Holiday season is officially here and that means tons of family time, dinner parties, and of course all of the holiday food favorites! Growing up I was never much of a roll or bread person, I love crackers and chips but bread and rolls just never did it for me, that was always my brothers territory. However, Thanksgiving was always the exception, the holiday where leftover turkey sandwiches on those luscious yeast rolls were a must in my family.
My family always goes all out on Thanksgiving from the turkey to the sides, but the one thing that we always buy, as I am sure most of Americans do, are the yeast rolls. They always seem too intimidating to make, and their reputation is for being fickle and taking too long with all of the rising breaks needed.
These delicious yeast rolls are unlike those that take hours to make, actually only taking an hour total from resting to kneading to rising to baking. These rolls are made with whole wheat flour and self rising flour ( whoever tells you that an all whole wheat roll will be light and fluffy is lying because lets be honest whole wheat flour does not hold the gluten needed to make these springy, soft and fluffy rolls that we all dream about on Thanksgiving morning).
They use rapid rising instant yeast ( the key to not having to stand around waiting for hours for the dough to rise) as well as a small amount of sugar to bring the yeast flavor out in the rolls. These are the perfect compliment to your Thanksgiving dinner or really any dinner or party at all!
3/4 cup whole wheat flour ( I really like King Arthurs)
2 tablespoons sugar ( you can also use honey for this as well)
1 tablespoon salt
2 packets of instant rapid rise yeast ( I use Fleshmanns)
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine ( butter is preferred and you can also use Ghee)
1/2 cup of milk or almond milk ( if using almond milk your rolls will instantly have as sweeter taste which may be what you are looking for!)
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of self rising flour or regular all purpose flour
1. Take the whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and sugar and add it to a bowl ( I use my stand mixer and so I add it to the bowl that attaches to the stand mixer.
2. In a microwavable bowl add your milk, butter, and water. Place in the microwave in 30 second increments until the temperature is 130 degrees ( i use a meat thermometer to determine this!)
** note you can also use a small saucepan and the stove top to heat up the liquids.
3. Once the mixture is at 130 degrees add it to your dry ingredients and let sit for 2 minutes allowing the yeast to activate.
4. Turn on your mixer using the dough attachment ( if you are not using a stand mixer use a wooden spoon and your hands to mix the mixture)
5. Mix until well combined and then slowly in 1/4 cup increments add the self rising/ all purpose flour. Make sure to mix well in between adding the flour and scrap down the sides of the bowl.
6. Once the mixture looks like a ball of dough take the dough out and knead it for roughly 8 minutes ( you can check for gluten activation by putting your thumb in the middle of the dough and pressing, if it spring back the gluten is activated, if not it needs more kneading)
7. Once done, cover with a towel in a bowl and let rise for 10 minutes ( do NOT ski this part as rising is important)
8. Once done rising take our and evenly divide the dough into 12 pieces ( make the dough into a thick rectangle and then make 12 squares) roll the squares into balls and then place in a well greased cake pan. Cover with a towel and put in your oven or on top of your stove top and let rise for 30 minutes.
9. Once done rising preheat your oven to 375 and brush the tops of your rolls with butter and salt flakes.
10. Bake for 18 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
11. You can either serve immediately or cover well and they will keep up to 5 days.
12. To make ahead, make the rolls to the point of step 9 and then place in the fridge until ready to bake ( up to 36 hours)