Dinner Rolls are one thing that is never out of season, you will always find dinners rolls on the table on most of the gathering. They’re great to go with almost anything, from fresh salad, hot warming bowl of soup, to thick tender stew or perfectly roasted chicken. Dinner rolls are versatile it fits in any meal. yes , it is called dinner rolls but that doesn’t mean we cannot have it for breakfast, lunch or snack.
Hi Guys! How are you enjoying the Fall weather so far? It started raining here in Vancouver, a true mark of Fall season. It’s the good time to stay at home and the perfect time for baking. Today I am sharing with you what I call The BEST Pumpkin Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls, bold claim I know, but that is how I really feel about these amazing soft and fluffy rolls. Another great thing about this recipe, it only requires 1 proofing or rest period. That means you get to save extra 1 hr and you can enjoy this dinner rolls sooner than later. How does that sounds to you?
In my almost 10 years of baking, I realized that if I were to choose on one area to concentrate, I’ll pick bread making. This was actually surprising to me because bread making is one thing that I avoided before. It was a scary thought working with yeast dough, and bread making requires more time as compared to banana bread that you can have ready in an hour or so. I wouldn’t even say that bread making is super easy, it requires practice and practice, until you get to the level wherein you can say forget about the recipe saying this calls for 1/2 cup of milk, because I don’t think so. You get to feel the dough and you know immediately if it needs more liquid or more flour. Bread making is not 100% precise all the time when it comes to amount of liquid and flour. It could vary slightly depending on so many factors. In many years of making bread, the important thing I learn is to have a small amount of liquid and flour on the side, and juts add it as needed. This way, I can monitor the dough. You’ll be surprised what an extra 1-2 tablespoon more of liquid or flour can do to the dough.
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 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.
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.
Tips for a Successful Soft Homemade Bread
- Liquid Temperature – Yeast grows in temperature between 110 – 115F, 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 like a 1 proofing only bread. 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. 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.
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.
3 Methods to Make This Dough
- 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 – 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
- 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
Can I Bake This Individually?
This Pumpkin Dinner Rolls can be baked as single rolls if you don’t want to bake it in a round pan. If you are baking this out of the pan, I suggest diving the rolls into 8 instead of 10, or even 6 for a bigger piece of roll. Simply arrange each roll in a baking sheet and allow at least 2-inch space between each roll. Bake at 350 for about 15-18 minutes. It bakes a bit more faster baked individually because the hot air circulates all around each piece baking it faster, check at 15 minutes.
- 1/4 cup Milk any percentage (warmed at 110F) or microwave for 20 seconds
- 1 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
- 2 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon granulated Sugar (Divide: 1/2 teaspoon for yeast and 2 tablespoon for the dry ingredients)
- 1 large Egg – room temperature
- 1 tablespoon flavorless Oil
- 1/4 cup Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour (plus 2 tablespoon ONLY as needed)
- 1/2 teaspoon table Salt
- 1 tablespoon softened Butter
- 2 tablespoon Pumpkin Seed
- 1 tablespoon Sesame Seed
- Activate Yeast: Microwave milk for 20- 25 seconds until lukewarm but NOT hot, aim for 110F. 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
- Make the bread Dough: Set the mixer with paddle attachment and mix in oil, remaining sugar (2 tbsp), egg, pumpkin pie filling, flour and salt.
- Knead the Dough: Start with a paddle attachment just to get everything mix together. This speed-up the mixing process. Once mixed, change to dough/hook attachment. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed (speed 2 Kitchen Aid) about 15 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. On the other hand, if the dough is slightly dry, add a little bit more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until it comes together. Do NOT add a lot of liquid one time, add gradually and watch the consistency of the dough before adding more.
- Add Butter: Add soften butter and continue mixing for another 15 minutes.
- 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 10 portions and shape each piece into a ball. If you have kitchen weighing scale, this is a good chance ti use it. If you do not have, just eyeball it.
- Arrange in Baking Pan: Here are 3 options that I often use to bake this bread
- .Muffin Tin: Brush each muffin tin hole with melted butter. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and put each piece of dough ball into a muffin tin. Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes. Check at 15 minutes.
- 7-inch Baking Dish:/Pan Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Arrange in a baking dish with the dough side by side. The dough will expand and it will look like a pull-apart rolls once baked. This is what I did with this recipe.
- Cookie Sheet: Arrange the dough in a cookie sheet lined with a parchment paper. Allow at least 2-inches apart to give room when the dough expands. You can also have it close together without a gap to keep the sides moist and like a pull apart bread. 15 – 18 minutes. Check at 15 minutes.
- 7-inch Loaf Pan: Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving extra on the side to help lift the bread once baked. Shape the dough into an oblong shape and transfer in a parchment lined loaf pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Check at 25 minutes.
- 1 Hour Rest Period: Cover and let rest in a warm place for another 60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F during last 10 minutes of dough rising
- 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.
- Toppings (Optional): Sprinkle pumpkin and sesame seeds on top.
- Bake at 350F for 20 – 22 minutes or until the top turns golden brown. Check at 18 minutes and rotate the pan for even baking. If the top of the bread is browning too much, cover the top with aluminum foil and return to the oven. You can add 1-2 minutes baking time until you get a nicely browned top, but do NOT over bake too much.
For a plain dinner rolls, check out my All-Around Bread Dough posts
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