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Dinner Rolls

Updated April 18, 2016
This image courtesy of Gordon Munro

Editor's Note: If the typical dinner rolls you usually find at restaurants or the grocery store aren't your style, spice things up with this Dinner Rolls recipe. A soft and chewy interior surrounded by a crisp, crunchy crust make this homemade bread recipe a surefire success. Serve as a side with dinner or use these homemade rolls for sandwiches - the sturdy bread holds up well in a lunchbag during the day, and goes well with a spicy mustard or a sharp cheese.
I’ve found that most Americans think of a dinner roll as a small, soft, almost squishy, slightly sweet bread. At La Farm Bakery, our dinner rolls are more in the European tradition—crusty, with a hint of salt and a moist, chewy interior. We call them “hard rolls” because our customers have always referred to them in this way. They are a customer favorite served with European butter and jam or made into a breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs and applewood-smoked bacon. These are elegant rolls to be placed on the bread plate when entertaining.

Makes8 rolls

Cooking MethodBaking

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe CourseSide Dish

Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Lactose-free, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

MealDinner

Type of DishBread, Rolls

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Make the dough according to the directions for Country French Bread through the first fermentation stage, mixing either by hand or with an electric mixer.

  2. Very lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Uncover the dough and, using your bowl scraper, scrape the dough onto the lightly floured work surface. Let the dough rest for 30 seconds.

  3. If the dough is very sticky, lightly flour your hands, but do not add more flour to the dough. If the dough sticks to the table, use your bench scraper to lift it up; do not pull and stretch the dough. With the palm of your hand, lightly press down on the dough. Then, using your hands, gently pick up the dough to make sure it is not sticking to the work surface. Using your bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.

  4. Carefully form each piece into a small roll. Place 4 rolls in a lightly floured couche or a strong linen towel. Make a second ridge next to them and place the 4 remaining rolls against it. Fold the remaining couche over top of dough.

  5. Set the couche in a warm (75°F to 80°F), draft-free place. Record the time in your Dough Log, as well as the time required for the final fermentation, and set your timer. It should take about 1 hour for the final proofing.

  6. If you are using the stainless-steel bowl method to bake the rolls, about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake, move one oven rack to the lowest rung and remove the other. Place a large baking stone on the rack and preheat the oven to 450°F.

  7. To determine whether the dough is ready to be baked, uncover and gently make a small indentation in the center of the dough with your fingertip. If the indentation slowly and evenly disappears, the rolls are ready to bake.

  8. Uncover the dough and carefully transfer the rolls, smooth side up, to a cornmeal-coated bread peel or the back of a sheet pan lightly coated with cornmeal.

  9. Using a lamé or single-edged razor blade and with quick, decisive movements, cut a couple of small slashes into each roll, just barely breaking through the skin and cutting about 1/8 inch into the dough.

  10. Carefully slide the rolls onto the center of the stone, taking care not to touch the hot surface.

  11. Quickly cover the stone with the stainless-steel mixing bowl. Immediately close the oven door. Bake for 5 minutes; then, lift the edge of the bowl with the tip of a small knife and use oven mitts to carefully remove the hot bowl. Continue to bake until the rolls are a deep golden brown with a crisp crust and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 15 minutes more. If you are concerned about doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer from the bottom of the roll into the center. If it reads 185°F to 210°F the bread is fully baked.

  12. Transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 1 hour before eating.

  13. The dough must be scored before baking to allow CO2 to escape as the rolls rise in the oven. In baker’s starlance this is called “oven spring”.

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