Sourdough (Or Not) Rolls

What You'll Need

  • small saucepan
  • whisk
  • pastry brush
  • mixing bowl
  • smooth non-stick surface for kneading dough
  • tea towel or dish cloth
  • 2 9" cast iron skillets
Ingredients Using
Sourdough Starter
  • 1 cup refreshed sourdough starter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
  • 2 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, plus a little more for greasing the pan
  • 1/4 sunflower oil, plus a little more for coating the bowl
  • 3 eggs (2 in dough and 1 for brushing)
  • Ingredients Using Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 packets active dry yeast
  • 1 2/3 cup warm milk (100-110 °F)
  • 1 TBS white sugar
  • 3 2/3 all purpose flour or bread flour
  • 2 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup melted butter, plus a little more for greasing the pan
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil, plus a little more for coating the bowl
  • 3 eggs (2 in dough, 1 for brushing)

This recipe is that unique in that it can be made with either a sourdough starter or with active dry yeast. While the final flavor, as well as the rising times are different depending on which method you choose, the end results are delicious either way. It makes an impressive presentation served directly from a cast iron skillet, and the cast iron keeps the rolls warm on the table.

Inspiration for this recipe from our friends at Food52, where it was a Community Pick. Please note the slight variations in recipe depending on the method used. The wide variation in rising times when using the sourdough starter has to do with the vigor of the starter as well as the temperature. For faster results, make sure your starter is warm, well-fed, and active. However, those extra long rising times can work to your advantage if you want to make this recipe and let it rise overnight to bake in the morning.

Makes 30 rolls


1) Bloom your yeast if using

If using active dry yeast, heat the milk in a saucepan until it is warm to the touch. In a bowl, whisk in the sugar into the warm milk and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let the yeast float on the surface for a minute, than whisk it into the milk mixture and let stand for 5 minutes.

2) Combine your ingredients

Combine all ingredients except the single egg reserved for brushing. Stir until the dough begins to come together, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

3) Knead the dough

Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, until it is supple and elastic. If the dough is too sticky to knead, let it rest for 10 minutes under the mixing bowl to let the flour absorb more of the moisture. Then, continue, adding bread flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough becomes workable.

4) Let your dough rise

Coat a mixing bowl with oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or towel and let rise for 1 1/4 hours (active dry yeast) or between 4-12 hours (sourdough starter). The dough should be roughly doubled in size; a fingertip pressed into the surface should make a soft indentation that does not heal automatically.

5) Portion your rolls

Butter a pair of cast iron skillets, or 2 9x13 pans.
Divide the dough into 30 equal pieces.

Shape each roll by pressing it into a small disk. Gather the edges together to form a foot, and pinch them together to form a seal. Place each roll, pinched edge down, into the prepared pans.

6) Allow rolls to rise

Cover the pans and let the dough rise in a warm place for another 1 1/4 hours (if using active dry yeast) or 2-9 hours (if using the sourdough starter). The rolls should roughly double in size again.

7) Bake your rolls

Preheat the oven to 375° F. When the rolls have fully risen and are ready to be baked, beat the remaining egg and use it to brush the tops of the rolls.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

8) Serve or store and enjoy!

Remove from the oven and serve warm, or let them cool completely on wire racks before storing in an airtight container.

Over to You

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