12 Days of Christmas Day 7: Classic Whole Wheat Sourdough Dinner Rolls
If you’re getting ready for a Christmas dinner party, these will go well on your table. They’re easy, require little hands on work, delicious, and really quite nutritious (and let’s be honest, we all need a little more nutritious food during the holidays). The perfect accompaniment to that roast or whatever you plan to have for your main course.
I like these little rolls because you basically let your stand mixer do the bulk of the work the night before, let rise overnight, roll into little balls, stuff them into a pan, and bake. There’s no fancy shaping. These aren’t necessarily show-stoppers, but still irresistible. But the flavor! Oh, the flavor. They have that rich, nutty (freshly ground) whole wheat flavor, with a slight tangy finish from the long sourdough rise, and just a touch of sweetness from adding honey in the dough. They’re tender and fluffy, and not at all gritty like you’d expect from whole wheat bread. Slather some good butter on them, and everyone will be grabbing more than one.
I know there are so many ways to make a good dinner roll, and you may already have a favorite, but here’s a good one you ought to try. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup sourdough starter
- 2 1/4 cup cool water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened* (more for greasing the pan and brushing on finished rolls)
- 1/4 cup honey (preferably local, raw honey)*
- 6-7 cups whole wheat flour (preferably freshly ground organic)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the starter, water, salt, butter*, and honey*. With the dough hook attached, add about 5 cups of the flour and begin mixing. Once evenly mixed, begin adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl while still sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Let the machine continue to mix for 10 minutes, or until it doesn't easily break when stretched.** Pull the dough out, knead a few times, shape into a large ball and place in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and let rise to about double in size, 6-12 hours.
- After the first rise, scrape the dough out onto a clean surface, and cut into 24 equal pieces.*** Grease a 9x13 baking pan with softened butter*. Taking one piece, gently pull the surface around to form a rough ball. Then with the seam side down, place the piece of dough on a clean surface, cup your hand around the top of the ball and roll in a circular motion. You'll be using the slight tackiness of the dough to your advantage here, encouraging surface tension to build while creating a tight, round ball of dough. Repeat with all 24 pieces of dough. Place the dough in neat, evenly spaced rows in the prepared baking pan. Cover loosely and let rise for another 2 hours.
- 30 minutes before the second rise is over, preheat the oven to 375°F. Once fully rise, place the rolls in the oven and bake an instant read thermometer inserted in the middle registers 180°F, about 40-50 minutes. Brush the tops with butter and let cool mostly before serving.
- *You can use coconut oil or olive oil to replace the butter and pure maple syrup to replace the honey to make a vegan version.
- **This indicates that the gluten structure has been properly developed.
- ***I do this by cutting in half, in half again, in half one more time, and then into thirds.