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8 Tips For Making Bakery-Quality Dinner Rolls At Home

Because every Thanksgiving table needs dinner rolls.

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In my humble opinion, the best part of Thanksgiving dinner is the rolls. I mean, how would you sop up all of the flavorful turkey juices without a dinner roll?

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And even though they're super simple to make, there are a few key things you need to know to ensure they come out perfect — and having a good recipe is a must.

So we went ahead and rounded up nine of our most helpful tips for making dinner rolls — and we included our ultimate recipe at the bottom of the post so you can make 'em at home.

1. For predictable and consistent results, use all-purpose flour to make your dough.

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For our recipe, we stuck to using good old all-purpose flour. Because this style of flour is so refined, it yields consistent and predictable results — which is precisely what we wanted.

Read more: The Difference Between Baking Flours

2. Use active dry yeast for the most controlled rise.

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When testing our dinner roll recipe, we tested three different types of yeast: Instant, fresh, and active dry. Instant yeast produced a dough that was too hard, the fresh was way too soft, but active dry was just right. The yeast was easy to control and gave us the perfect amount of rise.

3. And make sure it's at the right temperature.

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To activate the yeast, we combined it with warm milk, melted butter, and sugar. The butter and sugar give the yeast food to feed on, and you should begin seeing the dough foam up. Something to watch out for is the temperature of the milk, it should be about the same as your body's. Anything hotter might actually kill your yeast.If it doesn't look foamy after about 10 minutes, throw it out and start over. Your yeast might be past its prime and dead.

4. Kneading the dough by hand takes time — up to 10 minutes actually — so don't worry about over-kneading it.

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When it comes time to knead your dough, make sure to keep a bit of flour on your surface to prevent it from sticking. If you're kneading it by hand, the entire process can take up to ten minutes. People often worry about over-kneading their dough, but if you're doing it by hand this is pretty unlikely — however, if you use a stand mixer to do the kneading, you can over-knead it. Once your dough forms a smooth ball that holds its shape, stop the mixer. If your dough starts to break apart and look clumpy, you've probably over kneaded it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5. To see if your dough has been kneaded enough, do the window pane test.

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One way to tell if your dough is kneaded enough is to grab a small piece of dough, stretch it between your fingers, and check if it tears. If the dough stretches without tearing, you should be able to see the small strands of gluten and light shining through. This means your dough is good to go. ✓

6. Use a bench scraper to remove any dried bits of dough and flour from your work surface.

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At this point your work surface is probably covered in dry dough and flour. An easy way to clean it off is by using a bench scraper. This handy tools can be purchased online or at most cooking supply stores and will seriously help you out when making bread. If you don't have one, a wet cloth will work just fine.

7. Use a digital kitchen scale to make sure every roll is the same size — or just use the halving method and eyeball it.

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For consistent dough balls, a digital kitchen scale is your friend. You just weigh the entire ball of dough, then divide it into the number of rolls you want to make (in this case, 16) — this is how much you want each dough ball to weigh.

Another way to do it is to cut the dough ball in half, then each half in half, and so forth until you have 16 pieces. This method won't be as accurate, but it will give you rolls that are roughly the same size.

8. No matter how eager you are, don't rush the final proof.

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Once you divide your dough and roll the pieces into balls, it's time for the final proof. This rise can takes time, so don't rush it. If you're impatient and don't give them enough time to rise, you may end up with under-proofed rolls that are dense — and if you over-proof them (if you accidentally left them for over an hour) the rolls could rise too high and collapse in the oven.

For our roll recipe, 30 minutes is the perfect amount of proofing time before they hit the oven.

9. Use an egg wash to give your rolls a nice glossy finish.

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Right before hitting the oven, we egg-washed our rolls to give them a nice brown color and glossy shine. When brushing them, go slowly and make sure you don't poke them too hard. The rolls are super delicate at this point, so brushing them too aggressively can cause them to deflate.

After egg washing, we sprinkled our rolls with a bit of flaky sea salt, which is totally optional. Sesame seeds, whole spices, and freshly ground black pepper would all be great options for sprinkling on top.

And that's it! Your rolls are ready to hit the oven. These babies bake up golden, pillowy, and delicious. While they may be humble, dinner rolls are one of the most underrated Thanksgiving side dishes.

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So, are you ready to bake some rolls? Let's do it!


Servings: 16


1 cup whole milk (110-115˚F (45˚C))

½ cup warm water (110-115˚F (45˚C))

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup sugar

2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

Neutral oil, for greasing

Sea salt, for sprinkling


1. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine the warm milk, warm water, melted butter, and sugar.

2. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the wet ingredients, stir to combine, and let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt, and stir to combine. Beat 1 egg, then add to the bloomed yeast mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and use a knife to stir until the mixture just comes together and forms a dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough becomes smooth. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. To test if it’s done, tear off a small piece of dough and stretch into a thin layer. If the dough doesn’t rip, it’s ready. Or, press a finger into the dough to see if it bounces back.

4. Lightly grease a large glass bowl with oil. Add the dough, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

5. Punch down the dough, then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead for a few more minutes, just until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes.

6. Divide the dough into 16 equal balls, roughly the size of tangerines.

7. Knead the balls, gathering the edges of the dough toward the center to make a taut, round ball with a smooth top.

8. Place the rolls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.

9. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).

10. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. Uncover the rolls and brush with the egg wash. Lightly sprinkle the rolls with sea salt.

11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the rolls have lightly browned and doubled in size.

12. Enjoy!

And if you're looking for more Thanksgiving recipes, tips, and tricks, check out our Tasty-est Thanksgiving to help make this Thanksgiving the best one yet.

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