How was your weekend? Mine was the kind where I need a weekend after my weekend. You know those? It was jam-packed with action from mimosas at brunch and celebrating my friend’s 30th birthday to homemade lemon coconut cake and birthday dinner with my mom. Not to mention another batch of lemon blueberry cupcakes (I had like a billion lemons to use up, ok?) and about 5 hours plopped on the couch watching Netflix while simultaneously scrolling through Pinterest on my phone. The finest of weekends if you ask me!
It’s back to real life this week as I gear up and head to Minneapolis to visit Pinch of Yum’s photography workshop. I’m really excited to not only learn more about food photography, but to connect with other food bloggers. Plus, I really loved Minneapolis when I first visited this past fall. And our friends who live there just got a new puppy. So… best week ever maybe?
Before I head midwest, I have a few new recipes for you. Starting with soft and extra fluffy dinner rolls that burst from the seams with all sorts of savory herb, garlic, and buttery goodness. I made the rolls for dinner the other week when our friends came over and everyone seemed to be more interested in said rolls than my chicken piccata. Not sure what that says about my chicken piccata, but I feel pretty damn good about the rolls! And I think you’re really going to like them too.
I’m not going to sugar coat things. Literally zero coating of sugar here today. Making bread from scratch isn’t glamorous and it certainly isn’t easy as pie. Which confuses me because is baking pie from scratch actually easy? I mean, not really right? Let’s just say making bread from scratch isn’t as easy as eating pie. There, that makes sense. But as long as you take your time and read through the directions before you begin, I promise it won’t be too complicated. Sounds silly, but reading the directions before starting really does make a difference.
Thank you, 3rd grade math teacher.
Here’s what you should know before you begin. These herb rolls require two rises. One for about 2 hours after you mix all the dough ingredients together. Then you form the dough into balls and let those rise for only about 30-45 minutes. So there’s actually not a lot of work time involved, just a lot of wait time. There’s a couple ways to make the dinner rolls ahead of time so you can get started the night before. It’s all in the directions down below.
As for the ingredients, well those really are EASY! The dough recipe is similar to my honey butter rolls, so if you’ve ever made those before you know you’re in good hands with these. Some power players: melted butter. I love the flavor melted butter brings to bread dough. Olive oil is great as well, but I much prefer the flavor from butter. Not only is melted butter in the dough, you’ll brush the rolls with melted butter (and a sprinkle of sea salt) before that 2nd rise. Extra flavor that way. And, if you have any melted butter left, you can brush more butter on top when they’re done. It’s all very simple and it’s all very good.
Another power player is bread flour. You can make the rolls with all-purpose flour instead, but I find the rolls to be chewier and have that bakery-style taste when using bread flour. One last power ingredient? All those fragrant herbs! I used all dried herbs, but you can use fresh if you’d like. I suggest amounts for either. There’s parsley, basil, and rosemary plus a hint of garlic powder. With all of that flavor, plus the way the dough smells as you work with it– well, it pretty much guarantees something fantastic.
Real quick. See the rolls in the left picture below? That’s before they rise for 30-45 minutes before baking. On the right, you can see they’re much puffier and all up in each other’s business. Just wanted to show you the difference between the two. Allowing the rolls to rise that 2nd time ensures a fluffier roll.
And then it’s time to bake. The herb rolls will be done when they’re golden brown and when your kitchen smells like an herb garden. I prefer to bake the rolls in a skillet, but it’s just as easy to bake in a casserole dish or baking pan. Make sure you don’t break them apart until ready to serve because the edges could slightly dry out.
There’s a crunch from the sea salt on top and the centers are as soft as a mountain of cushy pillows. They’re truly out of this world eaten right from the oven and when you set them down on the table, I swear all eyes will immediately dart over their way. I know a side of rolls can be an afterthought when you’re preparing dinner, but after one taste of these homemade sea salt & herb rolls– you’ll be proud you didn’t bake rolls from a tube or package. You got this!
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Sea Salt & Herb Skillet Rolls
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F1
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 standard packet)2
- 2 Tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
- 1 large Eggland's Best egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted + slightly cooled and divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons each: dried rosemary, dried basil, & dried parsley3
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic)
- 3 cups (385g) bread flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for work surface
- sea salt, for topping
- 10 - 12 inch oven-safe skillet
- Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Or, if you do not own a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar on top of the milk. Give it a light stir with a spoon and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be frothy after 5 minutes. If not, start over with new yeast.
- If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the remaining sugar, egg, 2 Tablespoons butter, salt, herbs, garlic powder, and 2 cups of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute as it all combines. The dough should be thick, yet soft. And only slightly sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. When it does, it is ready to knead. If, however, the dough is too sticky to handle-- add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Make sure you do not add too much extra flour; you want a soft, slightly sticky dough.
- Form dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, then place into a greased bowl-- I usually just use olive oil or nonstick spray. Turn the dough over to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. For this warm environment, I preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven.
- Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 6 equal pieces for a total of 12 pieces that are a little larger than golfball size. Shape into balls as best you can and arrange in a greased oven-proof skillet. Brush the rolls with remaining melted butter and sprinkle each with sea salt. (Do no discard any leftover melted butter, it's amazing brushed on the rolls after they bake too!) Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size and puffy, about 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake the rolls for 25-28 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm.
- Cover leftover rolls and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Warm up in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.
Make ahead tip/overnight: After dough has risen for two hours in step 3, punch down the dough inside the mixing bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days, then remove from the refrigerator and continue with step 4. OR freeze for up to 2 months, then allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and continue with step 4.
- Do not sub low fat milk. Whole milk is key to best taste and texture. If anything, 2% may be subbed.
- If using instant yeast, the rise time may be a little less.
- You can use finely chopped fresh herbs instead, I would increase to 1 Tablespoon each. Play around with the amounts of herbs you use. These amounts produce a highly flavored herb roll.
Adapted from honey butter rolls
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Looking for spring recipe inspiration? I have 23 recipes from around the internet for you to try. And guess what? I have two new book signing events scheduled for this spring. One in Stamford, CT on April 26th (there will be free swag and cocktails!) and another in Salt Lake City on May 18th. More details right this way.
I can’t wait to meet more of you!