I love these dinner rolls. They are easy, they are delightful. They are soft, they pull apart in almost-flaky layers as a good buttery dough should, and they are slightly sweet, which makes them reminiscent of Hawaiian rolls.
My favorite way to serve these is to slice them in half for pulled pork sliders (or post-Easter ham sandwiches!) but they are equally delicious on their own, with butter and jelly, or as a side dish to a roast.
soft buttery dinner rolls
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
4 oz (8 tablespoons) butter
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and shaping
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the finishing touch: 3 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 teaspoon flake sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, stir together warm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit until the yeast is activated and foamy, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave. Whisk in milk, then eggs and sugar. Add mixture all at once to the yeast in the large mixing bowl, followed by the flour and salt.
Mix by hand, or at low speed in a mixer fitted with dough hook, until dough begins to come together. Continue to knead, by hand or by mixer at medium speed, about 5-8 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic and passes the “window-pane” test. Add additional flour as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 1/4 cup more. Just remember—enriched doughs are often quite sticky and require a good amount of kneading, not necessarily more flour, to develop the gluten and form an elastic dough!
Coat a large bowl lightly with oil, form dough into a ball and place in bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours. (If my kitchen is cold, I’ll place the dough inside the oven with the light on—it is just warm enough to help speed the process.)
When the dough has doubled, gently turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide evenly into 12 pieces (I eyeball it), and form into balls. I find the easiest way to shape dough balls is to pull the dough up from the outer edge and press down firmly in the middle. Here’s a quick video guide.
Arrange shaped dough in a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for the second rise, until the dough is puffy, about 30 minutes. (You can judge when the dough is done with its second proof by gently pressing with a finger tip on the side of the shaped rolls. If the imprint stays, the dough is ready.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough is ready, bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Once out of the oven, brush with melted butter and top with a sprinkling of sea salt.
Streamlined and adapted from Food & Wine, November 2017.