During the winter, I used to make these simple dinner rolls for my guests at The Inn at Kristofer’s. You can flavor them with various herbs (we use dried dill and freshly chopped Italian parsley). The great thing about these rolls is that then freeze great! Once they are baked, simply place them in freezer bags and freeze until needed. When ready to serve, let them thaw at room temperature for about 1/2 hour then reheat in a 300 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
- 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) dry active yeast
- 2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoons dried dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- cornmeal to sprinkle baking sheet
For finishing the rolls
- melted butter to brush baked rolls
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
To prepare the yeast
Proof the yeast by placing the warm water (110 – 115 degres) in a mixing cup along with the yeast and sugar. If you are unsure about the water’s temperature, use an instant read thermometer to check it.
Let the mixture set in a warm area for about 15 minutes. The mixure should start to foam. Make sure your measuring cup is large enough to accommodate the 2 cups of water plus the “foam”.
Place the dill, Italian parsley and salt in the bowl with the flour. When the yeast has “proofed”, add it to the flour mix again with the mixer running on low.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil. Whisk to combine. Again with the mixer on low speed, add the egg/oil mixture to the flour/yeast mixture.
Slowly add the remaining flour to the bowl. Add about 1/2 cup at a time and keep adding flour until you have a soft dough that starts to form a ball on the dough hook. The dough can be slightly sticky but should not be “wet.”
Remember, if you are unsure if your dough is too wet, it is better to error on the side of being too wet. You can knead more flour in during the next step. It is much easier to add more flour to the dough than to add more liquid!
Sprinkle a work surface with some flour. Remove dough from the bowl and knead the dough for about 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should be soft and elastic. It should not stick to your work area. If it does stick because it is too wet, just sprinkle a little more flour on your work surfact and knead it in.
Place the kneaded dough in a bowl sprayed lightly with nonstick food spray (such as PAM). Spray the top of the dough with a light coating of food spray as well (When the dough rises, this will keep the dough from sticking to the plastic wrap).
Raising the bread dough
Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise. The dough should rise to double in size – this should take about 1 1/2 hours.
After the dough has risen, punch the dough down and gather it into a ball.
Divide the dough into three or four pieces. With your hands, roll the dough pieces into a thick rope. Divide the “rope” into about 8 pieces each. With floured hands, shape the pieces of dough into balls. For dinner rolls, make the dough balls a little bigger than a golf ball in size.
Shaping the rolls
Place the shaped dough balls on a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with cornmeal. Continue shaping remaining dough.
Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size – about 35 to 45 minutes. While rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the rolls in the preheated oven for between 22 to 28 minutes. The rolls should be browned on top. If the
rolls seem to be browning unevenly, rotate the baking pan during the middle of baking. (Sometimes ovens bake a
bit unevenly and this helps brown all the rolls).
Remove from the oven and immediately brush the rolls with melted butter. Combine the remaining dill, sea salt and
sugar in a small bowl. After the rolls have been brushed with the butter, sprinkle the tops of the rolls
with the dill/sea salt mixture.
Serve immediately or let cool and freeze for later use.