The recent popularity of low carb & keto diets has me feeling a little sad.
Mostly because I could never imagine a life without BREAD.
The real deal stuff. The kind that is soft and tender yet when you pull it apart if has a little chewy give that makes your mouth water.
So in my delicious dreams I imagined a bread roll that didn’t need to be smeared with butter because it was already filled with butter inside. Cue mouth watering.
I believe I saw something similar maybe on Instagram or Pinterest, but now that I’ve searched for my original inspiration I can’t find it.
Either way I’m just grateful these rolls turned out as wonderful as they did.
You basically mix together butter, sugar, and cornstarch to make the buttery filling. Scoop that filling into balls then freeze them while you make the dough. At first I thought filling the raw dough with something frozen would completely stop the second rise, but they came out beautiful.
The key was to get the butter filling to hold its shape long enough to make it to the oven. Then once inside it melts and becomes a rich ooey gooey explosion of deliciousness.
Make these rolls for any special holiday like Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or for a Sunday dinner to wow your family.
How to Make Soft Butter Dinner Rolls
How to use instant yeast
This recipe utilizes a short cut ingredient: instant yeast. It’s also called rapid rise or quick rise yeast. These types of yeast are specifically created to allow you add the yeast directly into the mix with all of the ingredients without a need for proofing.
Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast?
If you don’t have or can’t find instant yeast, you can easily use active dry yeast instead. Simply combine it with the warm liquid called for in the recipe and allow it to proof for 5 minutes before adding into the bowl with the other ingredients.
How do I make soft and fluffy dinner rolls?
The exact amount of flour you’ll need will depend on your kitchen environment and even the brand of flour you’re using. Things like humidity and altitude can affect your dough. You may not need all the flour called for in the recipe. You may need a little more. Add it in gradually just until the dough comes together.
I’d always rather have a sticky dough than add too much extra flour and create dense, tough, or dry bread. As the dough rises the flour will continue to absorb extra moisture and it won’t be quite as sticky when you go to shape the rolls anyways!
Can I knead the dough by hand?
Be sure to knead the dough properly to get rolls that hold their shape and bake up nice and fluffy. I call for a stand mixer to make easy work of kneading in this recipe, but you can also knead by hand. You can see my full tutorial on how to knead dough here.
How do I know when dough is done rising?
After kneading, shape the dough into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl. I like to use glass so I can see how much it’s rising. The dough should be turned over to oil the top so that it doesn’t dry out. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap, foil, or a clean towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free location. Ideal rise temperatures are between 80°F and 90°F. Lower temperatures will require more rising time.
The dough is done rising when it’s about doubled in size and passed the “ripe” test. Gently stick two fingers in the risen dough up to the second knuckle and then take them out. If the finger marks remain the dough is ready for shaping into balls. If not, cover and let the dough rise longer until it is.
The same finger test can be done again when the rolls are shaped and getting ready for baking.
How to Stuff Dinner Rolls with BUTTER
Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. You can do this perfectly by weighing the mass of dough then dividing that amount by 15.
Flatten a piece of dough with your hands and place a ball of the frozen butter on it. Pinch and wrap the dough around the butter and seal completely by pinching hard with your fingers. Roll into a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining dough. Place shaped dough in prepared baking pan.
Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size. If some of the rolls show cracks or splits as they rise, don’t worry. They should still bake up just fine.
How to Bake Golden Brown Dinner Rolls
I like to use a metal baking pan for this recipe. If you use glass or ceramic you’ll likely need to increase the baking time. Your rolls may not get as golden in a glass or ceramic pan. The egg wash brushed on top helps to create rolls that are deeply golden in color and shiny in appearance. Don’t skip this step! Sprinkling with the sea salt just before baking also enhances both the look and taste of these rolls.
How to Make Dinner Rolls Ahead of Time
For this recipe, I like to make the dough all the way through the first rise and shaping the rolls. Once the rolls are stuffed and shaped, cover them and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature. This will depend on the warmth of your kitchen but will take a minimum of 90 minutes typically. If the rolls haven’t doubled in size yet, allow to sit at room temperature until they do.
Refrigerating basically stunts the rise time and can actually allow more flavor to develop!
The rolls are best served the day they’re baked. However, you can easily reheat the rolls briefly in the oven or toaster oven at 300°F until warmed through to refresh.
More Dinner Roll Recipes
Download my FREE bread guide here!
For the butter filling:
(142 grams) unsalted butter,
at room temperature
(50 grams) granulated sugar
(16 grams) cornstarch
For the rolls:
warm whole milk (110°F)
(15 grams) unsalted butter,
(1 packet) instant yeast
(508 grams) all-purpose flour
For the topping:
Flake sea salt,
Make the filling:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and cornstarch until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scoop the dough into 2 teaspoon sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer while you prepare the dough.
Make the dough:
Combine the milk, butter, eggs, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until absorbed. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, turn to medium-low speed, and gradually add the remaining flour, kneading until a mass of dough begins to forms. Only add as much flour as needed to bring the dough together. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch. Only add additional flour if the dough is unbearably sticky.
Lightly spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size.
Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper, knife, or pizza wheel to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. If you have a scale, weigh the entire mass of dough then divide by 15 to get the perfect portion size for each piece.
Flatten a piece of dough and place a ball of the frozen butter on it. Pinch and wrap the dough around the butter and seal completely by pinching hard with your fingers. Roll into a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining dough. Place shaped dough in prepared baking pan.
Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size. If some of the rolls show cracks or splits as they rise, don’t worry. They should bake up just fine.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl whisk together the egg and gently brush over rolls. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.