Today’s recipe, like many of the previous yeast recipes I’ve posted here, comes from my 1973 Better Homes and Gardens bread cookbook (In case you’re wondering, I bought it on Ebay…I wasn’t even born in 1973!). I love this no-fuss, down-to-earth bread book.
If you’re looking for something hearty and a little more nutritious than regular dinner rolls, this is a recipe for you. We like to eat these with dinner, but leftover rolls are also tasty at breakfast and lunch. My kids like to split them open and spread butter and jam on them, or sometimes peanut butter, but they’re also good with more savory toppings like lunch meat, cheese, or chicken salad.
A combination of whole wheat and white flour is used in this recipe. Though you could use nothing but whole wheat flour, the resulting rolls would not be as fluffy or soft as those made from a combination. So, if you have reluctant whole wheat eaters at your house or if you are a new baker, I highly recommend sticking with the proportions specified in the recipe.
This recipe, like many of my others, starts with a combination of flour and yeast.
Combine the milk, sugar, butter, and salt together, and heat to 120 degrees F. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of sugar, but you can use less if you prefer, and you can substitute honey.
Add the milk to the dry ingredients, add 2 eggs, and beat for three minutes.
(please excuse the glare-y picture…do you have any idea how hard it is to take a picture of smooth batter inside a reflective bowl on a cloudy day? I do.)
Add enough all-purpose flour to make a soft but kneadable dough. I kind of misjudged how soft my dough was this time around…I would not recommend trying to knead dough that is this gloppy if you are a beginner baker!
When I screw up like this, though, I just sprinkle some flour all around the dough and use my bench knife to help me knead until the dough is more organized.
Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. The dough should still be somewhat soft. This is what it looks like right after I finish kneading it:
It’s soft enough that after it sits for a moment or two, it flattens out some.
By the way, I only have white wheat on hand at the moment, as opposed to hard red wheat, so I used that when I ground the flour for this recipe (I have a grain grinder that I use to make all my whole wheat flour). Because of this, my dough looks a little lighter than it would if I used regular whole wheat, so don’t worry if your dough is darker in color than mine.
Put the dough back into the mixing bowl (I don’t even bother to wash mine), cover with wet tea towel, and let it rise in a warm place for an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and divide it into 36 pieces. If you prefer for your rolls to be a little larger, you can cut the dough into 30 pieces. You can shape the dough however you wish, but here are three suggestions.
To make cloverleaves, cut each dough piece into 3 pieces, shape each piece into a ball, and place three into each cup of a greased muffin tin.
To make rosettes, roll each piece of dough into an 8-10 inch rope and tie a loose knot. Tuck one end of the rope into the middle of the knot and tuck the other end underneath the roll.
To make swirls, roll each piece of dough into a 8-10 inch rope, and coil the strand into a snail-like shape.
Cover pans with a wet tea towel and let the rolls rise for 30-40 minutes, or until doubled.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
I highly recommend eating them warm from the oven, spread with butter. Really, I think that’s the best way to eat any bread!
Printable Whole Wheat Roll Recipe
Whole Wheat Rolls
3.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 pkg. (4.5 teaspoons) yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
3-3.5 cups all purpose flour
In a large mixer bowl, combine whole wheat flour and yeast. Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt together just till warm (115-120 F). Add to dry mixture; add eggs. Beat at low speed until combined, then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. By hand, stir in as much of the all-purpose flour as necessary to make a soft, but kneadable dough.
Turn out onto a floured counter and knead for 3-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Punch dough down. Divide into 36 pieces.
To make cloverleaves, divide each piece into 3 pieces, shape each into a ball, and place three balls into each section of a muffin tin.
To make rosettes, roll each piece into a long strand, about 8 inches long. Tie into a loose knot and tuck one end into the top of the roll and one end under the roll.
To make swirls, roll each piece into a long strand, about 8 inches long. Coil the strand into a snail-like shape.
Cover rolls, let them rise for 30-40 minutes, or until doubled, and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
Thursday 6th of October 2016
Hi I use a shower cap over the bowl when rising dough it seals it and you don't need to wash yet another tea towel..............Jessica in Scotland
Tuesday 21st of July 2015
Late to the party but just wanted to share my love for these. Been baking them for many years and they're akways a hit. I just make them into blobs. ;) This cookbook alao has a perfect recipe for authentic pita bread!
Thursday 15th of May 2014
I know I am commenting WAY late, but I wanted you to know that I have made these rolls several times and my family loves them! Thanks for the recipe.
Monday 17th of February 2014
How much sugar does this recipe call for? There is just a black diamond with a question mark inside it where the amount for the sugar is supposed to be.
Monday 17th of February 2014
Oh, nuts! That's a formatting issues that happened during my hosting migration. I'll notify them.
For the meantime, it's 1/2 cup, but you can use as little as 1/4 cup if you like. The printable version of the recipe is working fine, so you can print that and use it. :)
Tuesday 12th of March 2013
Can this recipe be cut in half? This would make six rolls instead of twelve. I don't have a stand mixer and think this amount of flour would be too much for me to mix and knead by hand. I have a small family, too. Only three adults.
Could the dough section just be rolled into one ball instead of three? I don't need anything shaped that fancy.
Tuesday 12th of March 2013
You could cut it in half, but honestly, it's sometimes a little bit harder to knead a teeny amount of dough. And you can always freeze extra rolls!
You can just shape them into one ball, yes. They'll be less fancy, but they'll work just fine.