White Dinner Rolls Recipe


  • 3 1/2 cups (420g) All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) Dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240ml) Warm milk (about 110°F or 45°C)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large Egg


  1. Prepare the Yeast Mixture: Dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in warm milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
    • Yeast Activation: Yeast, a living organism, is activated in warm liquid, causing it to feed on the sugar and release CO₂ and alcohol through fermentation.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, remaining sugar, and salt.
    • Flour: Provides the structure for the rolls via gluten.
    • Sugar: Not only sweetens but also feeds the yeast.
    • Salt: Adds flavor and controls yeast growth.
  3. Add Wet Ingredients to Dry: To the dry ingredients, add the yeast mixture, softened butter, and the egg.
    • Butter: Adds flavor and tenderizes the dough.
    • Egg: Provides richness and structure.
  4. Knead the Dough: Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.
    • Kneading: Develops gluten, which gives the rolls their structure and chewiness.
  5. First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 1-1.5 hours.
    • Fermentation: The yeast continues to ferment the sugars, producing CO₂, which causes the dough to rise and develop flavor.
  6. Shape the Rolls: Punch down the risen dough, divide it into equal pieces, and shape them into balls. Place them on a baking sheet.
    • Shaping: Deflating the dough redistributes the yeast, sugar, and air, leading to a more uniform texture.
  7. Second Rise: Let the rolls rise again until they are puffy, about 30-45 minutes.
    • Proofing: Allows for additional fermentation and rising, creating a lighter texture.
  8. Bake: Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
    • Baking: The heat causes the yeast to have a final burst of activity (oven spring). Proteins and starches in the dough solidify, giving the rolls their structure.
  9. Cool and Serve: Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Scientific Explanations

  • Yeast Fermentation: Yeast converts sugars into CO₂ and alcohol, causing the dough to rise and imparting flavor. The warm milk activates the yeast, and sugar helps feed it.
  • Gluten Development: Gluten proteins in flour form a network when mixed with water and kneaded, giving elasticity and strength to the dough, allowing it to capture the CO₂ produced by yeast.
  • First and Second Rise: The first rise allows the dough to double in size, developing flavor and texture. The second rise, or proofing, ensures the rolls are airy and light.
  • Baking Process: The heat of the oven causes the yeast to have a final burst of activity (oven spring). Moisture turns into steam, helping to puff up the rolls. Proteins coagulate, and starches gelatinize, setting the structure of the rolls. Sugars and proteins undergo the Maillard reaction, leading to a golden brown crust.

These white dinner rolls, with their soft and fluffy texture, are a result of the intricate interplay of ingredients and the science of baking. From the fermentation of yeast to the development of gluten and the Maillard reaction, each step contributes to creating the perfect roll.

John Nguyen
John Nguyen
Articles: 103

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