Easy to make and flavored with a slight sourdough tang, these soft pull apart dinner rolls will be a welcome addition to any meal and a great use of your sourdough discard!
Why this recipe works
- Sourdough starter discard adds a light, tangy flavor
- Milk and potato flour keep the rolls soft & fluffy
- Great way to use unfed sourdough starter
In my never-ending quest to find ways to use my weekly sourdough starter discard, I have quite a repertoire of sweet and savory sourdough recipes like pretzels, bagels, spice cake, focaccia, banana bread, and more.
Here's another delicious way to use unfed sourdough starter: Soft Sourdough Pull Apart Dinner Rolls!
What you'll need
Making a sourdough dinner roll with yeast doesn't require any fancy ingredients, and you even have some options to choose from.
You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour. All-purpose flour is convenient for most people, but bread flour will produce a slightly chewier roll. The rolls are still soft and fluffy no matter which type of flour you use.
Use any type of milk you have on hand, be it whole, low-fat, non-fat, or even an unsweetened plain non-dairy milk. If you prefer, you can substitute in 1 cup hot water and ¼ cup nonfat dry milk instead.
Potato flour helps keep the rolls light and fluffy. If you choose not to use it, increase the amount of all-purpose flour to compensate.
How to make pull apart dinner rolls
Like most dinner roll recipes, this one takes just a little bit of action. Most of the time is spent letting the dough rise.
Step 1: Make the dough and let it rise
Combine the dough ingredients in a stand mixer, then knead until a slightly tacky dough forms.
Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours (photo 1).
Step 2: Shape the dough into rolls
This soft, silky dough is now ready to be shaped into balls. Start by portioning the dough into 16 individual pieces (photo 2).
Roll each piece into a tight ball and place into a 9-inch round cake pan (photo 3).
Step 3: Let the dough rise again, then bake
After allowing the covered dough to rise until doubled again (about an hour), bake for 20 to 25 minutes (photo 4).
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions you might have...
If you have a dedicated bread proofer, lucky you! Otherwise, cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and place in warm, draft-free place. An unheated oven with just the light turned on works wonderfully.
After portioning the dough into 16 pieces, take one piece and flatten into a rough square. pull the corners down underneath to tighten the skin, then pinch them together. Place the ball on the counter, pinched side down, and cup your hand over it. Roll the ball around moving your hand in a circular motion...this is to seal that bottom pinched spot even more. Voila, a shaped roll ready for rising and baking!
Yes! You can let the dough have its first rise in the refrigerator overnight. Cover the dough tightly and place in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and allow the dough to fully rise for 2 more hours before portioning and shaping. Or, You can also shape the rolls before refrigerating them overnight. At least 3 hours before you need them the next day, remove the rolls from the refrigerator, keep covered, and allow to rise on the counter for about 1 to 2 hours before baking. Either way will allow the dough to develop even more flavor.
These rolls are a hit!
These soft sourdough rolls are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! They're fluffy and flavorful with just a tang of sourdough notes at the end.
Actually, these would better be called "Sourdough maybe-they'll-make-it-to-Dinner Rolls"...they're that good.
That's dinner, improved!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
When you maintain a sourdough starter, you have a dilemma. What do you do with your unfed sourdough starter discard? I've got lots of suggestions for sweet and savory ways to use your fed sourdough starter and the sourdough starter discard. Here are a few samples...
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Soft Sourdough Pull Apart Dinner Rolls (with yeast)
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, or bread flour, adding more if needed
- 1 cup milk, warmed between 100°F to 110°F, see Recipe Notes
- ½ cup sourdough starter discard, unfed, at room temperature, see Recipe Notes
- ¼ cup potato flour
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp yeast, instant or rapid rise, see Recipe Notes
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. (If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula).
- Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for two minutes.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with canola oil spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1 to 2 hours or until double in size. An oven with the light on works wonderfully.
- When the dough is ready, knead it gently to deflate it. Divide the dough into 14 to 16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange in prepared baking pan.
- Cover shaped rolls with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
- Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F. It’s best to bake the rolls towards the bottom of the oven so the tops don’t burn.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil
- Remove from the oven and allow rolls to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Cover leftover rolls tightly and store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. For longer storage, freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then reheat as desired.