[VIDEO] Small Batch Dinner Rolls for Two (Makes 4)

 

How to Make Dinner Rolls

Watch the video to see how I made the basic bread dough for this dinner rolls.

This homemade Dinner Roll is the best thing that could happen in your dinner table. Soft, fluffy and can be eaten on its own without even any spread. A perfect portion for sharing for two so nothing goes to waste. This dinner roll uses a very simple bread dough recipe that you can easily tweak to make different variations. Add some grated cheese, chopped jalapeno, stuff it with meat or even use it to make sweet rolls. Simple bread dough and yet versatile. Check it out.

Small Batch Dinner Rolls For Two

Simple and easy fresh homemade dinner rolls for two is my go to bread for quick and every day bread rolls. This is one homemade bread that I am so happy and proud to share with you. 

I am so in love with small batch recipes. Small batch recipes are great way to avoid throw away and leftovers which I hate the most, besides it cost savings however small amount it is. Bread is something  that is very common in my house, even more common than rice. Although rice is easier to cook, bread had always been the source of carbohydrates in most of my meals among the many carbohydrates loaded food I eat. 

Dinner Rolls For Two

This bread uses my All Around Bread Dough Recipe which I had been using now for most of my bread recipes. It’s simple, easy to make and the bread has nice soft texture and a sweet creamy taste. A small batch of four pieces which is just perfect for Two is always my perfect number. Two bread each for one person or all for me, no complain about that. Another reason why making small batch of bread is a good idea for every day baking is that homemade bread doesn’t have preservatives, which means it will go stale and dry faster than commercial bread. So making a small batch is a great way for me to enjoy fresh bread anytime I want to. This recipe is very handy to have for those people who leave alone or to small household of two. Don’t worry, I have forgotten the big happy family, I go you covered with try big batch version of the recipe. Check my All Around Bread Dough post, that post have both big and small batch measurements. Let me show you how easy it is to make homemade bread. 

How To Make Bread at Home

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 then I add the instant yeast last (away from the salt). This should also 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.

Interchanging Yeast

You can interchange active yeast and instant yeast (or vice versa) 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 as Instant (Rapid Yeast) is stronger than Active Dry Yeast.

To substitute active dry for instant (or rapid rise) yeast: Use 25 percent more active dry. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of instant yeast, use 1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry. And don’t forget to “proof” the yeast, i.e. dissolving it in a portion of warm water (105F) from the recipe

To substitute instant (or rapid rise) yeast for active dry: Use about 25 percent less. And you do not need to proof the yeast, just add it to the dry ingredients.

To substitute fresh yeast for active dry yeast, use a ratio of roughly 2:1, i.e. use one small cake (0.6 ounce) of compressed fresh yeast in lieu of 1 packet (.25 ounces) of active dry yeast.

Yeast Conversion Table

1 package active dry yeastabout 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast1/4 ounce7 grams
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast.1 teaspoon instant (bread machine) yeast
1 teaspoon active dry yeast3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 package active dry yeast (2 4/5 teaspoons or almost 9 grams).1 package instant yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons or 7 grams)
Bread Making Tips and Tricks

So, now that’s the basic of yeast.  Let’s have a look at some very important tips that we should bear in mind in making yeast bread.

Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread

  1. Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 105 – 110F, so its important to have the water that you are using to “proof” it in this range. If you go lower or higher, the yeast might not proof properly. That means the bread will not rise as much, resulting to a flat and tough bread. 
  2. Check Yeast Expiry a Date – you might be wondering how come the bread did not rise when you followed exactly the recipe. Well, first thing first, make sure the yeast is not yet expired. Expired yeast is the common reason for flat and dense bread. If your bread did not expand or rise during the rest period, it is most likely that the yeast is not fresh or the water temperature is too hot or cold.
  3. Amount of Yeast – Just because you want a tall bread doesn’t mean you have to put as much yeast in the mixture. Sometimes adding too much yeast can cause the bread to collapse during the rest period. Just imagine putting more air than what is needed in a balloon, the balloon will explode. The same case with bread. 
  4. Right Type of Yeast – We’ve discussed the 3 types of yeast above. Make sure to use the right one for your recipe, and make necessary adjustments if you want to swap one from another. 
  5. Rest Period – Yeast bread needs time to rise. There are bread that uses less yeast but requires more rest time, the likes of No Knead Bread or Artisan Bread which usually require 8- 16 hours rest period to get the volume and to develop the flavor. There are 1 hour bread like my Rosemary Dinner Rolls which used this same bread dough. The point is, give it time to rest, don’t touch it just leave it in a warm place. The first rest period will normally tell you if your dough is good or not. If it rise and almost double in size, then your on the right track.  
  6. Expiration and Quality of the Flour – The quality of the flour greatly affect the texture of the bread. All-purpose flour could differ from country to country although they are all called as all-purpose flour. Sometimes it depends on the brand too. The closer the flour to expiration date or if it is already expired, the flour could tend to be drier, which means it would require more liquid than mentioned in the recipe. This is a common issue of way sometimes the dough tend to be tough and dry. This is why sometimes you have to add few more tablespoon from the suggested flour measurement to get the right texture. The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour until it is no longer to sticky to handle. If it is too dry, a small amount of liquid helps provide moisture to the dough. A clean side of the bowl, with the dough slightly sticking at the bottom, a soft, smooth and elastic dough is what You are aiming for.

These are the 6 common points that I remind myself when making homemade bread. Bear this in mind and you’ll sure to have a nice soft homemade bread.  

How To Make Bread Dough

How do I Know if I Made the Bread Dough Correctly?

This is not written on the stone, but so far this is how I check if I am on the right track when it comes to the dough.

  1. Activating the Yeast –  This is the first thing that you should get right, otherwise do NOT proceed. After 5 – 10 minutes you should see a foam forms on top of the water, this is an indication that the yeast is alive. If you do not get this, either the yeast is old or the liquid temperature is too hot or cold. The temperature should be 100F, lukewarm but not hot.
  2. Clean Bowl After Kneading – The sides of the bowl should be clean, while the bottom is slightly sticking to the dough. This means that amount of liquid to the flour is correct. Enough to make a clean bowl and still make a slightly wet dough.
  3. Soft Dough – Soft dough means the amount of flour to liquid is enough. Too much flour could make the bread dense and heavy, and too much liquid could make it too wet. Both will affect how the bread rise in the rest period. Try to push your fingers in the dough, it should leave a “dimple” on the dough and should gradually disappear.
  4. Smooth Dough Surface – Again, this is a sign of correct flour to liquid ratio. A “bumpy” surface could mean that the dough is dry and tough.
  5. Elastic Dough – A soft dough is usually elastic. If your dough is dry and tough, it wouldn’t be as elastic when you pull it apart.
  6. First Rest Period – The dough should almost double in size. This is a sign that the activation of the yeast work which is crucial to making a soft and fluffy bread. This also means the yeast is alive (not yet expired) and the liquid temperature is correct. I always use baking thermometer to check the temperature of the liquid.
  7. Second Rest Period – The bread dough should be really puff up and should fill in the gaps between each bread. This is crucial and the final state of the bread before baking. If you are able to make it puff-up, that is a good sign that there are air trapped inside which will make the bread fluffy.

Now that we have a background about Yeast and tips for, bread making, let’s check the recipe.

Soft and Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Why is My Dough to Wet or Too Dry?

Don’t get frustrated if your dough did not turn out immediately as what you see in the photo or video. Most likely It is not because you did not follow the recipe. When it comes to bread making, the amount of flour and liquid is not always 100% precise. This is way often times you will encounter recipes that says, if your dough is dry, add a bit more liquid. If your dough is too wet, add a little bit more flour. This instructions are not meant to confuse you, they are meant to guide you on how to adjust as you work through your dough. The reason for this is that 

Although the measurement of water and flour are specified in the recipe, it still could slightly vary depending on many factors. For instance, all-purpose flour could very from country to country, or even from brand to brand. Don’t be surprise if you find that some brand tends to require a bit more liquid as the others. On top of this, the amount of liquid is also affected by the state of your flour. How old is the flour that you are using? Older flour nearing expiry tends to be drier and this requires more liquid. Bread making requires patience, and practice. Once you learn how to feel the right texture of the dough, everything will be quick and easy. You can instantly tell if you need to add more water or flour o get the dough in right state. For the meantime, the best thing to do is to add the water gradually so that you can feel and see the dough transform, this way you can stop adding once you noticed it is getting to sticky. The goal is to have soft, smooth and elastic dough that is still slightly sticky but not too much. The sides of the bowl is clean while the dough still slightly stick at the bottom. 

4 Methods  To Make This Dough

There are 4 ways that you can choose from in how you make this bread. Choose whichever works for you. 

  1. Stand Mixer – This is what I always use when I make this dough. It’s the fastest and easiest method and less manual handling. This is the step outlined below in the instruction. 
    Basic Bread Dough

  2. Hand Mixer – Use dough attachment as regular hook attachment will not work. The thick and heavy dough will jam a regular hook attachment. Also, it’s going to be too heavy for the hook attachment to mix the dough. 
  3. Manually – If you don’t have any electronic baking equipment for making the dough, you can do it manually. Simply follow the same instructions, do the mixing in a large bowl and transfer in counter top and knead manually. It will take a lot of arm exercise, but I’m telling you, it’s worth it.

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Milk any percentage  (warm 110F) or microwave for 20 seconds
  • 1 1/4  teaspoon Active Dry Yeast or 1 teaspoon Instant (Rapid) Yeast  
  • 2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp Granulated Sugar (Divided: 1/2 tsp for yeast, and 2 tbsp for the dry ingredients mixture)
  • 2 tbsp flavorless Oil (I used Canola)
  • 1 large Egg – room temperature
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp All-Purpose Flour (plus more as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (I used fine salt)

Egg Wash

  • 1 beaten Egg + 1 tsp water

Instructions:

  1. Activate Yeast: Microwave milk for 20- 25 seconds until lukewarm but NOT hot, aim for 110 – 115F. If you have a baking thermometer, use it as it is the best way to be sure of the temperature. Hot milk will kill the yeast and the bread will not rise properly.  Transfer milk in bowl of stand mixer (Refer to discussion above for other Methods of making this) and add 1/2 tsp of the granulated sugar and stir. Add the yeast and let rest for 10 minutes until mixture is foamy. If the mixture did not become foamy, either the yeast is old or the milk is too hot. Do NOT proceed until corrected, otherwise you will end up with a tough dense bread.
    Activated Bread Yeast
  2. Add Wet Ingredients: Set mixer with paddle attachment and mix in remaining sugar (2 tbsp), beaten egg, and oil on low-speed, just to mix every thing together.
  3. Add Dry Ingredients: Add salt and 1 cup of flour and mix on low-speed until combined, then switch to a hook attachment. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until the dough comes together, the dough should be slightly sticky, smooth, soft and but not too dry. If too much flour is added, the rolls will be dense and heavy. A good measure of correct texture is a clean mixing bowl with slightly sticky bottom, a soft, smooth and elastic dough just like the photo below
    Dinner Roll Dough USing Stand Mixer
  4. First Rest Period: Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Transfer into a greased bowl (I used oil spray) and roll the dough inside the bowl to coat the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or warm towel and allow to rest for 1 hour in a warm place. Greasing the bowl lessen the sticking of the dough in the surface of the bowl. The left photo is after 8 minutes kneading the dough, and the right photo is after 1 hour rest. It doubles in size.
    • TIP: To help the dough rise faster, leave the covered dough OUTSIDE the pre-heated 350F oven. The top of the oven hot surface will give the dough the heat it needed to rise properly. Alternatively, you can also pre-heat the oven to 110F then turn it OFF and put the covered dough inside.

For a large batch of 6 or 12 pieces check out my All-Around Bread Dough posts

  • Shape: Take the dough out from the bowl and lightly push the dough down with the heel of the palm of your hands. Divide into 4 portions and shape each piece into a ball.
    Dinner Roll Recipe
  • Arrange in Baking Pan: Line a 5 x 5-inch square pan with parchment paper or spray pan with oil. Leave an overhang on the side to allow easy removal later. Arrange each piece in the pan leaving allowances on all sides. Alternatively, you can also arrange it in a baking or cookie try. You can have it close together without a gap or you can arrange it far from each other. I personally like having it close together to keep the sides moist and like a pull apart bread.
    Dinner Roll Four Pieces

  • 2nd Rest Period: Cover with warm tea towel and let rest in a warm place for another 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F during last 10 minutes of dough rising (After 60 minutes, the dough will be puff-up like this (assuming the  yeast was proofed properly in Step 2). 
    Dinner Roll Small Batch
  • Egg wash (Optional): Brush top with egg wash ( 1 beaten egg + 1 tsp water). Egg wash helps in the browning and gives a nice glossy texture. Alternatively, if you do not want to brush the top with egg wash, dust flour on top instead. Use a sieve for an even distribution of flour.
    Small Batch Dinner Roll For Two By SweetNSpicyLiving
  • Bake at 350F for 18 – 20 minutes until top turns brown.
  • Homemade Rolls

    Looking for more homemade bread recipes? I got you covered! I have here 10 of my favorite homemade bread recipes, all with Video or MORE bread recipes HERE

    Readers Comments:

    • I make a lot of bread and rolls. Wanted to try this small batch recipe and it was truly amazing! The rolls are super fluffy and taste delicious! I actually doubled the recipe and baked (9) in a square 9” pan. Perfect for my family of three. I was glad to have a couple leftover for breakfast and they were still super soft after storing in a ziptop bag overnight. I really liked that the bottom and sides didn’t get very brown like the top did. I believe this is what makes them stay so fluffy and soft. Excellent! –Julie G
    • Takes lots of time rising but is well worth the wait. Came out perfectly. I will use this recipe over and over again.– Mary via Pinterest
    • They turned out wonderfully! I would recommend no one even attempts to do them manually, I learned the hard way! Thanks for the recipe! They were fluffy, soft, delicious! — CareBear via Pinterest
    • The recipe checks out fine. Try it. If you actually read the article, it gives great tips and trouble shoots some key areas you may have missed — Staci via Pinterest
    • I made this tonight to have with supper. I made them gluten free and it turned out very well. After mixing I made them into 4 buns and let them rise just one one time. This is a keeper! — Cindi via Pinterest

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    31 replies »

      • Thanks for the feedback Helen. Try to reduce the sugar for the flour mixture from 2 table spoon to 1 tablespoon, see how that works for you. Gradually add the flour so that you can adjust it as needed. Sugar adds stickiness and moisture to the dough and decreasing it might need to be slightly decrease as well (or maybe not) hold. Try adding 1 cup of flour first and hold on to the 3 tablespoon and add it as you go while checking the texture of the dough. Let me know how it goes, if you give that a try.

        Like

    1. I have never commented on anything on Pinterest but,OMG I made this recipe as a small round loaf and never have I ever had such light fluffy bread.Big thumbs up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Cyndi,
        I have never tried making bread in food processor. If you try it, use the pulse button so that you can monitor the consistency of the dough. as soon it it comes together take it out and knead it manually for few minutes until smooth and elastic. You can make this bread manually too, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and manually knead on counter top. Let me know how the food processor method goes when you try it.

        Like

    2. I make a lot of bread and rolls. Wanted to try this small batch recipe and it was truly amazing! The rolls are super fluffy and taste delicious! I actually doubled the recipe and baked (9) in a square 9” pan. Perfect for my family of three. I was glad to have a couple leftover for breakfast and they were still super soft after storing in a ziptop bag overnight. I really liked that the bottom and sides didn’t get very brown like the top did. I believe this is what makes them stay so fluffy and soft. Excellent!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. How do you keep the dough from sticking to the cover for the last rising? I use plastic wrap with cooking spray on it and it sticks and then dough deflates when I pull off cover. 😞😞

      Like

    4. My old stand mixer doesn’t have a paddle attachment (only whisk and dough hook). Would anyone know if a bread machine would work for this recipe??

      Thank you,
      Marianne

      Like

      • Hi Marianne,
        I used the paddle attachment first just for easy mixing because this is a small batch, but you can use the dough hook if that is what you have. You might need to mix it from time to time to help the dough gather together so the dough hook can reach it. I haven`t tried making this is bread maker, I do not see any reason why it won`t work. Activate the yeast in the brad machine, add all the wet ingredients followed by all dry ingredients. Let me know how it goes if you try to make it in bread maker. Thanks.

        Like

    5. Hi,

      My bread turned out kinda flat and dense I don’t know what went wrong. The yeast was not old but it didn’t dissolve properly in the milk also the baked bread smelled weirdly. Any idea why that might be ? Thanks in advance.

      Like

      • Hi,
        I am so sorry to hear that.
        1. First, did it proof properly? Did you see any foam forming on top after few minutes? That is the first check, if it did not activate properly and you proceed, the breadcould be flat and dense.
        2. If it activate properly, after the 1st and 2nd rest period, did it double in size? If not, that is also a probable reason why it is flat

        About the baked bread smelling weird, I have never encountered that in any of my homemade bread. That is a more complicated case probably over fermentation or it was underbaked which makes the texture dense and wet.

        Don’t give up, try it again. Bread making takes practice and patience, you will eventually get there..

        Like

        • I tried the 6 rolls recipe. The yeast bloomed wonderfully but the dough didn’t rise on the first rise. Don’t know what happened. Don’t know if I should go ahead a roll and bake or throw away.

          Like

        • HI Jennifer,
          Did you have it rest in a warm place? Since you already have it, rather than throwing it see how it will turn out, no harm is trying to salvage it. Roll it it and leave it longer to rise in the 2nd rest period. Normally 1 hour is more than enough, but side your first rest period did not rise properly, try leaving the rolls longer for the 2nd rest period, 2 1/2 hours. Try leaving it inside a pre-heate 110F oven, once it each 110F turn OFF the oven and put the dough inside. Let me k ow how it goes.

          Like

    6. If I’m using instant yeast do I 1/2 the amount called for in the recipe. You indicated you often interchange active dry and instant, so I’m confused.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Mary Jo,
        You can make it as individual rolls and bake it in baking sheet, cookie sheet. You can also a pan bigger than 5×5 and arrange the 4 rolls close together in the center. It will not touch the edge when it expands but the rolls will still be close together.

        Like

      • Hi Tammy,
        I haven’t tried freezing it since I often make a small batch that gets consume in a day or 2. You can freeze it, but expect a slight change in the bread texture. I made this several times sometimes in the morning for use during lunch or dinner. Sometimes I make it at night for use in breakfast the following day.

        Like

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    Hi, I'm Marilou. Welcome to my website SweetNSpicyLiving. My website is where I share my passion for baking, cooking, photography and traveling. It's a small piece of my Sweet & Spicy Life that I like to share with you.

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