These easy no-knead dinner rolls are such a comfort food for me. Some of my favorite childhood memories have yeast-leavened dough, from the king cakes at Mardi Gras time, to making homemade pizza with my Aunt Lynn. This easy dinner roll is no exception. They were a special occasion bread that my mom (yes, the one that never cooks) made completely from scratch.
On these afternoons, the whole house smelled like a busy bakery. These yeast rolls don’t require busy bakery work though. After all, this is my mom’s go-to bread recipe, so it has to be easy. They don’t require a lot of skill or effort (or ingredients for that matter!), they just require time.
Adaptations on the Original
I’ve taken some liberties with the original recipe- which, by the way, would appear to be from one of my grandmother’s many local Shreveport cookbooks. Just this week, my cousin Julie sent the entire stash to me in the mail. So if I do end up finding the original, I’ll credit it here.
The original notes call for shortening, which seems to be popular in many of our old family recipes. Butter gets the job done just as well though, and it tastes better too. In my opinion, infusing the dough with slightly salty mouthfeel is the way to go. Butter it is!
I also noticed some slight revisions would be helpful. But not to worry- we are still sticking to the original intent of mom’s rolls. Easy.
For one, my mom makes three round pans of adorable little mini-rolls. These are equally delicious, take less time to proof, and are helpful for portion control. But larger rolls require less time to shape, and fewer pans. I also used a rectangular pan to get a more square shape- perfect for sliders and mini-sammies. The choice is yours though!
Next, I added a punch down after the initial dough rise. Punching the dough may seem awkward or counterintuitive for leavened bread, but it does play an essential role. This step releases excess gas that can get trapped in the dough, and redistributes the ingredients so they can continue to work their bread making magic. The punching will not affect the height of the rolls negatively. However, it will positively affect the texture! Be gentle while punching, though. The actual punch is more like a push. 🙂
Lastly, I coated the rolls with melted butter before they went in the oven to cook. While the rolls brown nicely on their own, the butter undoubtedly helps spread the love (and the flavor).
Served hot out of the oven with a little extra butter, yeast rolls are the simplest pleasure on the plate. Skip the store and bring the bakery home!
This recipe is yet another in my much loved yeast-leavened series. I adore the sweet and tangy smell of yeast dough, and I’ve already written up some of my most favorite recipes with other tips and tricks. So if you’re looking to improve your dough game, check out my Authentic French Croissants, or Nothing But Center Cinnamon Rolls for starters!
- 1 packet yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg white
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and lukewarm water (make sure the water is not too hot, or it will kill the yeast). Stir to combine, and let sit until the yeast begins to bloom and produce foam and bubbles, about 5 minutes.
- While the yeast is blooming, beat the egg white stiff using a hand mixer.
- In a large bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, salt, 2 Tablespoons melted butter and remaining cup of water. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved, then add the yeast mixture and stir again until combined.
- Add 2 cups of flour to the liquid ingredients and stir. Fold in the stiff egg white to the dough, then add the remaining 2 cups of flour and stir until all ingredients are combined.
- Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot for 2 to 3 hours or until doubled in size.
- Grease and flour a light-colored 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. With clean and floured hands, punch down the dough a couple of times to release extra gas. Pinch off a large piece of dough, flouring as you go, and stretch and roll the dough into a smooth ball about the size of a tennis ball. Continue shaping the dough until you have twelve rolls, placing the rolls in the pan as you go, with some extra space between them. Allow another 2 to 3 hours of rising, or until the rolls have filled the pan and risen to the desired size.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit prior to cooking. Coat the rolls with some melted butter and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.