You won’t believe these rolls are 100% whole wheat – and just plain old regular whole wheat at that. It’s the eggs and butter and honey that make these a so-good-you-can’t-eat-just-one type of roll. They are light and fluffy and almost don’t need any butter – but go ahead anyway.
And if you bring (or serve) these rolls to any dinner, holiday or otherwise, rest assured people will be
begging asking you for the recipe.
And they’re easy, too. Don’t believe me? I’ll show you all the steps, including what the dough should look like so you can see that it’s all true.
How to Make Soft 100% Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls
OK, the first step doesn’t have a picture, but I’ll let you imagine: dissolve 2Tb. of yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water. Just measure out the water in a glass measuring cup (use warm tap water), add the yeast and stir it in with a whisk, and set it aside.
Then, put 1/2 cup of softened butter (no substitutes, please- now is not the time!) in the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1/4 cup of honey and cream them together with the paddle attachment.
Add 3 eggs and beat, scraping the butter from the sides. Add 1 cup of warm buttermilk (or milk) and the yeast mixture.
It will not be smooth, as this picture shows- it’s OK to see lumps of butter floating around.
Add 4-1/2 cups whole wheat flour and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (trust me, you don’t want to leave the salt out- I speak from experience), and mix well.
Change to the dough hook and knead for only a couple of minutes- we’re just trying to loose the extreme stickiness here, not really to develop gluten. Add a couple more tablespoons of flour, if needed.
This was hard to photograph, but a finger touched on the surface should not come away with any dough on it, even though the dough looks sticky. The dough is still sticking to the bowl (good), but not to my finger, so it’s ready to rise.
Just leave it in the mixing bowl, cover it with a towel and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
As you can see here, it has risen some, but is not really “doubled” but it’s OK- it always looks like this for me. They rise more in the pan.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (I always use a clean towel for easy clean-up and less need for flour) and knead with hands a few times, then cover it with 1/2 the towel and let rest for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, pull out a 13×9-inch pan and butter it generously on the bottom and sides.
The dough needs to be divided into 24 even (or as close as you can get) pieces. I flatten it out into a rectangle shape and use a knife to cut it into 24 pieces.
As you can tell, the middle pieces are bigger than the corner ones, so I just cut some off the middle pieces and add them to the corners.
Again this is just how I do it. There could be some great math-and-science way of doing this, but I just eyeball things. I’d love to know if there are other methods out there (other than weighing each piece- that’s a little too much for me!).
Here’s how I learned to shape dinner rolls when I volunteered at my kid’s summer camp: with your left hand (if you’re right-handed) make a circle shape with the thumb and fingers then take the dough in your right hand and push it up through the circle, pushing up in the middle of the dough to form a rounded top.
Whew- that’s hard to explain- thank goodness for pictures!
Then turn the dough ball over and pinch the ends in together. Place the seam side down in the buttered dish- four balls across and six down.
They should be touching in the pan in order to make all the soft sides (the center ones are my favorites…).
Cover (I shake off the towel I used to shape them, then cover with that), and let rise for another hour. Set the timer for 45 minutes, though, so you can turn the oven on to 350 degrees to preheat for the last 15 minutes of the rising time.
This is what they will look like after 1 hour of rising. They are not spilling over the pan, but all the sides are touching now.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. I rotate them after 10 minutes for even browning.
Brush the tops with softened butter when they come out of the oven.
Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.
As soon as they are just warm, pull them out of the pan and pull apart to serve.
Look at that texture- no heavy whole wheat rolls here! These are so good, please give them a try…
- 2 Tb. active dry yeast (instant works, too)
- ½ c. warm water
- ½ c. butter, softened
- ¼ c. honey
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk or milk
- 4-1/2-5 cups whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 tsp. salt
- Dissolve the yeast in the ½ cup warm water in a glass measure. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the eggs and mix, scraping the sides. Add the milk and yeast mixture.
- Add 4-1/2 cups of flour and the salt, mixing until combined. Change to dough hook and knead for 2-3 minutes only, just until no longer tacky, adding a tablespoon or two of flour, if needed.
- Let sit in bowl, covered, to rise for one hour. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times, then let rest 3 minutes.
- Divide into 24 equal pieces, shaping each into a ball and placing in a buttered 13x9-inch baking dish with the pieces touching.
- Let rise, covered for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.