A while back I needed to make some soft white rolls to go with some incredible smoked pulled pork my mother made. I searched the recesses of my brain…had I ever made rolls or buns before? Sure, but it had been a while and I needed to make enough for a crowd, in advance. So, I pulled out my favorite bread book and while it didn’t have a specific recipe for the type of rolls I needed, I thought the recipe for “Soft American Style White Bread” would work.
4ozunsalted buttermelted, plus 1 Tbsp for brushing the tops of the rolls
7cupsunbleached all purpose flour
Making the dough:
In a large container or 5 quart bowl with a lid (not airtight), mix the water, yeast, salt, sugar and 4 oz melted butter.
Measure out the 7 cups of flour and add them all at once to the liquid. Use a large spoon to combine, stirring until all the flour is incorporated (this will get a little harder at the end). Do not knead the dough, just make sure all the flour is mixed in.
Cover the container (not airtight) and let the dough rest at room temperature until it doubles in size, about an hour.
At this point you can refrigerate it if you want to bake the rolls (or use for loaves) later. I usually refrigerate my dough because it makes it easier to handle later. However, if you are using fresh, unrefrigerated dough, it does not have to rest as long before baking.
Baking the Rolls
When you are ready to bake the rolls, lightly grease two sheet pans, or use parchment paper, or do what I did which is use my Silpat baking mats.
To form the rolls, pull out a small handful of dough, about 2 oz, and form it into a small ball, pulling the surface of the dough down around the sides (as you would for a larger loaf in this method). Repeat, spacing them a couple of inches apart on the pan. I used the whole batch of dough and got 24 rolls which fit on 2 pans, 12 rolls on each, but you could make as many or as few as you'd like to bake at one time.
Let the rolls rest at room temperature for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or 30 minutes if using unrefrigerated dough). After an hour (or, 20 min before baking), preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Before putting the rolls in the oven, dust the tops with flour, cut an "X" on the top of each one with a serrated knife and then brush the tops with the remaining 1 Tbsp melted butter.
Bake the rolls in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, until they are golden brown.