I was the pickiest eater as a kid. I’m not sure if this was because I was the youngest, making it easy to get away with, or if I actually didn’t like any food group outside of carbs.
My parents quickly realized that in my perfect world I’d eat toast or cereal for every meal. Fortunately, they ensured I ate healthy meals every day, despite my requests otherwise. Holidays were the exception. I could choose anything I wanted from the spread, and if I wanted to ditch the vegetables, they averted their eyes. And so, when Thanksgiving rolled around, while my siblings had plates piled high with various Autumn colors, my plate celebrated one item and one item only: the classic homemade dinner roll.
Gayle’s rolls have been a family favorite since long before I was born. Gayle was my Mom’s neighbor growing up, and she shared her family recipe with my Mom way back when. These rolls make an appearance every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter feast, and a rare appearance on special occasions. (I actually just made them with my ratatouille last week and in just one bite I was transported to my childhood).
This yeast-based dinner roll recipe is straight forward and done within an hour, hence the name. I remember always being recruited by one of my older sisters as “assistant roll-maker.” She would make the dough, and I would help her roll them into balls to be baked. I was more than eager to assist, as I knew how important this contribution was on the dinner table. I took great pride in ensuring they were perfect. And I knew it was only a matter of time before I would be seated at dinner, with my warm roll in hand, complete with a pat of soft salted butter.
When the rolls finished baking, I was in charge of choosing a kitchen towel from our drawer full of them, to blanket over the bowl, ensuring they stayed warm during dinner.
I, kinda self-elected, have become the roll baking Queen of the family. Perhaps you can wear this crown in your family as well. 😉
Since those days, we’ve modernized the recipe a bit. We’ve added a coat of olive oil on top the dough before it gets baked and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. It’s absolutely excellent. If Gayle’s rolls aren’t on the table, then Beer Bread or Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are.
One Hour Dinner Rolls (Gayle’s)
- 2 ¼ tsp. Instant yeast 1 ¼ oz., 7g packet (active-dry yeast is fine also)
- ¼ cup Warm water
- ¾ cup Buttermilk warmed
- 2 tbsp. Sugar
- 1/4 cup Canola oil, grapeseed oil or melted shortening
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 2 ¼ cups Flour
- 1/4 tsp. Baking soda
- Olive oil & sprinkle of flakey/coarse sea salt to top
- In a small measuring cup, dissolve yeast in warm water. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the hook attachment, or in a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, sugar, and baking soda. Add the yeast and mix. Add the flour and salt and stir until combined. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and knead the dough for 6-8 minutes. If kneading by hand, invert dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
- Place dough back in mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm and draft-free zone for 30 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Form the dough into twelve balls and place on prepared pan. Brush the tops of each roll with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until pale golden on top. Serve immediately with butter.