One Proofing Small Batch Whole Wheat Parmesan and Chives Dinner Rolls for Two (Makes 4)

You will never look at a whole wheat rolls the same way again once you try this Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls. They are soft and fluffy rolls you definitely will fall in love with this rolls

Whole wheat bread/tools have a bad reputation of being dry. Not a lot of people like whole wheat bread. I used to be one of them. Maybe because I never had a good luck buying whole wheat bread or rolls. I often find them dry, bland and not quite interesting. Although whole wheat is a better option compared to regular white bread, still not a lot of people are fond of eating it.

What is While Wheat Bread?

Whole wheat bread or wholemeal bread is a type of bread made using flour that is partly or entirely milled from whole or almost-whole wheat grains, see whole-wheat flour and whole grain. It is one kind of brown bread. (wikipedia)

This rolls uses 100% whole wheat flour. Some suggest that if you are not used to eating whole wheat products, try doing a 50/50 whole wheat and white flour combination and decrease the white flour percentage slowly until you get used to the bread texture. Luckily, I did not have to do that with this recipe. This uses 100% whole wheat flour, the texture is as good as using white flour. In fact, I think I will start making more whole wheat bread for my day to day consumption.

Difference in Using White Plain Flour to Whole Wheat Flour

  • Texture – Whole wheat bread tends to have a coarser texture as compared to white bread, at least that was the general idea. But with this recipe, it is as good as white dinner rolls. Soft, fluffy and never dry.
  • Amount of Liquid – Since whole wheat flour contains both the “germ” and the “xx”, the texture of the flour itself tends be coarse and drier. This means when using while wheat flour, a bit more liquid is needed and when using regular plain flour. This is where you have to pay attention to the texture of the dough. Adding liquid small amount until you get to the soft, smooth and elastic consistency. It takes practice and experience to get to that stage, but once you get the hang of it, you can immediately know if you need to add more liquid or not. Use the suggested measurement in the recipe as a starting point and adjust as needed. I have explained below why sometimes you end up with a dry dough and sometime a wet dough. Please scroll down below to read it.

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.

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. 

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.

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)

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.
  7. Be Patient, Knead no less than 15 minutes – Flour takes times to absorb the liquid so you have to be patient and knead the dough no less than 15 minutes. In my kitchenAid stand mixer, it normally takes between 15 – 20 minutes to get the dough to the perfect texture. If you shorten the time, the dough could still be wet and sticky. After 20 minutes, if the dough is still sticky, this is the time to add a little bit more flour. Do not add additional flour or liquid too soon. You could end up with a tough dough or a too sticky dough. Patience my friend, it is worth it.

These are the 7 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.  

Small Batch Wholemeal Brerad

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.

Wholemeal Bread

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. 

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.


  • 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 tablespoon Whole Wheat Flour (plus more as needed)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (I used fine salt)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted Butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Chives – finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese (Divided: 2 tbsp for dough and 1 tbsp for topping)


  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.
  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, all-purpose flour, parmesan cheese and chopped chive. Mix on low-speed until combined, then switch to a hook attachment. Allow mixture to knead on medium-low speed about 15 minutes until smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky after 15 minutes, 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. You want to knead at least 3 minutes before you start adding more flour. This is to give the mixture to absorb the additional flour or liquid (if needed). 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.
  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.
    • 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.
  5. 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 or 6 portions and shape each piece into a ball.
  6. 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.
  7. 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). 
  8. 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.
  9. Bake at 350F for 18 – 20 minutes until top turns brown.

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

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

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