Yeast Rolls

5 from 2 votes

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Yeast rolls are soft, delicious and great with a holiday meal. Make this yeast roll recipe for white or whole wheat rolls. NO kneading!

whole wheat no knead rolls on cooling rack, one buttered

Yeast rolls can take all day to make, but not when they’re no knead rolls! The honey and wheat flavors are a nice change from a traditional dinner rolls.

They’re small enough to serve with a holiday ham or roast turkey, but large enough to use as slider buns and for breakfast sandwiches.

Yeast rolls

If the thought of making dinner rolls from scratch seems intimidating, there is nothing to worry about. If you can follow directions, you’ll be fine; they are easier to make than you might think.

Of course, you can buy heat-and-eat rolls from a bakery or the market, but you get a sense of pride making them yourself. The kudos you’ll receive from family members when you serve these at a holiday dinner table will be SO satisfying.

slider buns on cooling rack

Ingredient notes

  • Flour – One common problem with whole wheat flour is that the high amount of protein weakens the structure of gluten. As a result, whole wheat rolls are often dense in comparison to white rolls.

To solve this problem, this recipe calls for a 50/50 blend of two flours; whole wheat flour and bread flour, which has a lot of protein. The protein creates gluten, which helps the rolls to rise properly, making them fluffy and airy.

For white no knead rolls, use a 50/50 blend of all-purpose and bread flour.

  • Active dry yeast – Be sure you are using the correct type of yeast, because there are several different types, and each one has unique properties.

    Do not use quick rise yeast (also known as instant yeast), as it reacts differently and won’t work properly with this yeast roll recipe. to help create a high rise on the rolls, you’ll use a full tablespoon of yeast for this recipe. Packets of yeast are 2 1/4 teaspoons, so you’ll need to use more than one packet.

NOTE: For white dinner rolls, only use 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) of yeast.

Video: Making no knead rolls

To see the process of making whole wheat rolls from start to finish, watch the video located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Instructions

Whether you are making white or whole wheat no knead rolls, the instructions are the same. Simply bloom the yeast in a small bowl of water, then combine the yeast and the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Or, if you own a stand mixer, you can use that with the dough hook attachment.

  1. Activate (bloom) the yeast.

To activate the yeast, add it to a bowl with sugar and warm water. The water temperature should be at least 110° F., but not warmer than 115° F.

It will take about 5 minutes for the yeast to bloom in the water. At that point, the mixture should be bubbling, meaning the yeast is ready to use.

NOTE: If the mixture is not bubbling after 7 minutes, the yeast may be dead. In that case, it’s best to start the process again using fresh yeast.

  1. Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients and the yeast mixture. Stir everything to combine, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

You should have a thick, tacky batter that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too loose and sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, as needed.

photo collage: dough for whole wheat rolls before and after rising
  1. Allow the dough to rise.

You want the dough to almost triple in size, which usually takes about 90 minutes. To help speed the process up, place the bowl in a warm place and cover it with a lint-free kitchen towel.

  1. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and create individual rolls.
photo collage: making yeast roll recipe

How to shape individual yeast rolls

Flatten each dough piece with the palm of your hand. Then, pull the edges to the center, shape each piece into a circle, and smooth the top.

NOTE: You’ll be pulling the dough into a small knot at the center, similar to when you tie a balloon off in a knot. 

Place each ball of dough smooth side up in a greased pan lined with parchment paper. Make 3 rows of 4 rolls each.

  1. Allow rolls to rise a second time.

Place the tray in a warm place and leave for 30 minutes, until the yeast rolls have almost doubled in size.

  1. Bake, brush with honey or butter, and serve!

Bake for 16-18 minutes, but remember, these are whole wheat rolls, so watch them closely to prevent the tops from burning. After you remove them from the oven, brush the tops of each dinner roll with melted butter. For a finishing touch, add a drizzle of honey and sprinkle of sea salt flakes.

side by side collage: yeast rolls before and after buttering tops

If this yeast roll recipe isn’t exactly what you need, I also have recipes for my Gramma’s potato rolls and Southern buttermilk biscuits that are also perfect for serving at a holiday table.

Recipe notes

  • Use the correct yeast. This recipe calls for active dry yeast which needs to be dissolved (bloomed) in water before using. Don’t use instant yeast, which can be mixed right into dry ingredients.
  • For richer flavor, substitute molasses for 1/4 cup honey, and just brush honey on top of the baked rolls.
  • Storage: Yeast rolls are best served on the day made. No knead rolls don’t keep as well as the kneaded version and tend to dry out quicker. Once cool, the rolls may be frozen for storage up to 3 months.
  • To reheat: Sprinkle tops lightly with water and reheat for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to soften.
basket of freshly baked yeast rolls - one with melted butter

This recipe, first published on Kevin Is Cooking Nov. 8, 2017, was last updated with new content on Oct. 14, 2021.

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whole wheat no knead rolls on cooling rack, one buttered

Yeast Rolls + Video

5 from 2 votes
Yeast rolls are soft, delicious and great with a holiday meal. Make this yeast roll recipe for white or whole wheat rolls. NO kneading!
Servings: 12
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Dough Rising Time: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins

Ingredients 

  • 1 tbsp dry active yeast (See Note 1)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups bread flour (See Note 2)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk lukewarm
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 4 tbsp butter melted and cooled
  • 4 tbsp honey or light molasses (See Note 3)
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes (optional)

Instructions 

  • Place the sugar and yeast in a medium bowl with water. Stir and leave for 5 minutes until yeast activates and bubbles.
  • Place both flours and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine. Make a well in the middle and add milk, eggs, butter, honey (or molasses) and pour in the yeast mixture. Using a mixing spatula or wooden spoon, stir to combine, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. You should have a thick, tacky batter. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, as needed. The dough should be tacky when you pull it away from the sides of the bowl, not loose and sticky.
  • Leave dough in the bowl, cover with a light towel and place in a warm place to rise for around 1 1/2 hours or until almost tripled in size. Meanwhile line a 9”x13” pan with parchment paper with overhang on sides.
  • Remove towel and punch dough down to deflate. Scrape dough onto floured work surface. Sprinkle flour on top of dough as well and shape into a log. Cut into 4 pieces, then cut each piece into 3 pieces for a total of 12 pieces.
  • Flatten each dough piece with the palm of your hand. Pull the edges to the center and shape each piece into the shape of a circle. (You’ll be pulling the dough into a small knot at the center, think of a balloon when you tie it off in a knot). Turn the dough ball over and roll the dough ball under the palm of your hand in a circular motion until they’re smooth.
  • Place the ball with the smooth side up in the pan. Repeat with remaining dough, making 3 rows of 4 rolls. Spray tops of rolls with oil then gently place plastic wrap over the tray.
  • Return tray to warm place and leave for 30 minutes, until the dough rolls have almost doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, watching tops so they don’t get too brown (these are wheat!). Remove pan from oven and brush with melted butter and let soak in. Drizzle tops with honey and sprinkle with sea salt flakes (optional). Lift rolls onto a cooling rack using parchment overhang. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Video

Notes

  1. I use active dry yeast in this recipe. There is a difference – Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved (bloomed) in water before using, while instant yeast can be mixed right into dry ingredients.
  2. You can use all purpose flour instead of bread flour and recipe will work fine. The bran in whole wheat flour weakens gluten, so using a flour with more gluten will increase the amount of rise. For this reason, I recommend using half whole wheat flour and half bread flour. If dough is super sticky add enough flour to work with and make rolls.
  3. For richer flavor, substitute molasses for 1/4 cup honey, and just brush honey on top of the baked rolls for a richer flavor.
  4. Storage: Yeast rolls are best served on the day made. No knead rolls don’t keep as well as the kneaded version and tend to dry out quicker. Once cool, the rolls may be frozen for storage up to 3 months.
  5. To reheat: Sprinkle tops lightly with water and reheat for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to soften.

Nutrition

Calories: 269kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 556mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: breads
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image: basked of no knead yeast rolls

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are beautiful looking buns. I have found that if I have limited time, I can make the Doug, and instead of leaving at room temp to rise, can rise over night, or all day, in the refrigerator. So, prep the night before or in the morning and bake int the morning next day, or just before dinner than night. I am allergic to honey and molasses and used white sugar just fine. Miss the flavor of molasses, though. Also, I halved the recipe, as There are just two of us, and we live in small studio. Thanks