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We thought the classic light, tender American dinner roll couldn’t get any better. Then we tried a cutting-edge Asian baking technique.
Moist, fluffy American dinner rolls are great when fresh but quickly lose those qualities as they sit. We took a classic dinner roll recipe and applied a Japanese bread-making method called tangzhong, which adds extra moisture to the dough in the form of a flour paste. The added liquid in the dough extends the rolls’ shelf life—they maintain their moist, fluffy texture for more than a day. To support the weight of the extra moisture, we built a strong gluten structure by making some changes to the mixing method—adding a resting period called an autolyse and withholding the butter until the gluten was firmly established. The shaping method was also important. Flattening each portion of dough and rolling it up in a spiral organized the gluten strands into coiled layers, which baked up into feathery sheets.
|3||tablespoons bread flour|
|½||cup cold milk|
|2||cups (11 ounces) bread flour|
|1 ½||teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast|
|4||tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted|
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
We strongly recommend weighing the flour for the dough. The slight tackiness of the dough aids in flattening and stretching it in step 5, so do not dust your counter with flour. This recipe requires letting the dough rest for at least 2 hours before baking. The rolls can be made a day ahead. To refresh them before serving, wrap them in aluminum foil and heat them in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes.
1. FOR THE FLOUR PASTE: Whisk water and flour together in small bowl until no lumps remain. Microwave, whisking every 20 seconds, until mixture thickens to stiff, smooth, pudding-like consistency that forms mound when dropped from end of whisk into bowl, 40 to 80 seconds.
2. FOR THE DOUGH: In bowl of stand mixer, whisk flour paste and milk together until smooth. Add egg and whisk until incorporated. Add flour and yeast. Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 1 to 2 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes.
3. Add sugar and salt and mix on medium-low speed for 5 minutes. With mixer running, add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to mix on medium-low speed 5 minutes longer, scraping down dough hook and sides of bowl occasionally (dough will stick to bottom of bowl).
4. Transfer dough to very lightly floured counter. Knead briefly to form ball and transfer, seam side down, to lightly greased bowl; lightly coat surface of dough with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
5. Grease 9-inch round cake pan and set aside. Transfer dough to counter. Press dough gently but firmly to expel all air. Pat and stretch dough to form 8 by 9-inch rectangle with short side facing you. Cut dough lengthwise into 4 equal strips and cut each strip crosswise into 3 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, stretch and press dough gently to form 8 by 2-inch strip. Starting on short side, roll dough to form snug cylinder and arrange shaped rolls seam side down in prepared pan, placing 10 rolls around edge of pan, pointing inward, and remaining 2 rolls in center. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
6. When rolls are nearly doubled, adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls until deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rolls cool in pan on wire rack for 3 minutes; invert rolls onto rack, then reinvert. Brush tops and sides of rolls with melted butter. Let rolls cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Rolling the dough into balls, as most recipes instruct, causes the gluten to organize randomly and the crumb to be sponge-like. Stretching and rolling the dough into tight spirals organizes the gluten into sheets, and the rolls develop delicate, distinct layers.
FORM: Gently stretch and press dough into 8 by 2-inch strip.
ROLL: Starting at 1 end, roll strip into snug cylinder.
ARRANGE: Place cylinders seam side down in prepared pan.