Soft Sourdough Rolls

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Red Star Yeast.  As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

When you think of sourdough bread, you most likely think of a crusty, chewy loaf with a distinct sour flavor. It’s perfect for slathering with butter or dipping in a bowl of soup. You can even slice it up and make a sandwich out of it or use it for panini.

All of that is fine and good. I like crusty sourdough bread as much as the next person. But, sometimes I don’t want crusty and chewy. In fact, I find that I tend to reserve crusty and chewy for the cooler months of the year. When summer rolls around, I start to want a softer, lighter bread.

Light and soft rolls are especially nice for grilling season… I find that hamburgers and hot dogs are best with a nice soft roll. After all, there’s a reason the store bought ones are generally soft.

So, when I started working on a new sourdough recipe for Red Star Yeast a few weeks ago, my goal was to find the best of both worlds… I wanted light and soft rolls for the summer that had a bit of a sourdough taste. I’m happy to tell you that these rolls fit the bill.

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I’ve made these rolls a few times already, and they have been a hit every single time. We’ve had them with hamburgers and sloppy joes. I also made some pulled turkey barbeque in the slow cooker, and they were perfect for that. I’ve sliced some of the larger ones up into smaller pieces to make peanut butter and jelly bites for Maddie. She devoured them. I had my mom (a much better bread baker than I am!) try one of them one day when she was over at the house, and she was impressed, as well.

Instead of starting with a traditional sourdough recipe, I looked to the best roll recipe I’ve ever made – my grandmother’s light and soft dinner rolls. Taking a few hints from the recipe (i.e. milk, butter, and egg), I started working in some sourdough starter. The starter does double duty in this recipe. Not only does it help the dough to rise a bit (and, this one rises beautifully), it adds a nice depth and complexity to the flavor of the rolls. They don’t just taste like plain dinner rolls, but they don’t have a super sour flavor, either.  I think they are just perfect.

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Don’t have sourdough starter? No problem. You can make your own!  I’ve got a recipe and tutorial that you can follow. In just a few short days, you’ll have your own sourdough starter bubbling away.

New to bread baking? Don’t fret.

The recipe is also incredibly easy to make. While you could certainly make this one by hand (with just a bowl and a wooden spoon), I did opt to use my stand mixer, which does simplify things a bit. I’ve included photos of each step of the process, so that you can follow along and compare as you bake. If you need some additional tips, check out the Baking Steps Guide from the Red Star Yeast website. They cover each step in great detail.

Plus, you can always leave a comment here or connect with me on Twitter (@JenSchall) or Facebook. I’m happy to answer your questions. And, if I can’t help you, I know that the great folks over at Red Star Yeast can. They’re on both Twitter (@RedStarYeast) and Facebook, too!

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Soft Sourdough Rolls
Makes 12 rolls

Unlike a lot of sourdough recipes that require that you use a “fed” sourdough starter, this one will work just fine if you just pull the starter right out of the fridge. In fact, it uses 1 cup of starter, which is just the amount you need to discard when feeding your starter. Convenient, no?

This recipe calls for Red Star PLATINUM Yeast, which is my preference. Since I know it’s not something that everyone keeps on hand, I also tested this recipe with Red Star Active Dry and Red Star Quick Rise Yeast. They both work… Just substitute packet for packet (or 2 ¼ teaspoons).

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 4 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star PLATINUM Yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Egg wash (optional, 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

In a small microwave safe bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the milk and butter. Microwave on high for about 1 minute, until the mixture is warm to the touch. The butter does not need to melt completely, but it should be soft.  Transfer the milk and butter to the bowl of your stand mixer.

To the butter and milk mixture, add 1 cup of bread flour, sourdough starter, egg, honey, yeast, and salt. Using the beater blade, beat for 2 – 3 minutes on medium speed, until the mixture is very smooth.

Switch to the dough hook and gradually add the remaining bread flour while mixing on the lowest speed. Continue to mix until the dough comes together and forms a smooth ball, approximately 4 – 5 minutes.

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Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat each side with oil. Cover and let rise until the dough almost doubled and the imprint of two fingers remains.

Punch down the dough and divide into 12 equal portions. Shape into rolls (round, oval, etc.) and place on baking sheet(s) lined with parchment paper or silicone liner(s). Cover and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.

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While the rolls rise, preheat the oven to 400F.

Optionally, before baking, brush the rolls with egg wash (1 egg beaten with about 1 teaspoon of water) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Slash with a sharp knife, if desired.

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Bake the rolls for 15 – 17 minutes, until golden on top and hollow sounding when tapped lightly. Let the rolls cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

3 Responses to Soft Sourdough Rolls

  1. I’ve been craving meatball subs and these are just the roll I’ve been looking for! I’ve never made a sourdough starter but I’m going to give it a try.

  2. addicted 2 sourdough says:

    These rolls have enough tang to be considered a sourdough, soft for a sandwich, and sturdy enough for my Cuban Fritas. The juices from the combo of lean beef & hard Cuban sausage ground together, grilled, with only ketchup & French fried onions as condiments make this bread shine brighter than traditional Cuban bread!
    Thanks for leading me out of the traditional sourdough box…. as it were…

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