Soft Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

There are few things I love more with my dinner than a soft roll. (Sticky rice is one of those few things…but that’s for another post). I also really love baking with whole wheat flour, but that and softness don’t usually go together. Normally I don’t mind that healthy bread is a little drier and more firm than white bread, but I figured there had to be a way to make a dinner roll that was both pillowy and made with whole wheat flour.

I started with some white whole wheat flour, and added gluten because I like what it does to the texture of the bread I bake. I know gluten is a hot topic these days, and one that I know far too little about. What I do know is that it doesn’t bother my stomach at all, and it does really nice things to yeast breads. So I use it.

I packed 12 rolls into a 9″ cake pan, as you can see in the first picture. I think only baking 8 or 9 in each pan would make the rolls have a nicer shape, so that’s what I wrote below.

(loosely based on this King Arthur Flour recipe)

3/4 cup warm water (around 110 F)
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk, warmed up a little
2 tbsp softened butter
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp salt

Combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl and stir to combine. Let stand for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast looks creamy and frothy.

Put the flour, salt, and gluten in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with a fork. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the warm water and yeast. Mix with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, or until you have a smooth, elastic dough (if it’s not coming together, add a little warm water and keep mixing).

If you want to knead on the counter instead of using the dough hook, knead until the dough is nice and stretchy and doesn’t tear. Then shape it into a ball, put it in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Grease two 9″ cake pans. Fold the dough over on itself a few times, then divide it into 16 or 18 little balls, and arrange them evenly in the pans. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let rise for an hour.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.

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13 comments to Soft Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

  • these look fab! so i’ve been looking at a bunch of bread recipes lately and noticed that some call for vital wheat gluten but I couldn’t find any at the store! where do you get it?? maybe i wasn’t in the right place!

  • Those look amazing! I’ve been wanting to make some whole wheat rolls.

  • Simple enough, and they look fabulous! Love that they’re whole wheat :)

  • Cate

    I found it in the bulk bins at a natural food store. I know you can order it online as well (but it’s a little pricey)

  • Pillowy and made with whole wheat? I can definitely get on board with that! I think I’ll make these tonight to go with dinner. Thanks!

  • Moodles

    They look yummy. Wonder how they’d work with the no-knead approach.

  • These look great! I’ll have to try it sometime.

  • You can’t beat a hot roll fresh from the oven!

  • I’m looking forward to making these tomorrow!

  • I am back to report that this recipe was phenom. It was soft, just like you claimed. I made them into large, sandwich sized buns. So perfect for a tomato sandwich at lunch and I’m sure they’ll be fab for french dip sandwiches this evening.

  • Hamannde

    I’ve made these a few times and they’re really yummy! I just have to be sure to serve them soon after baking when they’re super fresh. I’ll eat them two or three days after making them, and they’re still good heated up for a few seconds in the microwave. And we don’t have white whole wheat flour in Germany so I used mostly normal whole wheat flour and some white flour. Thanks for the recipe!

  • April

    Can I substitue white flour for the wheat gluten? I don’t have any and need to make these asap and I don’t have the time to look around town for it!!!

  • i know i’m a few years late to this post, but these are great! i made them today for easter dinner tomorrow, and just plan on heating them up in the oven. they are delicious and i used regular wheat flour instead of white wheat flour. thanks for posting this!

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