Freshly baked, homemade and no refined sugar, no egg and no dairy ingredients added, in one word Vegan bread. With very simple and few ingredients, you can make this at home. No need to worry about egg or milk, this recipe uses basic ingredients so you can make it at home. This is a very basic easy Sugar Free and Vegan White Dinner Rolls, soft and fluffy. Make it small batch of 4 or big batch of 9, either way I got you covered.
Making homemade has been my favorite baking activity lately and which I am truly grateful. it is important to keep busy and productive while staying at home and what better way to use my extra time than to bake my own bread. I hope you had a chance to read my 10 Homemade Bread To Keep You Busy At Home post last week. I had compiled 10 of my homemade bread video to inspire you to make your own bread at home. If you missed it, just click the link HERE, or the link at the end of this post. Those bread making videos are a good start for what we are making today.
Basic Simple Ingredients
One thing I love about Vegan baking when it comes to homemade bread is that it makes the process easier and simple. I used to be dependent on my stocks of egg and milk before I can make bread, but not anymore. I had been testing this recipe over and over again before I decided to share it with you guys. I made this dinner rolls almost every week, I shared this with my friends and they all love it. They cannot believe that this bread does not contain any dairy in it. I was actually surprised myself at first when I made it, I thought bread without dairy will be dry and boring, but it is not actually true, at least for the case of this dinner rolls. This dinner rolls uses simple ingredients that are easy to find, and some ingredients can even be substituted if you do not have them. You can make soft and fluffy dinner rolls without dairy, trust me and give this a try.
No Refined Sugar, Instead Honey
To make it refined sugar free, I used honey to give the bread a slight sweetness, but not too much. Also the honey adds moisture to the bread preventing it to be too dry.
Substituting Honey: Honey is NOT Vegan
Purist Vegan do not consider honey as Vegan, and if that is also how you feel, you have options to substitute it with Maple Syrup. Substituting honey for Maple Syrup or granulated white sugar will need minor adjustment in the recipe. Maple Syrup is thinner than honey which may require you to add a little bit more flour, either that or use lesser maple syrup (say 3 tbsp) and adjust as needed. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until you get to the soft, elastic and slightly sticky texture. On the other hand, if you use granulated sugar in place of honey, you are basically reducing the liquid in the recipe which means you may need to add more water to avoid the dough from getting to dense and dry, or probably reduce the amount of flour and start with 1 1/2 cups first and gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup as needed. I haven’t tried both, but this is how I would probably adjust it If I decided to replace honey with Maple syrup to stick to the idea of pure Vegan.
Substituting Non-Dairy Milk
I had tried using almond milk and oat milk several times for this recipe and they both worked well. If you do not have one on hand which is probably the case, you can substitute it with water. If you do not mind using dairy, you can use regular milk in any percentage. The higher the fat, the better. You can also use powdered milk, have diluted in warm water and measure the amount needed. The important thing to remember here is to substitute it with an ingredient that will provide moisture to the dough. I haven’t tried it, but mashed banana or apple sauce will probably work too you may just need to adjust the flour 1 tablespoon at a time if it becomes too wet.
Let’s talk about yeast since this is a yeast bread. Understanding the yeast and how it works will lessen your fear or working with it. There is nothing to fear in making yeast bread, you just have to understand how to handle it and that part is pretty simple.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Hand Mixer – It’s doable but I never used it because I don’t have a dough attachment. Important point to remember, use DOUGH attachment, a regular hook attachment will not work as it will be jammed with dough. Also, it’s going to be too heavy for the hook attachment to mix the dough.
- 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.
- Bread Machine – If you happen to have one, use the dough setting. Add all the wet ingredients first, followed by all dry ingredients. Watch the consistency of the dough. If it is too dry, add a bit more liquid or if too wet add a bit more flour. You should do this while in the first stage of mixing. Remove the dough after the 3rd rise and shape and fill then bake in the oven. Do not forget to remove the dough otherwise it will continue into the bake stage.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Now that we have a background about Yeast and tips for, bread making, let’s check the recipe.
Why is My Dough too 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 why 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. Humidity also affects baking. The more humid it is, the more likely the dough will be sticky and wet. 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 to get the dough in right state.
Batch of 9 pieces
- 1/2 cup Warm Water (110F) – Microwave tap water for 20 seconds
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- 2 tablespoon Maple Syrup or Honey (if you do not care about making it vegan)
- 3 tablespoon Flavorless Oil
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon Non-Dairy Milk ( I used Almond Milk)
- 2 cups Bread Flour
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
Batch of 4 – 6 pieces
- 1/4 cup Warm Water (110F) – Microwave tap water for 20 seconds
- 1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup or Honey (if you do not care about making it vegan)
- 2 tablespoon Flavorless Oil
- 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoon Non-Dairy Milk (I used Almond Milk)
- 1 cup Bread Flour
- 1/3 teaspoon Salt
Activate Yeast: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer (Refer to discussion above for other Methods of making this) whisk together water, honey and yeast. Rest 10 minutes until mixture is foamy.
Add Wet Ingredients: Set mixer with paddle attachment and add oil then mix just to combine. I always start with the paddle attachment for easy mixing, then I switched to dough hook attachment once combined.. You can also go ahead and use dough hook attachment if that is your preference.
Add Dry Ingredients: Add salt and half of the bread flour and mix on low-speed until combined, then switch to a hook attachment. Set mixer on low-speed and slowly add in remaining bread flour. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed until smooth and elastic , about 8 minutes. Pay close attention to the texture of the dough. If the dough is too sticky add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until the dough starts to form, dough should be slightly sticky and not too dry. If too much flour is added the bread will be dense and heavy. The side of the mixing bowl should be clean while the bottom sticks slightly to the dough. The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic once you are done kneading.
First Rest Period: Remove the dough and form into a ball. Transfer into a greased bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap or warm towel and allow to rest for 1 hour in a warm place.
TIP: To help the dough rise better, leave it inside the oven pre-heated to 110F ONLY, turn it OFF once it reach 110F. Do NOT forget to stop/turn off the oven. Some oven has a proofing setting, mine doesn’t, so this is my trick.
Shape and Prepare for 2nd Rest Period: Take the dough out from the bowl and lightly push the dough down with the heel of the palm of your hands. Knead about 1 minute to knock-out the air. Divide into 9 pieces (or 4 if making small batch) and shape each piece into a ball size. Arrange side by side in a 7-inch square pan (or 5×5 for small batch of 4) lined with parchment paper.
2nd rest Period: Dust the top with flour (any kind of flour). I like using a sieve for a more even distribution. This help prevent the top from getting to wet and sticky. Let rest in a warm place (using the same technique in rest period 1) for the second time for 1 hour. No need to cover the top, leave it as is.
Preheat oven during last 15 minutes of dough rising. If you are using the oven to store the dough, do NOT forget to take it out before pre-heating the oven.
Bake Dust the top with flour (any type of flour is fine) then bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until the top has tuned golden brown.
Check at 15 minutes, if the top is browning fast, cover the top with aluminum foil and continue baking
Make a Small Batch of 4 or 6
In case you want to make a small batch , I got you covered. I tested this recipe for a small batch of 4-6 pieces. I used this small batch portion most of the time when I am only baking for myself. The steps are the same, the only change you need to do is to portion the dough into 4 (or 6).
There you go! You now have a homemade dairy Free and No Refined Sugar Dinner Rolls Bread.
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