Fluffy Dinner Rolls Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (480g) All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) Dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) Warm water (about 110°F or 45°C)
  • 1 cup (240ml) Milk
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large Egg

Instructions

  1. Activate the Yeast: In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of sugar in warm water. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until frothy.
    • Yeast Activation: Warm water activates the yeast, and sugar feeds it. The yeast converts sugar into CO₂ and alcohol, causing the dough to rise.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, the remaining sugar, and salt.
    • Flour: Provides structure and gluten.
    • Sugar: Balances flavor and feeds the yeast.
    • Salt: Enhances taste and controls yeast activity.
  3. Add Wet Ingredients: To the dry ingredients, add the activated yeast mixture, milk, melted butter, and egg. Mix until a soft dough forms.
    • Milk: Adds moisture and richness.
    • Butter: Adds flavor and tenderizes the dough.
    • Egg: Provides structure and richness.
  4. Knead the Dough: Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
    • Kneading: Develops gluten, which gives the rolls structure and traps the gases produced by yeast.
  5. First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1.5 hours.
    • Rising: Allows the yeast to ferment and produce gases, which makes the dough rise and enhances flavor.
  6. Shape the Rolls: Punch down the dough, divide it into equal pieces, and shape each into a ball. Place them in a greased baking dish.
    • Punching Down: Deflates the dough and redistributes the yeast, sugar, and air for a more even texture.
  7. Second Rise: Cover and let the rolls rise again until puffy, about 30-45 minutes.
    • Proofing: Provides additional fermentation time for a lighter, airier texture.
  8. Bake: Bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
    • Baking: Heat causes the yeast to have a final burst of activity (oven spring). Proteins and starches solidify, and the Maillard reaction creates a golden crust.
  9. Cool and Serve: Remove from oven and brush with melted butter, if desired, for a soft, flavorful crust. Let cool slightly before serving.

Scientific Explanations

  • Yeast Fermentation: The key to fluffy rolls. Yeast ferments the sugars, producing CO₂ that gets trapped in the gluten network, causing the dough to rise and creating a light and airy texture.
  • Gluten Development: Essential for structure. Kneading aligns and strengthens the gluten strands, enabling the dough to hold the gases produced by the yeast.
  • Proofing and Rising: These stages are crucial for developing both the texture and flavor of the rolls. The dough becomes lighter and more flavorful as the yeast continues to ferment.
  • Oven Spring: The initial high heat of the oven gives a final boost to yeast activity, causing a rapid rise before the yeast dies at higher temperatures.
  • Maillard Reaction: Occurs during baking, creating a golden-brown crust and adding complex flavors to the rolls.

This recipe for fluffy dinner rolls is a delightful blend of science and baking, where each ingredient and step plays a critical role in creating the perfect roll. The process of fermentation, gluten development, and baking come together to produce rolls that are soft, light, and irresistibly delicious.

John Nguyen
John Nguyen
Articles: 103

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