I get a lot of requests for my dinner roll recipe, so I decided to finally write it up! This is my version of wellness. So Paltrow better watch out, because my brand of wellness is practical, healthy, tasty, and inexpensive. Oh, and I’m not selling you anything.
Why is baking wellness?
I love bread, biscuits, pretzels, tortillas, Yorkshire pudding — it’s all good. Flour and yeast are my friends. I mean I’m a gynecologist, I am a literal yeast expert.
My problem with bread stuff is I have trouble stopping. They go down so quickly and butter is their friend. And are so good. I love them. All.
About 8 years ago I lost 60 lbs. and I realized that the diet that got me there could only work long-term if I could eat the food that I love. Denial is not a life strategy. I decided the way I could have these kinds of carbohydrates would be if I committed to one strategy — only eat homemade. I don’t like pasta so I don’t make that, but everything else is homemade.
At first I was worried that I would eat and eat and eat, because fresh bread. Am I right? The first week that did happen. But then it stopped being a novelty and became the quality of bread that was normal. My kids and I expected all bread (and the other breadstuffs) to be this good all the time. Store bought stuff started to taste gross. I can’t remember the last time I ate bread that wasn’t homemade. There seems no point. It has become a pale imitation of bread.
If you have to make the bread to eat the bread it takes longer, so you have to really want it. Cutting out mindless bread eating is I guess the real strategy. And when it is gone it is gone.
Homemade also allows me to control the sugar content and it is much less expensive. If you follow me you know my other wellness strategy is shoes.
To make it work the recipe has to be practical, because I work! And this one is. You can make it start to finish in 40 minutes, but if you have an hour they are even better. There is no tedious milk scalding (which tbh I always fuck up anyway) so even better!
So here are Dr. Jen’s dinner rolls with the time/sugar modifications that you can use so you can accept the blessing of homemade bread into your life as well!
- 2 packages rapid rise yeast (has to be rapid rise)
- White sugar (optional, 1 tbsp if you do)
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp water
- 1/3 cup canola oil (you can use olive, but I don’t think they taste quite as light)
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour (you can use all-purpose, but bread flour is better). You need some for the counter top as well.
- 2 tbsp milk or cream
- Parchment paper
Preheat your oven to 420 F. 425 F always makes the bottoms cook too quickly in my oven. If you are letting the dough rise overnight do not preheat.
Put the yeast (and the 1 tbsp of white sugar if you are using) in a big bowl.
Heat the water in a microwave safe dish/bowl/measuring cup for 40 seconds on high.
Add the very warm water to the yeast/sugar and let it sit for 5 minutes. It should be foamy.
Add the oil, one beaten egg (I am lazy and just add the egg and beat it all up as I mix the ingredients), and the salt. Mix well.
Add the flour and mix well and then turn it all onto a floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes. If the dough is too moist (all sticky between your fingers) then add a little flour.
Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel for at least 5 minutes, but as long as overnight. Let the yeast work for you while you sleep!
I often mix up the dough before bed and then put it in the oven (turned off, a good draft free place to rise) covered with a towel. Honestly, this gives the best results. There is even a huge difference between a 5 minute and a 20 minute rise with the end product, so extra time for rising is good but even if you don’t have it and just do a 5 minute rise these rolls still beat anything store-bought.
After the rise, divide the dough in half and then in half again. You now have 4 equal sections of dough. Divide each one into 3 so you have 12 equal sized pieces of dough. Roll each one in your hand for a few seconds to make a nice ball. Put 6 on each parchment lined cookie sheet/baking sheet. You will need two baking sheets.
Cover the little dough balls (that made me laugh) with tea towels and let rise for at least 5 minutes. 10 is awesome. When I make the dough overnight I roll out the balls and put them on the baking sheets first thing and then hop in the shower while they rise.
Mix the egg yolk and cream/milk. Coat the dough with the egg wash. Use a brush, it is really the best. I like the silicone ones because if it is not dishwasher safe it is DEAD TO ME.
I always bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. My bottom rack burns the bottoms, but if you can bake two sheets at a time then awesome! Bake for 6-7 minutes, turn and bake for another 6-7 minutes. Then do the same with the other sheet.
When I make them for breakfast the kids and I have egg McMommys (bacon and fried egg on a fresh roll) and then they get sandwiches on the rolls in their lunches. Ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly. The rolls are also wonderful for hamburgers, to have with soup, or JUST BECAUSE.
If you make them, please tag me on Twitter or Instagram (I am DrJenGunter on all platforms).
Thank you for coming to my TED talk on rolls.