Welcome to day 2 of Thanksgiving Week!
Today’s recipe is a holiday essential: BREAD.
Actually, let me start over. Today’s recipe is a vital component of everyday life, regardless of the season or holiday.
There, that’s better.
There’s just something so special about homemade bread.
Instead of making an entire loaf, we’re making rolls. Sixteen of them, to be exact. That way everyone can grab a little nub of bread, slather it with butter, and tuck it onto their Thanksgiving plate.
In my family, sixteen is a low number for Thanksgiving guests. Usually we have closer to twenty, and there have even been years where our numbers swell close to thirty. So, to be safe, I always make more rolls than we need. This year I am fairly certain we will have 18 people, but I’m making a double batch of rolls, just in case. Luckily, doing so will only add about 5 minutes of work onto this otherwise stress-free recipe and might leave us with leftovers to make a few mini Thanksgiving leftovers sandwiches on the next day.
This recipe is made with just 8 ingredients, simple methods, and only about 10 minutes total of hands-on time.
To make these rolls, you’ll need:
Flour. I used half whole wheat and half all-purpose for a little extra boost of fiber, and to please my family’s palate. You can definitely make these with only whole wheat, if you’d prefer. They still come out nice and fluffy!
Water. Warm tap water is the only liquid you need to make this dough!
Yeast. Active Dry or Instant yeast both work in this recipe, since it gets a long rise. I’ve used both with nearly identical results.
Maple Syrup gives the rolls a tiny kiss of sweetness (there’s only 1 Tablespoon in the whole recipe, so not much at all) and helps the yeast do it’s work. Honey or cane sugar work too!
Salt. When making bread, salt is an essential ingredient. Without it, the rolls would taste dull and boring, even with the olive oil and rosemary we’re adding in!
At this point, you essentially have my recipe for pizza dough. To transform it into the most fluffy, Thanksgiving-worthy dinner rolls, we need to add:
Rosemary, Olive Oil, and, eventually, Baking Powder. The rosemary and olive oil give the rolls a little extra flavor, while the baking powder is added after the dough rises to help give this slow-risen yeast dough the extra height and soft texture of classic dinner rolls.
Because there’s no kneading involved, this dough needs a long rest time to create the best flavor and texture.The dough gets mixed up at least a day before you want to eat the rolls, rises for 1-2 hours at room temperature, then relaxes in the fridge overnight (or up to 5 nights!) until you want to bake your rolls. Whenever you’re ready, the dough gets mixed with baking powder for a little extra fluffiness, cut into 16 balls, nestled into a baking dish, and rises again- this time for only about 45 minutes- before baking into golden, herbaceous, flaky, yeasty perfection.
You could make this dough today, bake your rolls tomorrow, and freeze them for the big day. Just gently reheat them in a pan in the oven until warm again, and serve. Or, you could wait until this weekend- or any day next week- to make the dough and leave it in your fridge until Thanksgiving morning.
Either way, these rolls deserve a place on your Thanksgiving table. The no-knead batter requires minimal effort, and thanks to the baking powder, they come out perfectly flaky and fluffy every time. Whether you’re a seasoned bread baker or this is your first time ever baking with yeast, these rolls won’t disappoint. In fact, you might just be the star of Thanksgiving because you’re responsible for all that carby goodness on everyone’s plate.
Stay tuned this week for five more brand new Thanksgiving recipes, as well as the Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup on Monday, November 20th!
As always, if you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below, or take a picture and tag me on Instagram so I can see all your Thanksgiving baking!
And don’t forget to check out my PANTRY STAPLES page to stock up on my favorite whole wheat flour for this recipe.
- 1 1/2 cups warm tap water
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon yeast (instant or active dry)
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour*
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1/2 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped rosemary (from about 1/4 cup of fresh rosemary leaves)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1. Put all ingredients EXCEPT baking powder (water, maple syrup, yeast, flour, salt, olive oil, and rosemary) in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. The dough will be shaggy and sticky. Since this is a no-knead recipe, there is no need to use a stand mixer. Just a bowl and a spoon is perfect!
- 2. Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has nearly doubled in size.
- 3. Once risen, stir the dough once more, cover, and transfer to the fridge. The dough needs to rest in the fridge at least overnight, but can stay there for up to 5 days before you want to make the rolls.
- 4. When ready to make the rolls, remove the dough from the fridge and stir in the baking powder until it has been fully absorbed by the dough.
- 5. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, then cut into 16 pieces (to get 16 relatively even sized rolls, cut the dough into 4 even pieces, then cut each of those into 4 pieces). Use your hands to tuck and roll each little piece of dough into a ball.
- 6. Grease a large baking dish (such as a 9x13 inch or similar) and place all 16 rolls into the dish, leaving about a half inch of space between each roll. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise at room temperature for 35-55 minutes, or until the rolls have nearly doubled in size.
- 7. When the rolls have risen, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until rolls are golden brown (if you are already baking something else on Thanksgiving day at a slightly lower or slightly higher temperature and need to cook the rolls at the same time, don't worry- just bake the rolls for a little longer or a little shorter, they'll turn out just fine). If desired, brush finished rolls with a little melted butter or a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- 8. Rolls are best served warm with butter (but you already knew that), though are still great leftover at room temperature for up to a week.
- *If you'd like to make 100% whole wheat rolls, just use 3 cups of white whole wheat instead of the combination of all-purpose and whole wheat. The baking powder in the recipe ensures that they still get nice and fluffy, though the color is a bit darker and the flavor is slightly more 'whole wheat' tasting. I find them to still be enjoyable with all whole wheat, but for Thanksgiving I wanted to make sure these rolls would appeal to every one of our guests, hence the half all-purpose flour.
- Not into rosemary rolls? Feel free to use a different herb like thyme or sage, or to leave it out entirely for plain dinner rolls!