Roll Out

I like bread. It's simple, classic, comes in a variety of flavors and shapes, and--warm from a bakery--is the type of thing that restores your faith in humanity. For a long time I'd wanted to learn how to make bread for myself (without a bread machine, of course. that is so cheap), but I was stymied by the whole yeast thing. When is it "frothy"? Where is it in the grocery store? Is it really supposed to look like that? I was at a loss.

Luckily, my actually-knows-how-to-cook roommate kept a container of yeast in the fridge and was generous with inviting me to use it, leading to several trials, mistakes, and leaden lumps of what was laughably called "bread" before I finally settled on a recipe that produced airy, sweet, simple dinner rolls.

I like to make them when I'm having soup, and I usually save them for my breakfasts for the rest of the week, which is the only time I generally eat breakfast (for you stranger(s) reading the blog, I begin work at the ungodly hour of 3am, which shouldn't even be considered a valid time in the first place, and eating that early in the morning is usually a dicey proposition). They heat up wonderfully well, emitting the kinds of smells that just wrap you in a sense of peace with all things.

They're easy enough to prepare, but because they need about 2 hours of resting time (I know! it's the trade-off when you bake for yourself), I sometimes find myself in a sort of race against the clock situation where my dinner is halfway done and my rolls are just rising. Preparation, preparation.

This recipe is based off one I found at, although their instructions to put the whole thing into a bread machine (see above) were not appreciated.

1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/5 tsps active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter, softened

Mix the water and milk
Microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds
Stir in the sugar until it dissolved, then stir in the yeast.
Let rest 10-15 minutes.
Mix in the salt, butter and egg, then the flour a half cup at a time.
Let it rise for about 45 minutes in the bowl, covered with a damp paper towel
Punch it down, divide it into about 16 balls, cover with paper towel
Let it rise for another hour
Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees

Image from Taste of Home. My rolls look a little different--more sort of squashed and lighter, but I couldn't find anything else as accurate.


  1. Wait, you've had an 'actually-knows-how-to-cook' roommate this whole time? Isn't that like an aspiring filmmaker claiming expertise on cinema, then revealing that Gus Van Sant rocks the top bunk?

  2. I never claimed expertise on foodyness (as I think the proper term is). Also, I don't consider this an advantage because my vampire lifestyle (not literal, that is weird) means I see my roommate(s) about 7 minutes a day.