand of flour do you use?? Does it say bread flour on the bag?

  17. Lokyi says:

    Hello! I have found another simpler bread roll recipe that is oh so fluffy if you’re interested-

    Love your blog 🙂

  18. Annaliese says:

    Tried this recipe and nailed it,I gotta try is again during the weekend,is it okay if I make the dough and leave it overnight?

  19. Ruth says:

    Thanks for the recipe. We’re an American family living in Romania, and while the bread here is delicious, sometimes we miss American rolls like these. Will try the recipe this week!

  20. Made these for thanksgiving and they turned out great!

  21. ahlam says:

    I made this today, it was a fail 🙁

  22. Lauren says:

    Hi Annalise, can you tell me what kind of milk you used? Thanks!

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