Photographers Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains

Yeast Rolls


Makes 12 rolls. You can make the dough and shape the rolls up to a day ahead of baking. Take the recipe to the point where the rolls are shaped and in the pan but not yet proofed and immediately refrigerate them. About four hours before you're ready to bake, transfer them to a warm place to let them proof until almost doubled before baking them.


  • 1 tablespoon active-dry yeast
  • ½ cup (4 oz) warm water
  • ½ cup (4 oz) milk (whole, 2%, or skim)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  1. In a seperate bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand), whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough.
  2. Knead at low speed, or by hand against the counter, for 8-10 minutes, until smooth but slightly tacky. It should spring back when poked.
  3. Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about an hour.
  4. Shape the rolls:
  • Sprinkle your work surface with flour and turn out the dough on top. Sprinkle a little more flour over the surface of the dough and pat it gently into a square about an inch and a half thick. Cut the dough into 12 evenly-sized pieces.
  • Coat your hands in flour between shaping each roll instead of the work surface (adding too much flour can make the rolls tough and dry on the outside).
  • Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough in tight circles against the work surface while pressing slightly down. The dough should be a little tacky and stick to the counter a little - this will help to create tension.
  • Form a cage around the dough. When you feel the dough start to tighten and smooth out, continue rolling it in a circular motion, but slowly lift your fingers to form a cage around the dough with your fingertips brushing the work surface. Keep light contact between the dough and your palm. At this point, the roll should start looking like a roll!
  • As a final step, move your fingers from the cage and begin cupping the roll - still making those circular motions. The aim here is to make the surface of the roll very taut, which will help it keep it's ball shape while rising and baking. Try to draw the top of the roll down and tuck it underneath as you roll.
  • When the roll holds its ball shape on its own, you're done. Transfer the roll to the baking sheet or pan and continue with the rest of the batch.
  1. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment and spray with nonstick coating. Arrange the rolls inside the pan spaced a little apart. Let the rolls rise until they look pillowy and fill the pan, roughly 30-40 minutes. While the rolls are rising, pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen dinner rolls. This helps the tops to brown and keeps the crust soft.
  3. Bake the rolls until golden, 15-18 minutes.
  4. Lift the rolls from the pan using the parchment and let the rolls cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. They are best if eaten within a day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week. Rolls can also be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated in a warm oven.
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Yeast Rolls
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving:
Calories: 162
Total Fat: 4 g
  Saturated Fat: 1 g
  Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g
  Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 19 mg
Sodium: 214 mg
Potassium: 55 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 26 g
  Dietary Fiber: 1 g
  Sugars: 3 g
Protein: 4 g
Vitamin A: 1%
Vitamin C: 4%
Calcium: 2%
Iron: 8%
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