the food out here

Dinner-roll dash

Posted 4/27/22

My wife and I rolled into the driveway from church and hurried inside with the boys to begin the final preparations for Easter dinner. The ham had been slow-cooking and was ready to cut and plate, …

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the food out here

Dinner-roll dash


My wife and I rolled into the driveway from church and hurried inside with the boys to begin the final preparations for Easter dinner. The ham had been slow-cooking and was ready to cut and plate, and the sides were all prepped and just in need of quick heating or mixing before making their way onto the dining room table. My wife turned to me and asked if I remembered to get the tube of crescent rolls from the store before church.

Husband—0 points.

As she was about to say that it was no big deal and let me off the hook, I asked her how much time we had before her family showed up to eat. She responded that we had about 20 minutes or so.

Quickly pulling out my instant access to the Google, aka my phone, I looked up quick dinner-roll recipes. Rated with five stars and at the top of the results, with a total time of about 30 minutes, was a dinner roll recipe that had a decent graphic and, upon further inspection, all of the ingredients I had readily available.

Husband—1 point (tentatively).

I popped the bread hook onto my stand mixer and began following the directions. Sure enough, I had a decent dough in about ten minutes or so.

Once it was formed, I dumped it out onto the counter and divided it as evenly as my rushed timeline could afford. The dough balls were rearranged onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Realizing I had to then wait another 10 minutes at least to let the dough rise, I covered the rolls with a dish towel and set the sheet on the warm stovetop, while I made calculations in my head regarding the impending arrival of family.

I figured even if they began to arrive now, the rolls would be done by the time everyone got comfortable at the table and grace was ready to be said.

Barely allowing the timer to go off for more than a moment, I removed the cover from my rolls and popped them in the preheated oven just in time to greet the family at the door. Perhaps an unanticipated mess in the sink, but I was in the home stretch.

Following a brief 10-minute bake, it was time to check the results. The rolls were cooked but not yet fully browned to my satisfaction, so the door remained closed and everyone began to get seated for dinner. Just as the last stragglers were getting comfortable, I did another check, and success met my nostrils as I lifted the freshly baked bread from the oven.

Husband—18 points (one for each dinner roll).

I quickly vacated the morning contents of one of my kids’ Easter baskets in order to use it as a breadbasket, and arrived at the table with the bounty just in time for prayer.

Easter may have come and gone, but I’ll be printing this recipe for future reference for any dinner occasion, as it was indeed a quick and simple bake. The rolls had a nice smooth skin on them with a fluffy yet filling center, just as a classic dinner roll ought to have.

Note: if you are not a regular baker, this is one recipe that will vary depending on humidity and altitude. It calls for between three and four cups of flour. I would just about guarantee that you will use every bit of three cups without having to worry too much, but you may have to trickle in that fourth cup and maybe even add a little more to pull that dough together just right.

My trick, if you are cheating and using a stand mixer as I do, is to knead the dough and watch the bowl. If it leaves little messy tendrils on the metal, then drizzle a little more flour in until it picks it all up. Even if it looks like the dough is getting dry and layered rather than staying together. Once it cleans up the little sticky bits, bump your mixer into high for a few short bursts to knead that dough into itself more firmly and it will end up with a much better texture throughout.

The way out here, we don’t depend on the Pillsbury doughboy to make our family dinners, but we may or may not have some dependency on Google. (As I say this, the dozens of cookbooks on my shelf are giving me the stink-eye.)

30-minute dinner rolls

Recipe courtesy of

  • 1 cup warm tap water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (I used closer to 3)
  • 1/8 cup milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400*F.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup water, oil, sugar and yeast. Let sit until yeast is bubbly (about 8 minutes). Stir in beaten egg, softened butter, and salt.

With a stand mixer or by hand, add flour, one cup at a time until you have a soft dough that isn’t sticky. Knead by hand 10 minutes or 5 minutes with a stand mixer.

Divide dough into 18 even pieces, and form into balls. Place in a greased pan and cover with parchment paper and a kitchen towel.

Let rise 10 minutes in a warm place. (You can allow the rolls to rise for as much as an additional 30 minutes if time allows).

Lightly brush with milk and bake on the middle rack for 10-12 minutes or just until browned.

dinner roll, Easter dinner, quick recipe


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