Heavenly Oatmeal-Molasses Rolls

By • December 13, 2010 191 Comments

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Author Notes: I wasn’t a bread maker before I joined food52. I caught the bug after trying AntoniaJames’ Buttermilk Oatmeal bread. I’ve explored many different types of breads and rolls since then. This one is an adaptation of a recipe for oatmeal bread from the James Beard Foundation website, which I checked out after Stephanie Bourgeois’ cook spotlight. When I tried it, the subtle depth of flavor from the molasses really surprised me. Even if you aren’t an experienced bread maker, don’t fear. The steps are straightforward and the dough is a dream to handle (no kneading). It is also very flexible because the 1st rise in refrigerator can go as little as two hours to overnight. One of the changes I made is to really up the butter because I love buttery rolls! Rolling up each roll helps give a nice and shred-y texture when you pull the rolls apart. And don’t pass on brushing the baked rolls with butter after they come out of the oven. The smell of the hot rolls and butter is heavenly, hence the name. - monkeymommonkeymom

Food52 Review: Monkeymom's supple, rich rolls have just a hint of sweetness to them -- they're chewy and tender and full of deep flavor from the molasses, but versatile enough to complement (rather than overwhelm) a variety of main dishes. We love the ease of the first refrigerator rise, and these are virtually guaranteed to come out looking beautiful, with their butter-slicked and oat-flecked tops. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 8-12

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup butter cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2-3 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose or bread flour)
  • 2-3 tablespoons melted butter for brushing tops of rolls
  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Let stand until bubbly. If it doesn’t get bubbly, throw it out and get some new yeast.
  2. Scald milk then add it to the butter in your mixing bowl. When butter has melted, add brown sugar, rolled oats, molasses, and salt. Blend thoroughly and cool to lukewarm.
  3. Add egg and mix well. Add the yeast and mix to incorporate it. Then mix in 2 ½ cups of the flour. Add what you need to of the remaining ½ cup of flour until the dough loses its sheen. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl and put it in a greased bowl. Turn to coat and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours. It can sit overnight as well. It doesn't rise a lot.
  5. Turn out the chilled dough on a floured work surface and knead or fold and turn the dough slightly. Cut dough into 12 balls. Press each ball into a flat rectangle with your fingers, then roll up and tuck ends under. Place seam-side down in a well-buttered 9 inch round pan. Brush all over with ½ of melted butter and sprinkle with a little of the rolled oats. Let rise until doubled in size in a warm place, about two hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until rolls are nicely browned and sound hollow when you tap their tops. The internal temperature should be 190 degrees. Remove from the pans and brush generously with remaining melted butter. Let cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Serve warm…with salted butter!

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Bread, Rolls & Muffins|Bread

Topics: Thanksgiving, Christmas

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Comments (191) Questions (6)


7 months ago Gregg

I made these on Saturday and they were so good. We saved half to use in an asain pear bread pudding Sunday night.


9 months ago Auntie Allyn

I was VERY skeptical of these rolls when I was making them . . . they seemed so dense when I rolled them out and formed them into rolls and placed them into the baking pan. Imagine my very pleasant surprise when I pulled them out of the oven and they had risen and baked up beautifully! Such a great and easy and flavorful addition to the table! I will be certainly making these for future dinners.


9 months ago T

Just finished baking & offered to mom. Oh my monkeymom! Copying mom's texts because they really sum it up: Holy sh**--best ever--so good.
Practically melts. (assuming bites are taken between each text update ;)
Texture is superb.
Can you even believe it?
Thank you very much for this!


9 months ago walkie74

Are the rolled oats just old fashioned oats, or are they instant?


9 months ago rochelle123

I used old fashioned oats. I also used bread flour.


9 months ago rochelle123

Just made these for Thanksgiving dinner and they were a huge hit. Very flavorful! I will definitely make these again.


9 months ago Mika Larson

Should we be using regular table salt in the recipe? I'm going to assume baking is always table salt (unless indicated). If it's cooking something that isn't baking, I tend to assume kosher. Can anyone who has made this confirm 2 teaspoons salt should be table? Thanks! Looking forward to trying this in the morning.


9 months ago monkeymom

Hi! The salt I usually use is kosher salt. So, if you have it use kosher and not table salt.


9 months ago Can I have a bite?

I haven't made bread since I was in high school home ec class (yes, it was still called home ec--that's how long ago it was), but tried these because of the many great reviews. I was not disappointed. These are phenomenal and so, so easy. I tested the recipe last night/this morning for Thanksgiving and then made another batch tonight to bake in the morning--all will be devoured at the holiday feast. Thank you so much for such a great, easy, delicious recipe.


10 months ago catalinalacruz

Has anyone else made this with instant yeast? I want to try this recipe, and I think that 1 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast is a correct substitution. I wish bread recipes would give amounts for both active dry yeast and instant yeast for those of us who don't keep both yeasts on hand..


5 months ago anna

I’m very curious, too… Anyone know? Anybody?


4 days ago Michelle

I just made these with instant yeast and they are wonderful. I thought about adding 1/4 cup water to the milk but didn't. Only needed 2 1/2 cups of the flour though. I always just substitute the same amount of instant yeast for active dry yeast. In this case 2 teaspoons. Always works fine.


12 months ago Meagan Cole

Really wonderful bread recipe! Almost fool proof. I cannot wait to make this again!


about 1 year ago TjNurse93

I recently found this recipe through Pinterest and it has quickly become one of my favorites. It makes a perfect 12 rolls, healthy choice and smells so good while cooking. When I have made this I used coconut oil spray instead of butter on the top, until tonight. Tonight I used the butter and I am sure it will be delicious :) I took these to work for a potluck, with chicken salad and came home with empty containers. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe with all of us! My husband thanks you too!


over 1 year ago Valerie Delisle-gagnon

it was a success ! I made them vegan with crisco, 3/4 cup off apple sauce to replace the egg and almond milk and it worked beautifully !


over 1 year ago Amanda

I am a vegan too! Would this work with whole wheat pastry flour, do you think--I use whole wheat pastry to replace almost all my all-purpose flour needs.


over 1 year ago Valerie Delisle-gagnon

I don't know... maybe it won't rise as much.. I would try just 1 cup of whole wheat.. Also, because I didn't used butter, the milk needs to be really warm so the crisco will melt and it didn't melt completely.. for the butter glaze I used maple sirup. Good luck !


over 1 year ago sandra

These are far and away the best rolls I have made to date! I love the subtle sweetness. They are the perfect breakfast treat. See my attempts here: http://meadowscooks.blogspot...


over 1 year ago kayakgirl

So, for those who are inclined to make every recipe "oh, just a little bit healthier" here is my feedback for some "healthier" alterations. This is what I did: 1. used 1/2 amt of butter. 2. substituted all molasses for the brown sugar 3. used all whole wheat. This is what came out: very tasty, but not the fluffy roll the recipe intended. Def will be enjoyed, but in the future I think I would just make this recipe as is for special occasions like Thanksgiving. Plus the advantage of the multiple, slow rises is that it is something that can be prepared well in advance for multiple dish meals like on holidays.


over 1 year ago Roberta

I am not using wheat so can I use almond flour instead?


over 1 year ago Doris Case

I am making these right now for the second time. They are super easy to make and absolutely delicious. My family polished them off very quickly. As stated in the recipe they don't really rise much at all in the fridge. They probably didn't come close to doubling with the second rise but baked up perfectly none the less. This recipe is definitely a keeper!


over 1 year ago LAveny

I just made these and they were wonderful. I only had to bake them for 30 minutes, and next time I might cut back on the butter, they were a little on the greasy side. Otherwise though, the texture was great, pulled apart perfectly, moist, and nice not-overly-hearty flavor. Will be a new standby without a doubt. :)


over 1 year ago Ceege

To those of you that "are going to try them", I highly recommend you doing so. These are delicious and easy to make. I have made them at least 10 times since first finding the recipe. I do have a question for monkeymom, the poster of this wonderful recipe. I would like to make these for a pot luck dinner I will attend in 2 weeks. Is it possible to make these delicious rolls "mini" style. (Kind of like "slider" size). If so, how many do you think a single recipe would make and how long would I need to bake the smaller size. I am sure this will be the hit of the pot luck dinner. Thanks for your help.


over 1 year ago ashley

What would you recommend I do to make them gluten free? Just replace the flour with gluten free flour? Thanks in advance!


almost 2 years ago ChefWithAKnife

I made three different pans of rolls for Thanksgiving this year, These, homemade Hawaiian rolls and regular homemade yeast rolls. Guess which ones went first? Lol.


almost 2 years ago enbe

These worked great (did the first rise overnight in the fridge). Quite sweet but perfect for thanksgiving. Thanks!