Saturday, 29 October 2011

Soft Dinner Rolls - Baking with yeast finally made easy !!

Beautiful, Light and Delicate

Baking itself can be quite intimidating for beginners, and baking with yeast is surely a put off even for experienced and amateur bakers, more because the whole process is very lengthy involving proofing, mixing, kneading, rising and then kneading again and then rising again and finally the baking. Oh! and not to forget shaping the dough into beautiful rolls which I failed at miserably. So though my rolls look like my four year old's attempts at drawing an elephant (!!) , they taste better than any store bought roll, crisp on the outside, soft and mellow inside with great flavor and texture.

We all agree that baking is very therapeutic, but baking with yeast is joie de vivre all in itself. It is so thrilling to watch your dough rise, its like magic believe me, it will pull you out of any slumpy mood. It does requires time, from start to finish, but once in a while its good to engage yourself in a relaxed kitchen activity which is not a daily routine.

My earlier experiments with yeasts and bread making were not very satisfactory. The reason being, lack of experience and expertise in working with fresh/active yeast. Well, all that is passe now !! Thanks to Rachana, a dear friend who got me this awesome Dry Instant Yeast from Bangalore. The Instant yeast brands which I found in Vizag were again not very good, the results were very dampening ( literally !!). I read somewhere that instant yeast is like baking powder, just add it to your flour and the results are just like you used the old fashioned fresh yeast.

These rolls are best had when they are still warm. If you want to make the dough in advance, seal the dough with cling wrap after the first rise, Take them out and shape them into rolls, they will thaw while they rise again and are ready to bake !!

I have added an egg to this recipe. Most recipes for diner rolls do not include eggs  but the first time around I wanted to try it with the egg. Next time I am going to skip the egg and increase the milk to 1 cup (8 fl. oz). 

Check this link for tips with pictures on how to shape the rolls.

What is Yeast and how it works , all about that later, right now lets get down to the recipe.


2 1/2 tsp Dry Instant Yeast
1 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour (14 fl. oz)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk (6 fl. oz) (can substitute with half water and half milk)
1 egg
3 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature,(3 fl. oz)
Oil for greasing 
1/2 tsp pepper

Add herbs like oregano/thyme/basil/mint to add flavor and customize your rolls.

For the glaze:

1 tsp milk
1 tbsp melted butter
2 tsp sesame seeds


Prepared dough resting in a greased bowl.
Large holes after the yeast has done its work, doubling the bulk of the dough

  1. Put all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, using the dough attachment, blend for 3-4 minutes till you get a coarse breadcrumb like texture. 
  2. Add the wet ingredients and mix for 5-7 minutes till you get a smooth and elastic dough. The dough should almost leave the sides of the bowl sticking just barely. Too sticky, you might want to add some more flour, but don't change the measurements completely.
  3. You can knead the dough by hand, rest it for 5 minutes in between kneading and knead again to a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough and allow to rise at room temperature, for 1 hour or till the dough has risen to double its original volume. rising might take longer if kneaded by hand. Give it enough time to rise.
  5. Don't let it stand for too long after rising, because that will make the bread sour.
  6. Once its risen, knock it down and deflate it. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead the dough into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Use the heel of your hand and push the dough away from you and then bring it back together. Do not over knead. It will springs back to your touch.
  7. Divide into equal portions, the size of a lemon, and shape them the way you want . Or just leave them as it is in a baking tray. Place them an inch apart so they have place to rise again.
  8. Cover with a kitchen towel or greased cling wrap and leave them to rise once more, say half an hour or just about, or till they become puffy.
  9. Preheat the oven.
  10. Brush lightly with the butter and milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 180 Degree Celsius or till the top is deep golden brown and sides are lighter.
  11. Brush with some more melted butter once out of the oven when they are still hot, for that beautiful buttery crust, that is only if you want to.
  12. Once the rolls are out of the oven, wait for 2-3 minutes and gently transfer them to a wire rack. they will be hot and delicate, so be careful. Serve warm or at room temperature.

My pinwheel and twist and Double Knot !!

Puffed up rolls waiting to be baked

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