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Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls

Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls
Recipe At-A-Glance
Freezer Friendly1 hour, 45 minutes
This working with yeast is scary? It isn't! This recipe for EASY Buttery Yeast Rolls will make you the star of Thanksgiving dinner!

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Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls

I’ve mentioned it before here, but it’s worth mentioning again – I am very fortunate to be in a family of incredible cooks. Like, not to toot our horn or anything, but we’re bordering on gourmet at times (and then at other times, we make chili dogs, but whatev). I can’t think of a single adult in my family who isn’t supremely good in the kitchen (or on the grill or the smoker). It is a wonderful gift to get to enjoy so many delicious meals prepared by the people that I love the most. We eat gooooooddd.

So keep this in mind when I tell you this little tidbit—we almost always eat frozen dinner rolls with our Thanksgiving dinners. You know the little balls of dough that come 4,000 to a bag in the freezer section? You plop them into a baking dish and let them rise while you cook dinner, and then you bake them, and everyone oooohhs-and-aaaahhhs over your perfectly fluffy and buttery dinner rolls while you try to hide the bag in the trash so no one knows you’re actually afraid of baking with yeast. Yeah, those. Those little balls of dough have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Well not anymore, friends, not anymore.

I took it as my personal mission to conquer the simple dinner roll this year. I wanted the most perfectly fluffy, light, buttery dinner rolls. And I wanted them to be easy. Almost as easy as plopping frozen balls of dough from a bag onto a baking sheet.

I wanted them to be so simple that everyone felt like it was something they could confidently bring to their Thanksgiving shindig. I can do this. You can do this. We can all do this. We can make buttery yeast rolls that everyone will flip over. Yes we can!

Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls

I know a lot of folks find baking with yeast intimidating (especially when you’re doing it for guests), but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you were ever afraid. There are a lot of hardcore bakers out there that will give you very specific rules and requirements about working with yeast—it can definitely be a science—but I honestly don’t think it has to be that complicated.

My suggestions when it comes to working with yeast are pretty simple:

(a) Make sure your yeast is fresh—I like to store mine in a closed canning jar in the fridge or freezer and get a new package every few months. Honestly, if you keep it in the freezer, it’ll last pretty much indefinitely.

(b) Don’t kill your yeast with hot water—yeast will do its thang at room temperature or even in cooler temperatures (albeit much more slowly that at warm temps), but very hot water will kill the yeast. Err on the side of too cool.

That’s it. Really. Yeast isn’t scary. It’s actually kinda cute.

Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls

When it comes to rising yeast dough, there are lots of ways to both speed up or slow down the rising (depending on what you need). If you’re pressed for time and need that dough to rise quickly, here are a few options:

  • Use the oven. Many modern ovens have a “proof” setting. Turn that on and place your covered dough in there to rise. If you don’t have that setting, an oven light often pumps out enough heat, too. Or, just turn on your oven to a low temp (200° or below) for a few minutes, then turn it off, and put the dough in the warm (but off!) oven.
  • Use the fire/wood stove/furnace. Our fireplace hearth is an excellent place to rise dough. Wood stoves, radiators, and other warm (but not too hot) sources of radiant heat are a good option, too. Just make sure to rotate the dough if the heat source is one-directional (like from a fireplace).
  • Try the top of the fridge. The top of our fridge is nice and toasty! Yours might be, too. Try it.
  • On top of a bowl of boiling water. This is my favorite tip, and the one that consistently works for me. Boil water in a kettle. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Rest covered pan/bowl of dough on top of the bowl of water. The heat from the steam does wonders to get dough to pop up fast!
  • Try outside. This isn’t applicable in November in Indiana, but in August? You better bet I’m rising my dough out in the 90 degree sun on the back deck.

If you need to slow down the rising (as in, maybe you only have time to make the dough before work, but you want to serve rolls for dinner later), try this:

  • Use the fridge. Temps under about 50° will stall the activity of yeast almost to a halt. Place the covered dough in the fridge, and then bring it out to rise about an hour before baking time.
  • Try the basement or cellar. Our basement runs around 60-65° in the cool weather months—perfect for slowly rising dough. Yeast is most active at around 75°, so the 10 degree difference goes a long way to slowing the activity down.
  • Try outside. If it’s above freezing (but below room temperature), wrap that dough up and place it outside.

Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls

And, of course, to bring this full circle, you can freeze up these rolls in the dough stage (before they rise), pop ’em in a bag, and have them ready for a meal whenever you need some bread for sopping. Just freeze them flat on a parchment paper covered cooking sheet, then once frozen, store in a labeled zip-top freezer bag. To bake, place the frozen dough balls in a greased baking pan, about a 1/2 inch apart, and then let rise in a warm area until defrosted and at least doubled in volume. Bake as you would if they were fresh.

Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls

I almost always do all my dough-making in my stand mixer, but just in case you aren’t madly in love with a red KitchenAid like I am, I’ve also included directions for making these buttery yeast rolls both by hand and in a bread machine. Enjoy!

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Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls

Easy Buttery Yeast Rolls


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 90 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 24 rolls 1x

Description

Think working with yeast is scary? It isn’t! This recipe for EASY Buttery Yeast Rolls will make you the star of Thanksgiving dinner!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (not too hot)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, plus more for brushing
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 3 1/24 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

Stand Mixer Directions

  1. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add in the water, egg, melted butter, honey, and yeast. Turn on to low and mix for just a few seconds until combined.
  2. Add in 3 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Turn on to low and mix until well-combined. Add in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is not too sticky, but still soft and pliable (you might not need all the flour).
  3. Turn the mixer up to medium, and let it knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is soft, smooth, and not as sticky.
  4. Spray an 11 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Form the dough into small balls—a little bigger than the size of a golf ball—and then place in the prepared baking dish, spacing them about a 1/2 inch apart.
  5. Cover the baking dish loosely with plastic wrap, and then let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (about an hour in my kitchen, but your results may vary).
  6. Preheat oven to 350°. Once rolls have risen, brush tops with melted butter, then bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Brush with more melted butter just before serving.

Bread Machine Directions

  1. In the pan of a bread machine, add in the water, egg, melted butter, honey, yeast, 4 cups of flour, and salt. Turn the machine on the dough cycle. Check after a few minutes of mixing, and add more flour if necessary (you’re looking for a slightly sticky, soft dough). You might not need all the flour.
  2. Once the dough has completed the kneading in the bread machine, turn off the machine and remove the dough.
  3. Spray an 11 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Form the dough into small balls—a little bigger than the size of a golf ball—and then place in the prepared baking dish, spacing them about a 1/2 inch apart.
  4. Cover the baking dish loosely with plastic wrap, and then let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (about an hour in my kitchen, but your results may vary).
  5. Preheat oven to 350°. Once rolls have risen, brush tops with melted butter, then bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Brush with more melted butter just before serving.

Bowl and Spoon Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the water, egg, melted butter, honey, and yeast. Mix until just combined using a wooden spoon.
  2. Add in 3 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Stir until well-combined. Then, add in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is not too sticky, but still soft and pliable (you might not need all the flour).
  3. Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is soft, smooth, and not as sticky.
  4. Spray an 11 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Form the dough into small balls—a little bigger than the size of a golf ball—and then place in the prepared baking dish, spacing them about a 1/2 inch apart.
  5. Cover the baking dish loosely with plastic wrap, and then let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (about an hour in my kitchen, but your results may vary).
  6. Preheat oven to 350°. Once rolls have risen, brush tops with melted butter, then bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Brush with more melted butter just before serving.

 

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

15 Responses
  1. amada june

    fab, love all your tips! i mentioned this in a comment before but even though i’ve been baking with yeast for a couple years now i haven’t been very adventurous with straying from the recipe in any way (including adjusting rising times, etc). and i don’t know how it never occurred to me to make extra rolls and freeze the dough for future use…brilliant!!

  2. Juli

    I tried this recipe using bread flour, and A.P. flour, and followed the rest of the directions to a tee… and the rolls were just ok. They seemed a little tough, like they needed a second rising time to make them fluffy. The taste was really good with the A.P. flour, much better than bread flour. My bread-loving son said that these were just ok, but ate 3. I’ll try again with a second proofing to see if that makes a difference in the rolls density.

  3. It tasted good but nearly biscuit. I made it yesterday and mother in law thought it is biscuit and i told it is rolls. 🙁 i followed the recipe and yeast dough rises.

  4. Dot Redmann

    I wouldn’t use this recipe again,
    The rolls didn’t get large and fluffy.
    They are somewhat hard and wouldn’t brown lightly.
    Sad I tried your recipe for such a special Holiday as Thanksgiving. :/

  5. LucaBella

    Just made these and took them out of the oven. I did do two rises, once in the bowl covered in oil, and once again when I made them into rolls. These are excellent, double rise people!!

    My mom is thrilled, thanks!

  6. Jamie

    I was skeptical that they would be so easy and delicious. I’ve always struggled with yeast bread but these came out amazing. They didn’t brown at all but still yummy!

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