Most American dinner rolls seem to come in two forms. Traditional rolls are soft, sweet, and gummy. Comforting but completely uninteresting. Or foodie-style rolls, which have strange ingredients or textures or both and, although often delicious, won't satisfy the traditionalists. I wanted a roll that fell between those terminals. Something that would comfort the traditionalists and amuse the foodies. I chose wholewheat for it's nutty flavor, maple syrup for a bit of sweetness, and spices for a holiday affect.They have a nice crackly crust. - Kevin —Kevin
Test Kitchen Notes
These rolls were the perfect compliment to my butternut soup starter on Christmas Eve. They are everything I could want in a dinner roll: crusty outside, soft and chewy inside, but there is nothing plain or ordinary about these. The maple syrup and coriander give them a hint of sweetness that really sets them apart from their white-bread counterparts. Also, the addition of the whole wheat flour made me think that I was eating something healthy: always a plus. I would definitely make these again. They add to the meal instead of just being something to sop up the last of the liquids. —cookfordays
wholewheat flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 1/4 teaspoons
instant yeast (1 packet)
fresh lemon zest
warm whole milk
warm maple syrup
unsalted butter - melted
In This Recipe
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer thoroughly combine the wholewheat flour and all-purpose flour with yeast, zest, salt, coriander, nutmeg, and cloves.
In a smaller bowl combine water, milk, syrup, and melted butter. (Note: I put all these in a two-cup measuring cup and then microwave the mixture for 1 minute on high.)
If you're using a stand mixer, stir the flour mixture on low and add liquid mixture until shaggy. Switch to the dough hook and, still on low, knead until the dough is cohesive. Increase speed to medium low and knead for 8 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, if not add more all-purpose flour a tablespoon at a time.
If you're mixing by hand, stir liquid mixture into flour mixture until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 15 minutes, using additional flour as needed.
For both: Form dough into a ball by using your fingers to push the edges underneath while forming the ball in your palms. Place dough in a bowl spritzed with oil and spritz top of ball with oil. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled in size - about 1 hour in a 75 degree room.*
Punch down dough and scoop out onto an un-floured board. Fold over twice, pressing firmly with the heels of your hands. Then cover and let rest 10 minutes. Stretch and roll into a log about 12-inches long.
Cut log in half, then cut each half in half, and then each quarter in half. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent drying.
Take one quarter, cut in half, and form each piece into a small ball by squeezing edges into center. Place a ball seam side down on an un-floured surface. Cup one hand over it and roll in a circular motion to form a neat ball. Place on a baking sheet and repeat for remaining dough.
Spritz top of rolls with oil, cover with plastic, and let rise until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon water.
Brush tops of rolls with egg wash then place in center of oven - immediately reducing heat to 375. Bake until well-browned - 20 to 25 minutes - rotating pan from front to back halfway through.
*Tip: During the winter I keep the temperature at around 67 degrees. The dough will rise at this temp, but slowly. So I place a 40-watt bulb in the oven and proof the bread there. Works like a charm.