The search for the perfect dinner roll is over, my friends, and you didn’t even have to go through a million and three recipes like me to get there.
Warning: these rolls are the fluffiest, smelliest (in a good way), yummiest rolls in the whole world, and I bet you a batch of them that you won’t be able to stop at just one.
I dare you to try.
A quick note (that I’m copying from the book) about the milk: “The fat in whole milk is absolutely essential to the lightness and flavor of these rolls. If you’re in a pinch, 2% milk will work (I used 2% and they still tasted delightful), but try to stay away from 1% or skim. If you’re going to put all this work into these rolls, you want to make sure they taste amazing!”
(One more note: only the words in italics below are mine. Everything else is from the book.)
(from Our Best Bites, another of my all-time favorite cookbooks)
2 cups whole milk (see note above)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1/3 cup butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt (regular salt is fine)
2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry or bread machine yeast
2/3 cup warm (105-115 degrees F) water
8-9 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 beaten eggs
1. Combine milk, 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts into salty-sweet perfection.
2. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down faster. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
3. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step with new yeast.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add beaten eggs.
5. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise one hour.
6. Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half. Spray two 9 x 13-inch glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. We like to use a pizza cutter because it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like Play-Doh. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan. Use a kitchen scale if you want to ensure that the rolls are exactly the same. (Now that’s what I call over-perfectionism!)
7. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
8. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
9. When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls. Eat one now while it’s still hot–that’s your reward for making the world’s best dinner rolls!
Yield: 24 rolls