Face your fear of homemade yeast bread with this easy recipe
If you’re tempted to skip reading this because you think homemade bread are tedious and difficult, well that’s not always true, at least not for this dinner rolls. I’ve been getting into bread making lately, and to have to admit that I am actually loving it. For me, nothing beats a freshly baked bread, it’s really a different experience and appreciation when you get to eat something that fresh. If can make it, I’ll definitely squeeze it in my schedule rather than buying something for the bake shop.
Role of Yeast in Bread
The main role of yeast in bread is to make the bread rise, so that the bread would be puff-up. Yeast reacts with warm temperature, just like sugar acts as yeast food. Warm temperature pushes yeast to its full potential. This is the reason why yeast bread once shape needs to be covered and rested in warm temperature. The warm temperature will push the yeast to make the bread rise. The dough will start to stretch, almost double in size and will accumulate air pockets. The more the bread rest, the more it will puff up and accumulate air, assuming of course that your yeast is not expired. But just like a balloon, when you blow too much air and it reach its maximum capacity, it could explode or deflate. Same case with bread. I once left my shaped bread (regular dinner roll) overnight to rise. I saw the bread rise before my eyes, then following morning it was all deflated because of too much rest period. On the average, regular bread will require about 2 hrs of rise once shaped, although some bread like this one works with only 35 minutes rest period. You will be amazed how rest time affects the texture of the bread so much. I used this same recipe to make this Italian Herb Dinner Rolls but I extended the rest period to 1 hr. The bread texture was completely different. Though both bread turned out soft, the one that had the rest for 35 minutes (Rosemary Dinner Rolls) has smoother soft texture, slightly compact while this Italian Herb Roll that had a rest for 1 hour has a soft texture but less smoother texture because of the air pockets that build up in the process.
Active Yeast vs. Instant Yeast
Because yeast plays a very important role is making this soft and fluffy bread, let’s take few minutes to understand it. What it is, what are the common types of yeast, the difference among the yeast, and what role the yeast do in bread. I normally encounter 2 types of yeast in most recipes, and in the grocery so I decided to focus on this two types of yeast, although there is a 3rd type “Fresh Yeast” but I never used it.
Types of Yeast
- Active Dry Yeast – This and the Instant Yeast are what I used in most of my bread. In terms of appearance and texture, this kind of yeast are coarser and have bigger granules. It requires to be dissolved in warm water with sugar to activate it. It normally takes 5-10 minutes to do this, and you will now that it’s been “awaken” when bubbles starts to form in the surface of the water, and you would be able to smell it too. This last longer in terms of shelf life and should be kept in a cool dry place. I kept mine in the refrigerator.
- Fast Acting or Instant Yeast – In terms of appearance, this kind of yeast have a finer granules as compared to active dry yeast. This does not require to be dissolved in warm water and sugar. This can be mixed directly with the dry ingredients such as flour, just make sure to keep it away from salt when you mix it as salt can kill the yeast when they touch directly with each other. I normally mix the flour, salt and leavener then I add the instant yeast last. This should als be kept in cool and dry place. You basically save 10 minutes of time when you use instant active yeast as you skip the activation process.
You can interchange active yeast and instant yeast in the recipe, I sometimes do this when I have the other and the recipe calls for the other. You just have to be mindful of the measurement. For dry active yeast you generally need to use half the quantity of fresh yeast stated in the recipe and for instant yeast you need to use 1/4 of the quantity of fresh yeast. The fresh yeast has higher measurement, followed by active yeast, then instant yeast. Let’s say the recipe calls for 30g (1 ounce) of fresh yeast, you can substitute it with 15g (.5 ounce) active dry yeast, or 7g(.25 ounce) instant yeast. Just don’t forget the when you substitute instant yeast with dry active yeast, you have to dissolve it first in warm water to activated it. Do not just mix it along with other dry ingredients unless specified in the recipe.
I guess for now we have enough basic information we need to understand homemade yeast bread, I will not bore you with more details. I’ll have a separate post about yeast in bread making and that would give more details if you want to dig deeper. Let’s get started!
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 3 tbsp sugar , divided (1/2 tsp for yeast, remaining for flour mixture)
- 3/4 cup milk , warmed to about 80 degrees F
- 1 large egg – room temperature
- 3 tbsp flavorless oil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary or 3 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp whisked egg , for brushing rolls
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , then more as needed
- Good quality extra-virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper
Activate Yeast: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together yeast with water and 1/2 tsp of the granulated sugar. Rest 5 minutes.
Add Wet Ingredients: Set mixer with paddle attachment and mix in remaining sugar (2 tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp) milk, egg, oil, rosemary and salt on lo
Add Dry Ingredients: Add 2 cups of flour and mix on low speed until combined, then switch to a hook attachment. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed, about 5-8 minutes. If the dough is too sticky add about 1/4 cup, dough should be slightly sticky and not too dry. If too much flour is added rolls will be dense and heavy. A good measure of correct texture is a clean mixing bowl.
Rest 30-45 minutes: Remove the dough and form into a ball. Transfer into a greased bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap and rest 30-45 minutes. The dough will rise and almost double in size.
Shape and Arrange: Meanwhile butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Punch dough down and divide into 12 equal portions, shape each into a ball. Pull the sides down and tuck under several times then make into a ball shape. Arrange the ball with tucked side facing down so that you have a smooth exposed surface. Cover with plastic wrap that has been greased with oil, I used olive oil spray to do this. Allow to rise in a warm place about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 during last 10 minutes of dough rising.
Brush Top: Gently brush tops of rolls evenly with 1 tbsp whisked egg.
Bake: Bake in preheated 375F oven until tops are golden brown, about 20 -25 minutes. Serve warm, reheat before serving as necessary.
Makes 12 rolls
There you go. An easy recipe for homemade dinner roll is now in your hand. Use it and start making your own homemade bread.
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