There is nothing quite like the smell of warm bread just out of the oven and these New England yeast rolls are no exception. Make these and your whole house will smell like a bakery — they are buttery, yeasty, and absolutely delicious.
by volume by weight
2 envelopes yeast 16 grams yeast
1/2 cup warm water 4 ounces warm water
1/4 cup sugar 50 grams sugar
7 1/2 all purpose cups flour 900 grams all purpose flour
12 tablespoons melted butter 6 ounces melted butter
2 cups milk 16 ounces milk
2 eggs 68 grams eggs
1 tablespoon salt 18 grams kosher salt
Mix the yeast, warm water, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar together in a bowl and let it sit until it bubbles and foams, about 10 minutes. (Warm water is slightly warmer than body temperature. It should feel comfortably warm, not stinging, and be approximately 105F -110F.)
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time: 10 minutes
While you wait, melt the butter and then whisk in the milk. This mixture should also feel warm. If the milk cools it too much, place briefly on the stove until warm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs.
Mix the milk, butter, and egg mixture into the yeast.
Add the flour and then finally the salt (yeast and salt should be kept separate until mixing time because the salt will kill the yeast) and mix until a dough forms.
Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and springs back, about 10 minutes. As you knead, add just enough flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the table. This can also be done on low speed in a stand mixer.
Place in a lightly greased bowl and rotate the dough so it is lightly greased all over. Cover with plastic or a towel and let rise until doubled in volume, approximately 1 hour.
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time: 60 minutes
Once the dough is risen, fold the dough over on itself to deflate the dough and redistribute the trapped air bubbles.
Divide into 40 gram pieces. Shape into balls and place on a well buttered pan so the rounds are touching lightly. (This recipe makes approximately 30 rolls of this size.)
Learning to shape bread and rolls takes time. This will definitely be a future blog post! For now, roll them into smooth balls. The dough is very forgiving and will still produce beautiful rolls even if the shaping is not perfect.
Brush tops with butter (I used about 2 tablespoons total for this and brushing after coming out of the oven) and let rise again until doubled in size.
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time: 35 minutes
Bake in a 350F oven for 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
Finally, brush the rolls with melted butter as soon as you remove them from the oven and sprinkle with kosher salt.
These rolls can be shaped into any size and almost any shape. If you have a shape that you like such as Parker House or fan tans then this is the recipe to use! I like rolls the size I indicated in the recipe but you can certainly make them larger or smaller and, because they bake touching each other, the variation in time for sizes is minimal.
I baked the rolls free form on a pan. If you want the rolls to be taller, simply bake them in a pan with sides and keep the spacing the same as in the pictures above. The rolls will be unable to spread as they bake and will rise upward instead.
This recipe is also easily doubled or halved and can adapt to any number of rolls you might need. I have baked as many as 120 dozen of these one year for Thanksgiving and the recipe performed perfectly!