If dinner rolls are on your Thanksgiving dinner menu, then you have come to the right place! These yeast rolls are soft, fluffy, and perfect for dipping into all of your favorite sauces, to enjoy with Thanksgiving turkey, or just tear them apart and stuff them in your mouth. They're easy to make and taste so much better than anything you can buy at a store.
A secret ingredient makes these Thanksgiving rolls super fluffy and keeps them soft and squishy for days! It's the perfect make-ahead recipe, and your company won't believe that they are homemade from scratch. By the way, I have the perfect sausage stuffing recipe for you to up your holiday dinner game.
- Potato flour for super soft rolls
- Bread flour vs. all-purpose flour
- Instant yeast vs. active dry yeast
- Overnight and same-day preparation
- Make-ahead and freezing instructions
- How to reheat them
- How long do they last
- How to cut rolls for sliders
- Expert Tips for success
- Tips on how to improve your oven spring
- How to make and shape the rolls
- More bread recipes for you to try
- Baker's Percentages
Potato flour for super soft rolls
To make the best yeast rolls for dinner that are fluffy and soft for days, add some potato flour to the yeast dough. You will be surprised what a huge difference this makes. Potato flour has a positive effect on bread dough in several ways. It attracts and holds water, resulting in moist bread rolls with a tender crumb. It also extends shelf life and keeps yeast bread soft and tender for days.
You can use either potato flour, potato starch, or instant potato flakes (the thing you use to make instant mashed potatoes). If you are using potato flakes use 1 ¼ tbsp.
Bread flour vs. all-purpose flour
The best flour for bread rolls is, without a doubt, bread flour. It gives yeast bread the desired texture and makes for a great chew. I recommend any bread flour with 12.5% - 14.5% protein content.
If you don't have bread flour available, you can use all-purpose flour, but the result may not be quite as good. If you use all-purpose flour, you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons more because all-purpose flour doesn't absorb as much liquid as bread flour.
Instant yeast vs. active dry yeast
I prefer instant quick yeast for all my bread recipes because it can be added to the flour without activating it first in lukewarm liquid and sugar. However, this recipe works with both yeasts, and it comes down to personal preference which type of yeast you want to use.
If you are baking with active dry yeast, warm the milk until it's about 110°F (43°C), add the sugar and 2 ¼ teaspoon of active dry yeast. Then let sit for 5-10 minutes until the surface starts to look foamy. Then proceed with the recipe as directed.
Overnight and same-day preparation
Preparing the dough the day before and letting it rise overnight in the refrigerator improves both the texture and the taste of the dinner rolls. So whenever you have the time to plan this far in advance, I recommend you take this route. It's the procedure chosen in this recipe, and you can find the detailed instructions at the end of this post.
However, sometimes it has to be quick, and overnight proofing in the refrigerator is not an option. In this case, let the dough rise at room temperature (the warmer the temperature, the faster it rises) until it doubles (approx. 1-2 hours, depending on the dough and the ambient temperature). Then shape the rolls, let rise a second time, and bake immediately.
Make-ahead and freezing instructions
You can freeze the shaped, unbaked rolls for up to 2 months. Therefore, place the shaped buns in the baking pan, wrap the form tightly with plastic wrap twice and place it in a large freezer bag or container to avoid freezer burn. Alternatively, you can freeze them individually instead of in the pan.
The evening before serving, take them out of the freezer, remove the plastic wrap, and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Take out of the fridge before baking and let rise at room temperature until doubled. Then bake according to the instructions.
Baked dinner rolls can be frozen well for up to 3 months. To freeze, let them cool completely. Then wrap them individually or the whole pan in plastic wrap and place them in freezer bags or containers. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature overnight and warm up before serving.
How to reheat them
- Single rolls (fresh or thawed)
- Microwave - 15-30 seconds
- Air Fryer - 1-2 minutes at 300°F (149°C)
- Oven - wrap in aluminum foil and reheat for about 5-10 minutes at 300°F (149°C)
- A whole pan of baked rolls (fresh or thawed)
- Wrap the pan in aluminum foil and bake at 300°F (149°C) for about 10-15 minutes until hot.
- A whole pan of frozen, baked rolls
- Wrap the pan in aluminum foil and bake at 300°F (149°C) for about 20-25 minutes until hot.
How long do they last
As already mentioned, the potato flour extends the shelf life and keeps the rolls soft and fresh, when stored in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 4 days.
How to cut rolls for sliders
These rolls are perfect for making hamburgers, cheeseburgers, or your favorite slider recipes. To prepare them for making sliders, place the baked rolls without tearing them into single rolls on a cutting board and cut them in half horizontally with a long serrated knife. Then place the bottom bread layer into a pan, fill to your liking, place the top layer on top, brush with butter, sprinkle with herbs, garlic, or sesame seeds, and bake.
Expert Tips for success
- If your dough isn't rising, it could be due to expired yeast. You can try putting the dough in a warmer environment and see if it just takes longer to rise. If it doesn't rise at all, it's better to start over with fresh yeast.
- Use some oil on your hands and work surface instead of flour when shaping the buns. This will ensure that you don't work more flour into the dough and end up with super light dinner rolls.
- Let the shaped buns rise until they have doubled in size. If you bake them under-proofed, your rolls will turn out flat.
- As soon as you remove them from the oven, brush them with melted butter and cover for 20 minutes. The secret to a super soft crust!
Tips on how to improve your oven spring
A good oven spring ensures a light and airy crumb, which is essential for making bread rolls. Here are a few tips on how to help your buns rise nicely in the oven.
- Make sure your oven is preheated and really hot. When the rolls hit the oven, the first few minutes are crucial and determine how much they will rise. If the temperature is too low, the buns won't rise enough. Be quick when transferring the rolls to the oven and don't leave the oven door open for too long.
- Use a baking steel and place it on the lower rack of your oven (underneath the baking pan). The additional steel mass ensures that your oven does not cool down and maintains the temperature. It's a great investment for all bread and pizza dough bakers. If you are using a baking steel, be sure to preheat the oven for 45 minutes.
- Cover the rolls with a second baking pan for the first 5-10 minutes. I love placing a second 9x13-inch (23x33cm) pan upside down on the baking pan that the buns are in. It has a similar effect to using a dutch-oven for sourdough bread and gives the dough a chance to rise quite a bit before a crust can form. Make sure the pan you are using as a cover is deep enough so that the buns have enough room to rise.
- Brushing the yeast rolls with egg wash before baking helps to delay crust formation. The rolls can expand more when the crust is flexible and hydrated.
How to make and shape the rolls
Prepare the dough
Combine the flour, potato flour, sugar, salt, yeast, eggs, and milk, and knead on low speed until it comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.
Knead on low speed and gradually add the butter until it is completely incorporated.
Once all of the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to high and knead until the dough is smooth, releases from the sides of the bowl, and passes the windowpane test.
How to do the windowpane test?
To do the windowpane test, let the dough rest for about 1 minute after mixing. Then take a small portion of the dough between your fingers and slowly stretch it until the center is very thin and light can shine through without tearing. This means that you have kneaded and developed the dough sufficiently. If it doesn't pass the windowpane test and it tears, knead for 1-2 minutes longer.
It's a very soft, smooth, and satiny dough that is slightly tacky to the touch.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled container, cover, and let rest until doubled.
Shape the rolls
Roughly shape the dough into a square and divide it into 15 equal pieces.
Note: The following process is easier with both hands. Watch the video to see how I shape the rolls with both hands.
Apply a little oil to your fingers, take one piece of dough, roll it into a ball, and deflate it while you roll it up. Then stretch up the dough on the side farthest away from you
and fold over the center.
Then rotate the dough by about 45°, stretch the dough farthest away from you and fold it over the previous fold and over the center. Repeat this 6-8 times. The goal is to have a round ball with all the seams on one side.
Then place the dough ball seam side down, gently cup it with one hand, and form a C-shape with your hand. Move the dough with your hand in a circular motion and gently press it against the work surface to build tension, stretch the surface of the dough, and close the seams at the bottom.
Let rise and bake
Arrange the dough balls in the prepared baking pan in 3x5 rows with the same distance between the individual dough balls. Let sit at room temperature for 45-90 minutes until they have doubled. Then brush with egg wash and bake.
Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter, and cover with a clean and dry kitchen towel for 20 minutes.
Then uncover and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
More bread recipes for you to try
If you love making your own bread, you are in good company. I have plenty of delicious bread recipes waiting for you.
Yeast Dinner Rolls
- 3 cups bread flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 tablespoon potato flour
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¾ teaspoon instant yeast
- ¾ cup full-fat milk
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1-2 tablespoon milk
Butter (for the baked buns)
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Prepare the dough
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a hook attachment, add the flour, potato flour, sugar, salt, yeast, milk, and eggs, and knead on low speed until it comes together about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Knead on low speed and gradually add the butter until it is completely incorporated. Once all of the butter is incorporated, increase the speed to high and knead for about 4-6 minutes until the dough is smooth, releases from the sides of the bowl, and passes the windowpane test. It's a very soft, smooth, and satiny dough that is slightly tacky to the touch. If you find that you need to knead a few minutes longer to pass the windowpane test, give the dough a short break for a few minutes to avoid overheating the dough. Otherwise, the yeast could cripple.
- Lightly spray a straight-sided container with oil and transfer the dough to the container; lightly oil the top of the dough as well. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 10-20 minutes until it has grown by about 10-20%. Then put it in the refrigerator and let rest overnight, about 8-12 hours. It will at least double in this time.
Shape the rolls
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, line a 9x13-inch (23-33cm) baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil. Set aside.
- Remove the dough from the container with a dough scraper and place it on a very lightly oiled work surface. Roughly shape the dough into a square and divide it into 15 equal pieces.
- Apply a little oil to your fingers, take one piece of dough, roll it into a ball, and deflate it while you roll it up. Then stretch up the dough on the side farthest away from you and fold over the center. Then rotate the dough by about 45°, stretch the dough farthest away from you and fold it over the previous fold and over the center. Repeat this 6-8 times. You will notice that the dough builds up tension and becomes firmer with every fold. The goal is to have a round ball with all the seams on one side.
- Then place the dough ball seam side down, gently cup it with one hand, and form a C-shape with your hand. Move the dough with your hand in a circular motion and gently press it against the work surface to build tension, stretch the surface of the dough, and close the seams at the bottom. If the dough is a bit sticky, oil your hands very lightly. Avoid using flour on the work surface to allow the dough to anchor to the surface as it moves. Do this gently without tearing the surface of the dough, and don't overwork the dough. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Let rise and bake
- Arrange the dough balls in the prepared baking pan in 3x5 rows with the same distance between the individual dough balls. Let sit at room temperature for 45-90 minutes until they have doubled.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C) for 15-20 minutes.
- Brush the dough balls with egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter, and cover with a clean and dry kitchen towel for 20 minutes. Then uncover and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
You can find the video in the post above. If you don't see a video, please check your browser settings.
This is an enriched bread dough that means that milk, eggs, and butter are used, so it’s different from lean sourdough bread, which is just water, flour, and salt.
|Bread and Potato Flour||386g||100%|
Tip: For perfect results every time, use a kitchen scale and weigh all of the ingredients, including the eggs. The weight of an egg is usually between 55-60g. Your goal is to have a total of 300g of milk and eggs. So, measure the eggs and add enough milk to have a total of 300g.