Butter-Dipped Dinner Rolls
From The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (W.W. Norton & Company, 2003)
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 12 Rolls


    Dough starter:
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
    (use only Gold Medal, King Arthur or Pillsbury)
  • cup plus 2 Tablespoons water, room temperature (70 to 90F)
  • 1 Tablespoon plus teaspoon honey
  • teaspoon instant yeast
    Flour mixture and dough:
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
    (use only Gold Medal, King Arthur or Pillsbury)
  • 2 Tablespoons dry milk, preferable non-fat
  • teaspoon instant yeast
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For dough starter:
In a mixer bowl or other large bowl, combine the flour, water, honey, and instant yeast. Whisk until very smooth, to incorporate air, about 2 minutes. The sponge will be the consistency of a thick batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

For dough:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour (reserve ¼ cup if mixing by hand), dry milk, and instant yeast. Sprinkle this on top of the sponge and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to ferment for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature. During this time the sponge will bubble through the flour blanket in places: this is fine.

If using a mixer, add the butter to the bowl and mix with the dough hook on low speed (#2 if using a KitchenAid) for 1 minute or until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. Scrape down any bits of dough. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed (#4 on KitchenAid) for 7 to 10 minutes. It will not come away from the bowl until toward the last minute or so of kneading; it will be smooth and shiny and stick to your fingers. With an oiled spatula, scrape down any dough clinging to the sides of the bowl. If the dough is not stiff, knead it in a little flour. If it is not at all sticky, spray it with a little water and knead it in. (It will weigh about 22 ounces/629 grams.)

If mixing by hand, add the salt and butter to the bowl and, with a wooden spoon or your hand, stir until all the flour is moistened. Knead the dough in the bowl until it comes together, then scrape it onto a lightly floured counter. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, enough to develop the gluten structure a little, adding as little of the reserved flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking. Use a bench scraper to scrape the dough and gather it together as you knead it. At this point, it will be very sticky. Cover it with the inverted bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. (This resting time will make the dough less sticky and easier to work with.)

Knead the dough for another 5 minutes or until it is very smooth and elastic. It should be still be tacky (sticky) enough to cling slightly to your fingers. If the dough is still very sticky, however, add some of the remaining reserved flour, or a little extra. (The dough will weight about 22 ounces/629 grams.)

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2-quart dough-rising container or bowl, lightly oiled with cooking spray or oil. Push down the dough and lightly spray or oil the surface. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. With a piece of tape, mark the side of the container at approximately where double the height of the dough would be. Allow the dough to rese (ideally at 75° to 80°F) until doubled, 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough onto a floured counter and press it gently into a rectangle. It will be full of air and resilient. Try to maintain as many of the air bubbles as possible. Pull out and fold the dough over from all four sides into a tight package, or give it 2 business letter turns and set it back in the container. Again oil the surface, cover, and mark where double the height would now be. (It will fill the container fuller than before because it is puffier with air). Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours or until it reaches the mark.

You need to cut each half of the dough into 12 even pieces: the easiest way to do this is first to roll the dough gently into a long log and cut it into 4 equal pieces, then cut each piece into 3 equal pieces (each one should weigh 1 ¾ ounces/50 grams). Work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered.

If the dough is sticky, flour your hand—but not the counter, so that the dough has a little resistance to help shape it. Roll each piece of dough, cupping your hand over it, to make a smooth ball. Seal the small indentation that forms in the bottom by pinching it tightly. This will help to make a tight skin on the outside of the roll, which will give it an even shape during baking.

Pour the butter into a small bowl. Dip each dough ball into the melted butter and coat all sides, using a pastry feather or brush as necessary, then place it pinched side down in the pan, making 3 rows of 4 rolls each. (The rows of 4 will be touching each other but the rows of 3 will have spaces around them. Because of the spaces, the dough will elongate into loaf shapes.) Repeat with the second batch.

Cover the pans with a large container, or cover loosely with oiled plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise for about 1 ½ hours, until double; the center of the tops will almost reach the top of the pan. When the dough is pressed with a fingertip, the indentation will remain.

Preheat oven to 400°F 1 hour before baking. Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place an oven stone or baking sheet on it, and a sheet pan or cast iron skillet on the floor of the oven, before preheating.

Quickly but gently set the pans on the hot baking stone or hot baking sheet, and toss ½ cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath. Immediately shut the door, and bake for 20 minutes or until medium golden brown (an instant-read-thermometer inserted into the center will read about 212°F). If planning to reheat the rolls to serve later, bake them only for 15 minutes or until pale golden (about 180°F).

Remove the rolls from the oven. Unmold and cool them top-side up on wire racks until just warm, about 20 minutes, then pull apart.


   Published: August 2005