Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Easy Dinner Rolls

Media has been full of suggestions for things to make for Thanksgiving but I suspect that most of us have already nailed down the menu and have even purchased most of the groceries and drinks needed. The turkey is probably already thawing in the fridge, if it was frozen, since it takes a few days for thawing. You may even have done some of the prep like cutting up the bread for the stuffing or chopping carrots and celery and onions or maybe you made cranberry sauce from scratch this year and it's already in the fridge melding flavors.

So this recipe could be added to your Thanksgiving menu since you can make the dough ahead and because it bakes pretty quickly, not taking up too much of the precious oven time and space on the big day. It could also be baked up as slider rolls the day after. Imagine small fluffy rolls stuffed with some leftover turkey, a bit of cranberry sauce, and a touch of gravy...sounds like a nice snack or easy meal to me.

This dough can be made up as long as a week before it's baked. The longer you leave it in the cold, the more flavorful it becomes, but you do need to punch it down once a day. When you are ready to bake a few rolls, cut off a chunk and shape the rolls while still cold, then let the dough warm up while it rises. Mine had quite a bit of oven spring and, since they were simple balls,  right before baking I cut a slit about an inch and a half long on the top of each one to make sure they didn't pop out to the side, after I had brushed them  with some milk.

An added benefit of baking these...your house will smell delightfully of freshly baked bread...all warm and yeasty!

Refrigerator Rolls

From The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham

1 cup milk, warmed ( I used soy milk)

2 packages dry yeast

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted (I used non-dairy margarine)

1 egg, beaten

3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

 Stir the warm milk and yeast together in a large mixing bowl and let stand for a couple of minutes to dissolve. Add the sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat to mix well, then add enough more flour to make a manageable dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, knead for about 2 minutes, then let rest for 10 minutes.

 Resume kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, sprinkling on just enough additional flour to keep it from being too sticky. Place in a large greased bowl, cover, and let rise until double in bulk.

Punch down the dough, and place it in a greased bowl or a large plastic food-storage bag. Cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate. If you use the plastic bag, seal it loosely around the dough  to allow room for the dough to expand. Come back sometime within 3 – 4 hours and punch the chilled dough down – until it is thoroughly cold, it will rise as usual. Check the dough once a day from then on, and if it has begun to rise, punch it down.

To make rolls, simply pull off as much of the dough as you think you’ll need, and shape in into rolls, such as crescent, Parker House, cloverleaf or fantan shapes. Let rise for about 20 minutes while the oven preheats to 400 degrees F. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.

 This recipe makes about 30 rolls, depending on size. Can be stored in the fridge for about a week, ready to use whenever you need it. Just cut off enough for a few rolls, shape and bake as described above.


  1. Marian7:40 PM

    Do you think you can do this one with whole wheat flour? Looks like a fun way to have fresh bread with soups and stews for dinner.

  2. Yes Marian, you can do it with whole wheat flour...but you may need to add a few tablespoons more milk since whole grain flour often absorbs more liquid in a recipe than white flour. I would add the flour slowly and when it seems like you almost have enough, let it sit for ten minutes, then resume adding a little more flour. Begin kneading it, adding flour as needed to make a soft dough which holds its shape.

  3. The ten minutes sitting time allows the bran to soak up moisture so that you will have a better sense of how much more to add before you start kneading.