Dinner rolls are really soft, spongy buns that are usually served at restaurants and dinner parties, usually as an accompaniment. While I was living in the UK, I often noticed that almost every Italian restaurant served Dinner Rolls or a kind of bread (usually for free), as a starter before you even make your order. They are generally served alongside some herb’d butter. The bread is especially nice and crusty with the inside being pillow-y soft and stretchy. Today’s recipe is the whole wheat version of this, making it a healthier option. You could also substitute almond or soy flour to make it gluten free.
The Indian adaptation of this recipe is our very own Pav buns, often served as part of the Bombay street food style menu. From the infamous Pav Bhaji (Pav served with a potato based bhaji or curry to the impeccable Vada Pavs (Pav buns stuffed with Vada, a savoury style doughnut, and some spiced up garlic powder served along with some sweet and spicy chutneys) and spicy Dabelis (Pav stuffed with a tangy, sweet-spicy potato filling served with red chilli and garlic chutney), the options are endless.
Another adaptation would be to stuff these with a small cube of mozzarella cheese inside before baking, and brush them with some garlic butter and they will turn into beautiful cheesy garlic dough balls!
Dinner Rolls are usually made of all purpose flour or maida. Nothing can replace the texture that this gives any kind of bread due its high gluten content- the result is extremely soft, smooth, more chewy and elastic bread- in contrast to whole wheat flour, which still gives you a soft, but a slightly crumbly texture. Nevertheless, these are delicious and will leave you craving for more. Now, on to the recipe!
- Whole Wheat Flour- 1 1/2 cups
- Yeast- 2 tsp
- Salt- 1 tsp
- Sugar- 2 tsp
- Oil- 2 to 3 tbsp+ 1 tbsp while kneading
- Milk- 1/4 cup+ 1 tsp to brush over the rolls before baking
- Ghee (Clarified Butter) or Regular Butter, to serve
Preparing your yeast mixture
- Add a teaspoon of dry, active yeast to a quarter cup of lukewarm water.
- Then, add sugar, dissolve and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes
- The yeast mixture will become frothy and will start forming a layer on top.
- You can also add warm milk instead of water to make the yeast mixture. I used water.
Making the dough
- Take some flour, add salt and mix well.
- Then, make a well in the centre and add 2 tbsp oil, along with your yeast mixture and 1/4 cup of milk. Mix well and add more milk if required to make a soft dough. it will be a little sticky at this stage.
- Then, add 1 tsp of oil to this and fold into the dough. Bring it to a clean surface, oil your hands and knead well to form a smooth, pliable dough. Put it back in the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with a hot muslin cloth and let the dough rest for 10-12 minutes.
- Grease a baking tray with some oil/ butter. Divide the dough into six equal portions and shape them into round balls.
- Place them in the baking tray giving some space in between them.
- Let this rest, covered again with a hot muslin cloth for two to three hours.
- Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
- Now, you will notice that the balls have doubled in size. Brush them with some milk on top. Chuck them in the oven and bake these at 180 degrees Celsius, for 20-22 minutes or until they are nice and golden on top!
Brush these super soft dinner rolls with butter or ghee on top, while they are hot. Serve warm or at room temperature! 🙂
- While preparing the yeast mixture, it is important to use lukewarm to warm water. If you use hot water, the yeast will die.
- Sugar serves as food for the yeast. So, add atleast a teaspoon.
- It is important to let the dough ferment for a good two to three hours, as this ensures that the buns rise while baking. This will make them fluffy, airy and soft.
- The fermentation time differs depending on the climate you live in, but try to keep it in a warm place (usually the place you set your yogurt in).
- Make sure you do not over bake them, i.e., do not prolong their time in the oven, as this will only make them harder on the inside.