Puffy, pillowy dinner rolls are a Thanksgiving staple! These are rapid-rise, which means there’s less time between you and golden brown deliciousness. This recipe yields enough for a crowd but if you’re not entertaining big this year, they also freeze beautifully.
We enjoy pillowy yeast rolls year-round, but they are an absolute must at our big holiday dinners. I love this recipe because it yields 24 perfect soft dinner rolls with golden tops and a lightly tangy buttermilk flavor. They’re also ‘rapid rise’ which means a higher amount of yeast is used in the dough, so they are quicker to make than most recipes. Instead of babysitting dough all day (or waiting overnight) you’ll have cotton-soft yeast rolls in about 1 hour 30 minutes.
First of all, you must use instant yeast for this recipe for quickest results. I keep Saf Gold Instant Yeast on hand because it works well with most sweet dough recipes (think cinnamon rolls, danish pastries, etc). It performed great in this recipe, but I’ve also used the all-purpose variety of Saf yeast, which consistently yields excellent results. In the above photo on the left, I’ve mixed the warm ingredients with the yeast. Six minutes later in the photo on the right, you can see how active the yeast is by all the bubbles and foam produced.
You’ll use 2 1/2 tablespoons of instant yeast for this recipe (record scratch//// yes, tablespoons!) I recommend using a standing mixer to mix and knead the dough because it makes short work of the tasks. To help you along, I’m including a step-by-step pictorial with important visual cues. The recipe is not hard to follow, and I feel that anyone who wants scratch-made dinner rolls could absolutely have them tonight! (Just be sure to get the instant yeast – it’s THE STUFF, I tell ya!).
- After the warm yeast mixture foams and bubbles, you’ll add 5 cups of flour to it and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until a shaggy dough forms.
- Switch to the dough hook and add additional flour a little at a time, until the dough begins to form a ball but is slightly sticky to the touch. I added about 3/4 cup of additional flour. At this stage, when the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl, increase the mixer speed and knead for about 5 minutes on medium-low speed.
- Remove the dough to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- 20 minutes later, you should have a bowl of beautifully inflated dough.
- Deflate the dough with your hand. Some people punch it with a fist, but I gently deflate it with an open hand.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and pat it into a rectangle about 8×12 inches.
- Cut the dough into 24 squares (exact cutting instructions are described in the recipe). Cup a square in one hand and use your other hand to roll it into a ball (as if you were forming meatballs).
- Place the rolled dough on a parchment-lined baking pan. I’ve used a half sheet pan here, but you could use two 13×9-inch baking dishes with 12 buns in each dish. Place them about 1/2-inch apart on the pan and cover for a second rise.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are golden. I brushed the baked rolls with melted butter and popped them back in for about 3 minutes. This is optional, but I love the extra layer of flavor that salted butter gives the rolls.
These were practically made to be stuffed with turkey and cranberry sauce on the day after Thanksgiving. Or if you’re like me, you’ll make mashed potato sandwiches with them. (Helloooo carbs! Not even sorry.)
Most rapid rise yeast doughs don’t have the well-developed flavors of those with longer rise times, but this one really delivers! The use of buttermilk adds richness and and depth of flavor. I hesitate to call anything perfect (heck, nothing I make ever seems perfect enough) but these turn out great every single time. I hope you’ll give them a try!
Perfect Buttermilk Dinner Rolls for a Crowd
- 1/2 cup 120ml lukewarm water
- 2 cups 480ml warm buttermilk (100°F to 110°F)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast Saf Instant recommended!
- 6 to 7 cups 720g to 840g all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons salted butter melted
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the water, buttermilk, butter, sugar salt, and yeast. Stir briefly with a spoon and let sit for 6 minutes, or until the yeast bubbles and foams.
- When the yeast is well-foamed, add 5 cups of flour and mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until a rough, shaggy dough forms.
- Switch to the dough hook and turn to low speed. Add additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until a ball begins to form around the dough hook. (I used about 3/4 cup additional flour.) When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, knead on medium-low speed for 5 minutes. The dough should form a smooth ball and feel tacky to touch.
- Spray a large bowl with baking spray and turn the dough into the bowl. Lightly spray the top of the dough with the baking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 30 minutes in a warm place, until dough is doubled.
- Deflate the dough with your hand and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough into a rectangle 8×12 inches. Cut the dough into four strips lengthwise, and then cut the strips into six portion creating 24 squares. Roll the squares into balls using your cupped hands.
- Place all 24 rolls in a half sheet pan, or place 12 rolls in each of two 13×9-inch baking pans. Space them about 1/2-inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes, or until the rolls are well-puffed.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls turn golden brown. Brush the warm rolls with melted butter before serving. Serve warm.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Quick Dinner Rolls.