Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls Recipe

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books was "Heidi", by Johanna Spyri. Heidi was a 5 year old, orphan girl who goes to live in the Swiss Alps with her gruff grandfather. Her sweet ways slowly soften the old man's heart and a bond soon grows between them. Heidi spends her days playing on the green mountains with her friend, Peter the goat herd, and eating bread and cheese.

Bread is such a big feature in the book. Heidi's grandfather would prepare a breakfast of  thick, fresh goat's milk and hard, crusty bread topped with slices of golden cheese for her. In contrast, when Heidi is sent off to Zurich to be a companion to a rich, invalid girl, Heidi is awed by the soft, dinner rolls that are served at meals in the city. So different from the hard, crusty bread that she was used to eating in the mountains. The thoughtful child starts squirreling away the soft dinner rolls so that she can take them back to the Alps for Peter's grandmother who is unable to eat hard bread.

I've fondly nicknamed this soft dinner roll recipe 'Heidi's Dinner Rolls for Grandmother'. 

Soft, white, dinner rolls

 All purpose flour, egg and butter are the magic ingredients that make these rolls soft, white and fluffy- just like eating puffy morsels of clouds.

Dinner rolls with butter and egg


How to make Soft Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Servings: 15 rolls

Preparation Time: 2.5-3 hours


☐ 2 1/4 tsp Fast Rising Instant Yeast (1 Packet Red Star Fast rising= 1/4 oz)
☐ 1 cup warm water 
☐ 3 1/4 Cup all purpose flour plus additional for dusting. (I used unbleached Bread Flour) 
☐ 1/4 Cup sugar
☐ 2 tbsp salted butter softened
☐ 1 tsp kosher salt 
☐ 1 beaten egg
☐ Two 9 inch diameter pans (I used cake tins)

Step by Step Instructions:
  1. Add yeast to 1 cup warm water in a glass and set aside to rise with 1 teaspoon of sugar (for about 3-5 minutes).
  2. In a large bowl add the egg, remaining sugar, salt and butter. Beat with a hand mixer till smooth.
  3. Pour yeast mixture into the bowl.
  4. Begin to incorporate flour a little at a time while mixing with a whisk.
  5. Continue till all flour is incorporated and the dough is more or less smooth. In the final stages you will need to use a spoon to mix.
  6. Place the ball of dough into a greased bowl. Spray the top of the dough lightly with cooking spray.
  7. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place in an un-powered microwave to rest for about 1.5 hour (the dough should double in size).
  8. After 1.5 hour remove and place onto a floured surface and knead lightly. The dough will be sticky. Sprinkle additional flour as needed to make it more manageable.
  9. Cut dough in half. Roll each half into a 15-inch rope; cut each rope into 15 one-inch pieces. 
  10.  Press each piece into a disk, then shape into a ball. Arrange dough balls in prepared pans (Two    9" Diameter Pans - sprayed with cooking spray).
  11.  Place the first ball in the center of the pan and the remaining balls around. Ensure there is        enough space for expansion.
  12.  Cover and let sit for 30-45 minutes or till the balls begin to touch or expand 50%.
  13.  Preheat oven to 350°F and place a tray on the bottom rack of the oven.
  14.  Place pans on the center rack and quickly add 1 cup of warm water to the heated tray on the    lower rack. Quickly but gently close the oven door so that the oven fills with steam. Bake at  350°F for 15-20 minutes until the tops of the rolls are golden brown.
  15. Remove and cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minute before digging in.

If you're in the mood for a more crusty bread like Heidi would have eaten in the Alps with her grandfather, then try my Easy, Crusty, Rustic Bread Recipe

Inspired by: 

Check out my other bread recipes, by clicking on the "BREAD" label below.

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