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Rustic Dinner Rolls


Since I’ve gotten into making homemade bread this past year, I wanted to make some special bread for Thanksgiving this year.  I thought about making Parker House Rolls again since I liked them so much last time I made them, but when I saw these rolls in Cook’s Illustrated, I knew I wanted to make these instead.

These were different from the Parker House Rolls in that they weren’t buttery.  They were more like traditional dinner rolls.  They had a perfectly crisp crust and a soft crumb on the inside.  This was a very sticky dough.  I kept thinking I needed more flour.  I added a bit more, but I don’t think I needed to add as much as I did.  I was worried about not being able to work with such a sticky dough, but that’s really what it’s supposed to be like.

Typical of myself, I dived right into this recipe without really looking at what it involved.  I didn’t look at all the rise times.  I started this on Wednesday night and it was almost 2 AM before I finished!  It was worth it, though, because it was a great addition to our Thanksgiving table.  These rolls had several short rises, which made it more involved, but I made these while preparing other Thanksgiving foods and watching TV, so it was a lot of fun.  They are nice and tall, which is created by baking them first at a high temperature in cake pans, letting them cool and pulling them apart, and then baking them at a lower temperature on a baking sheet.  This creates crisp, golden rolls.  They were great with a little bit of butter on them and also for small turkey sandwiches the next day.  Whole cranberry sauce was also good on these.

And, I have been shamefully late on this, but I wanted to say thank you to Maci of My Yummy Goodness, Stephanie of Macaroni and Cheesecake, and Erin (who is completely right that Erins are the coolest :)) of Milk & Honey for awarding my blog with the E for Excellence Award!  I really enjoy reading their blogs and looking at the wonderful treats they make and I’m glad that they like mine as well!


Rustic Dinner Rolls (Cook’s Illustrated November 2008)

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water (12 1/2 ounces), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons honey
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon bread flour (16 1/2 ounces), plus extra for forming rolls
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (about 1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt


  1. 1. Whisk water, yeast, and honey in bowl of stand mixer until well combined, making sure no honey sticks to bottom of bowl. Add flours and mix on low speed with dough hook until cohesive dough is formed, about 3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. 2. Remove plastic wrap and evenly sprinkle salt over dough. Knead on low speed (speed 2 on KitchenAid) 5 minutes. (If dough creeps up attachment, stop mixer and scrape down using well-floured hands or greased spatula.) Increase speed to medium and continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 minute. If dough is very sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour and continue mixing 1 minute. Lightly spray 2-quart bowl with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. 3. Fold dough over itself; rotate bowl quarter turn and fold again. Rotate bowl again and fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  4. 4. Transfer dough to floured work surface, sprinkle top with more flour. Using bench scraper, cut dough in half and gently stretch each half into 16-inch cylinders. Divide each cylinder into quarters, then each quarter into 2 pieces (you should have 16 pieces total), and dust top of each piece with more flour. With floured hands, gently pick up each piece and roll in palms to coat with flour, shaking off excess, and place in prepared cake pan. Arrange 8 dough pieces in each cake pan, placing one piece in middle and others around it, with long side of each piece running from center of pan to edge and making sure cut-side faces up. Loosely cover cake pans with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes (dough is ready when it springs back slowly when pressed lightly with finger). Thirty minutes before baking, adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.
  5. 5. Remove plastic wrap from cake pans, spray rolls lightly with water, and place in oven. Bake 10 minutes until tops of rolls are brown; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees; using kitchen towels or oven mitts, invert rolls from both cake pans onto rimmed baking sheet. When rolls are cool enough to handle, turn right-side up, pull apart, and space evenly on baking sheet. Continue to bake until rolls develop deep golden brown crust and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 10 to 15 minutes; rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Transfer rolls to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.



4 Responses

  1. These look great!

  2. Isn’t this just a great recipe? It was the first thing I made out of that issue. I’ve made the rolls 3 or 4 times now, and just haven’t managed to blog about them yet. My daughter Brianna keeps asking me to make more so she can take them in her lunch (they’re a great size for her, either a mini sandwich or just with butter).

  3. I have a roll recipe I’ve been using for years and these look similar. You could even try making cinnamon rolls with the dough! This one might not have quite enough sugar/honey though, mine has quite a bit. They look great though.
    And holy cow, that chocolate cake a few posts back–wow! That looks like the ultimate!
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. I was quite amused at your 2 a.m. completion time. Mine was around 3 a.m.! But yes, they are worth it! Think of your favorite chewy, puffy pizza crust minus any oiliness—that’s fairly close to the taste and texture. And just four ingredients!

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