These Country White Dinner Rolls have a chewy exterior and a tender, buttery interior making them the perfect accompaniment for any meal.
Nothing smells better than bread baking in the oven. Chocolate chip cookies have a sweet brown sugar and chocolate smell. Apple pie fills the kitchen with cinnamon, spice and apples. But the aroma of bread baking tops them all. Maybe it’s just because I love bread so much. Like I could seriously live the rest of my life on a diet of bread, cheese and chocolate. It’s not a very well-balanced diet, but I don’t think I would ever get tired of eating those three things. Especially when one of the bread choices is these Country White Dinner Rolls, with their buttery, rich flavor.
Back when I was learning to bake, I was totally intimidated at the thought of making yeast bread. Yeast seemed like a very temperamental ingredient that could go horribly wrong. Eventually, I took the plunge and made my first dinner rolls. And guess what? I learned that it’s not nearly as scary as I thought.
This post is a little longer than most, as it covers some of the key things in the art of bread baking. If you want to know all the ins and outs, read on. If you just want to get going and get your hands dirty, skip down to the recipe and follow it carefully just how it’s written. No alterations allowed today.
Are you a beginning bread baker? Fear not! It’s really not that hard. Really, you just need to focus on a few things. First, make sure your yeast is fresh. Those little packets from the grocery store have an expiration date. Check the date. Make sure you aren’t using yeast that is past the date or the odds will not play well in your favor.
Second, pay attention to the water temperature. If you compare various yeast bread recipes, you will notice the water temperature can vary. If you are proofing the yeast by mixing it with water and then adding it to the flour, the water temperature is usually around 105-110 degrees F. In some recipes, like this one, you are mixing the yeast in with the flour first, and then adding the liquid. With this method, the water needs to be a little warmer, around 115-120 degrees F. To ensure the success in your new bread baking ventures, you should use a thermometer.
Another important factor in ensuring your dough rises and creates light and fluffy dinner rolls is sugar. Now is NOT the time to cut sugar from a recipe. Yeast NEEDS sugar to grow. No sugar=No yeast growing=Flat dense rolls. Don’t skimp….feed the yeast, it’s hungry.
Finally, be sure to allow enough time. These Country White Dinner Rolls require the dough to rise for 4-5 hours on the kitchen counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Don’t rush it. Good bread takes time to create good flavor. I generally make the dough one day; let it rise in the refrigerator overnight and then finish making the rolls the next day.
Whichever method you choose for raising the dough, make sure the dough is double in size from what it was when you started. When the dough is doubled, gently punch it down in the middle with your fist. Then flip the whole glob of dough over, so the part that was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover the dough and let it rise again at room temperature, until almost doubled. Then it’s time for shaping.
The easiest method to shape rolls is to cut the dough into 12-14 equal pieces. Shape them into little round balls, tucking and pinching any edges together underneath. This helps you make a nice smooth top. I like to dust the tops with a little flour to make them pretty…that’s totally up to you. Once the rolls have rested for 30 minutes, using a sharp knife, make a little slash in the tops. That’s it! Into the oven they go!
Now…just wait for the smell! Oh, and get some butter ready. You are going to want to be ready to eat these hot from the oven. These Country White Dinner Rolls are so awesome, you are going to wish you tried bread baking a long time ago. Happy Baking!
Yields 12 rolls
- 4 1/2-5 cups bread flour
- 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups hot water (115-120 degrees F)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- - additional flour for dusting
- In large bowl of heavy duty mixer, combine 2 cups flour, milk powder, yeast, sugar and salt. Add hot water and egg. Using paddle attachment, beat on medium high speed for 2 minutes.
- Add butter pieces, mixing well, until butter is incorporated.
- Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. Dough should begin to pull away from sides of bowl.
- Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 2-3 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding just enough flour to prevent sticking.
- Spray the inside of a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in prepared bowl, turning the dough to coat it with cooking spray. Be sure top of the dough that faces up has a coating of cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
- Let dough rise in a cool place 4-5 hours or overnight in refrigerator, until fully doubled in bulk.
- Uncover dough and gently punch fist into center of dough to deflate. Turn dough over, so the dough that was on the bottom, now is on top. Cover with plastic wrap and place on counter at room temperature 90 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 12 equal portions.
- Form each portion of dough into a tight round ball, pinching and tucking any edges underneath and forming a smooth, rounded top.
- Dust rolls lightly with additional flour if desired. Place rolls, 2 inches apart, smooth side up, on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cover rolls loosely with plastic wrap and let stand 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a serrated knife, make a small slash in the center of each roll.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.