When Brad and I first got married, I tried my hand at making homemade yeast bread and rolls from scratch- and they were never quite right. I had just about given up when my friend Anna introduced me to her recipe for Parker House Rolls. She also recommended using Fleischmann’s Yeast, and everything changed! Thanks, Anna 🙂
This has become my go-to dough- I use it for everything from Dinner Rolls to Cinnamon Rolls. I’ll give you all my variations and hopefully you love them all as much as we do! I’ve decided it might be less confusing to give you the dough and dinner roll recipe here, and you can click on each one of the variations below to be taken there 🙂
Favorite Dough Recipe
This recipe works great as Dinner Rolls, Meat Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls, Monkey Bread, and Raspberry Danish! You can use the entire batch for any one thing- or mix and match! I have experimented with various ways to make all of these ahead of time and have found that the best way is to make them completely, let cool, then cover and freeze.
I use my stand mixer for this- you are supposed to use the dough hook, but I use my paddle. If you don't have a mixer, you can mix by hand, too 🙂
In your mixer bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast. Give it a mix while you heat the water. (I microwave water for 60-80 seconds in a glass bowl)
Cut your butter into small slices and gradually add to flour mixture with the mixer on lowest speed.
Once you've added all of the butter, add the water slowly with the mixer still going. Allow to mix for a minute or two to get everything incorporated. Then add the egg and mix for a couple more minutes- you can turn the speed up a notch or two.
Back on low speed, gradually add 2 1/2-3 more cups of flour 1/2 -1 cup at a time, keeping the mixer going the whole time. If you add the flour too fast, it will poof out all over the place 😉
Keep mixing and slowly adding that flour until the dough forms a ball and just barely pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will still be sticky, but you don't want a ball of goop, and you want all of the flour you've added to be incorporated. We'll add the final flour by hand during kneading.
Dust your countertop with some of the remaining flour and plop your dough out of the bowl onto the flour (you may have to scrape some out with a spoon and that's fine). Dust your hands with some flour and begin kneading the dough, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the counter and your hands, but don't over-do it. You want the dough to be a nice, moist ball- but still a bit sticky. I've heard it said that the dough should feel kinda like your ear lobe. I knead for 5-8 minutes and until the dough quits sticking to the counter, but isn't floury like biscuits.
Now, spray your mixing bowl with cooking spray, plop your dough in, flip it over so both sides get some spray, and cover with a clean towel to let rise.
Place in a warmish spot and allow to rise til doubled, roughly 45 minutes.
You can keep your counter the way it is for now, as you'll need to roll your dough out on it later (unless you are only making Monkey Bread).
If you are making dinner rolls, continue with these directions. If you are making something else, like cinnamon rolls- continue from here with that recipe 🙂
For dinner rolls-
If you are doing just dinner rolls, spray 2- 13x9 pans and set aside. Sometimes I also need an 8x8 pan, so you might want to get one out, but don't spray til you know you'll need it 😉
Melt your additional stick of butter in a small dish.
Once the dough has risen, remove the towel and punch it down. My kids love this part 😉
Divide it in two and roll out on your very lightly floured counter.
I have shaped and cut my rolls a lot of different ways, the original being to roll out the dough, then cut circles with a biscuit cutter, then dipping the circles in butter before folding them in half and setting in the pan.
But the current favorite is this-
Roll out dough into a roughly 12"x18" rectangle.
Brush the dough with butter, then fold in half. Roll it just a little more to squish together, then cut little 2" squares with a sharp knife, dipping in more butter before setting in the pans. You want to give them a little space to rise, but not too much. I usually get about 12 per 13x9 pan.
Allow these to rise again before baking. You are supposed to let rise for another 45 minutes, but I tend to be in a hurry by now, and often only give them the 15 minutes or so until the oven has heated up. I do not cover them for this second rising.
Heat your oven up. If you are only doing dinner rolls, you can go to 370, but if you are making anything else, like cinnamon rolls, keep it at 350.
I'm kind of a rule breaker when it comes to baking 😉
Once your rolls have risen, or you've run out of patience like me and your oven is heated, bake those rolls for roughly 12-15 minutes. I check them at 12 minutes, then every 1-2 til they're done.
My family prefers a little under-done instead of over-done, and it really depends on your preference and oven- so when in doubt I check a little early. Our joke around here is "2 more minutes", because I'm always checking a lot at the end.
We like them a tiny bit golden, and where they just start to flake apart where you folded them- but not gooey in the middle.