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Author Notes: My “best” dinner rolls take about 26 to 28 hours from start to finish, depending on the temperature of my refrigerator and the temperature in my kitchen. Actually, any yeast rolls I make should sit for a while after they’ve come out of the oven, if they're to be enjoyed at their best, and with the nicest texture, so the total time is closer to 30 hours. I’ve adapted the recipe to make it possible to prepare the dough mid-day and enjoy the rolls at dinner. Instructions for the longer rise are included below. These are not sweet, as so many dinner rolls are. Nor are they yeasty. But they are delicious. Enjoy!! - AntoniaJames —AntoniaJames
Food52 Review: Accomplished bread baker AntoniaJames showcases her best practices with this recipe. We love the attention to detail in her instructions, as well as the option of a quick or slow rise. These rolls are complex and layered in flavor because they use a combination of several different starches, and they're enriched by the dairy fat from the sour cream and butter. We found that our dough needed some time outside the fridge to finish its first rise. - A&M —The Editors
Makes: 16 rolls
½ cup potato flakes (see note below), or 2/3 cup mashed potato
¾ cup sour cream (not light, and at room temperature)
3 tablespoon melted butter (cooled)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup toasted wheat germ
1 ¼ cup bread flour
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour + up to another 2 - 3 tablespoons for kneading
2/3 cup barley flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
Butter for greasing the pan
For the egg wash: 1 egg
- Mix the potato flakes with ½ cup of boiling water, stir well and let sit for about 5 minutes. Stir again. If you want to use a mashed potato, use 2/3 cup of cooled mashed potato.
- Mix together the potato, sour cream, egg, melted butter, honey and salt. Add the wheat germ, the baking soda and one cup of bread flour. Stir well to combine.
- Add the yeast and all of the remaining flour, a half cup at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- When it become too difficult to stir, turn the contents out onto a floured work surface and knead. Once the dough comes together, let it rest for about 5 – 10 minutes. Wash and dry well your mixing bowl. (The dough is full of fat so you really don’t need to grease it.)
- Continue kneading for a total of 10 to 12 minutes, until it is smooth and resilient. Add more flour only if necessary to keep the dough from sticking hard to your hand. You shouldn’t need more than a few teaspoons.
- Put the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Or, leave it on the counter and cover it with the bowl, provided that the bowl is large enough to allow the dough to double in size when it rises.
- Allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours, or longer if necessary, until doubled in size.
- Using the palms of your hands and flattened fingers, firmly press out the CO2 gasses and form the dough into a disk that’s about 8 inches in diameter. Allow the dough to rest for at least ten minutes.
- Cut the dough into 16 pieces. (I use my bench scraper to do this, cutting it first into quarters, then each quarter into four pieces.)
- Shape into balls by using your thumbs to pull the dough from the top to the underside, stretching it, turning a quarter turn and doing it again, and repeating that motion until the ball is round. Then pinch the dough on the bottom to seal. Roll each ball around on the work surface with the palm of your hand 6 or 8 times, bearing down just a bit as you do so, to tighten up the ball.
- Butter generously the bottom and sides of a spring form pan. (I also use a large heavy Dutch oven when I have room in the oven for it, increasing the temperature to 425. I’ll post photos of the long-rise bread cooked in a Dutch oven for your information. See my note below for more details on the baking procedure I use.)
- Arrange the balls of dough so the smallest are in the center. (Some will be smaller, unless you use a scale to measure each one, which I don’t do, because I actually like having some smaller than the others. The inside rolls cook better if they’re smaller.)
- Allow to rise, loosely covered, for about an hour and 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Beat an egg with about ½ cup of water. Brush some lightly on the rolls.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, tenting with foil if necessary to prevent excessive browning.
- NB: If using a commercial instant mashed potatoes product (as opposed to buying potato flakes in bulk), use only if the potatoes are separated from seasoning and other ingredients that may be included. In other words, use only pure flakes of potatoes when making these rolls.
- FOR A LONGER RISE: For an overnight rise, decrease the yeast to 1 teaspoon. Knead only until the dough comes together, is very smooth, and starts to feel stretchy. Refrigerate in a tightly lidded, well-buttered storage box that’s large enough for some expansion. The dough should rise some, but mine at least usually doesn’t increase more than about 1/3 in volume when refrigerated overnight.
- Check it about ten hours later. If the dough hasn’t risen much, take it out and put it in a fairly cool place. Continue to check it throughout the day and move it to a warmer spot if it’s still not rising much. My house and the weather here are generally rather cool, and my refrigerator tends to be very cold, so this dough usually spends the better part of the day after the overnight rise on my counter. Interestingly, the second rise doesn’t take as long as you might expect.
- If you want to cook the rolls in a heavy Dutch oven, heat your oven to 425 (or 400 if it’s a convection oven). Don’t brush the egg wash before putting the rolls in the oven. Bake the rolls with the lid on for about 18 minutes. Then remove the lid, quickly and very gently brush with the egg wash, and return the pot to the oven, uncovered. Bake for another 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to rest for about ten minutes, then remove the rolls to cool on a wire rack. If possible, don’t eat them for at least 2 hours after removing from the oven.
- Your Best Dinner Rolls Contest Finalist!