Butter, gravy and leftover turkey sandwiches.
What do all of these have in common?
Besides being on the menu in two weeks.
They all require fluffy dinner rolls in order to really enjoy them for all their worth.
Please tell me I’m not the only one dreaming about it… the fresh, hot from the oven, pull-apart rolls that melt like butter in your mouth – even when there isn’t any butter on them? We wait 364 days for the biggest feast of the year just for these things. Turkey schmurkey ya’ll. This carb-lover wants the rolls!!
And pie too, but that’s for a different post.
I have been baking up a storm lately in order to bring you a light and fluffy dinner roll that’s better than the typical Hawaiian dinner rolls that many families call tradition for their feast. For the die-hard Thanksgiving dinner traditionalists, that’s a awfully high bar to meet.
There’s the sweetness. The butteryness. The softness. The fact that they don’t crumble in your hands.
It’s tough I tell you.
Psst! I did it. 😉
Check these out.
Don’t they look AMAZING?! I may or may not have eaten that roll right there, as soon as I set the camera down.
Oh shoot. Who am I kidding? I didn’t wait to put it down. I ate the whole thing in three monstrously delicious bites. And then promptly ate another! Bwahaha!
Can’t you see that light and fluffy goodness? How they’re just BEGGING to be pulled from the pan, slathered with butter and gobbled up with some gravy?
Get it? Gobbled? Thanksgiving dinner rolls?! HA!
Ok, enough with the jokes and drooling. Let’s talk about the amazingness of these light and fluffy dinner rolls.
First, they’re made with Einkorn. You remember Einkorn, right? In short, it’s an ancient form of wheat that contains all the helpful enzymes to help digest the gluten it naturally contains, making it tolerable for many people who are sensitive or intolerant to modern wheat (i.e. hard red spring, soft white winter, spelt and even kamut).
Second, this recipe uses two secret ingredients.
- pineapple juice
- cottage cheese
Pineapple juice replaces water in this recipe to give a natural form of sweetness. When combined with the honey, you’ve literally got a sweet roll on your hands… and soon to be in your belly.
The cottage cheese is the secret card you keep in your back pocket during a poker game. Except this isn’t cheating.
The cheese totally melts into the dough during the rising and baking, so you’re not going to end up with little pieces of cheese inside. In fact, you won’t even taste the cheese!
When I made these for Mr. Crumbs, I asked him what he thought. Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: So.. whatcha think? Are they good?
Mr. Crumbs: Yeah, they’re pretty good.
Me: Want to know what’s in them?
Mr. Crumbs: [with a scrunched up face] What.
Me: Cottage cheese!
Mr. Crumbs: Cottage cheese? Seriously?
It’s not just me who thinks they’re good either, because Mr. Crumbs then ate FOUR more rolls for dinner… which pretty much sealed the deal that these were a winner.
I don’t blame him. These little balls of deliciousness are VERY hard to resist. You might want to make a double batch.
In fact, make that a triple batch. Trust me on this one.
- In a small saucepan, combine pineapple juice and cottage cheese. Heat on medium low just until 110F. This will take about 2-4 minutes. Meanwhile, combine yeast, 1 cup of flour, vital wheat gluten (if using), baking soda, salt and honey in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- When the juice and cheese is at least 105F but no warmer than 115F, add to the flour and stir well with a spoon to incorporate into a thick paste.
- Add 1½ cups flour, egg and butter. Knead by hand, or turn the speed of the mixer on low. Allow dough to come together for, kneading for about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes by mixer. Add additional flour if needed, 2 Tbsp at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic. You want the dough to mostly pull away from the sides of the bowl, but it will not entirely. It is better for the dough to be slightly wet than over-floured.
- Set bowl in a warm place and allow to rise, about 1 hour. Dough is ready when you can stick two fingers into the dough up to the second knuckle and the holes remain.
- Generously butter and flour a 9x12 baking dish.
- Turn dough into a lightly floured surface and punch down to remove air bubbles. Divide the dough into 2 parts. Divide each part into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball (see shaping tip) and place in the baking dish. Cover and let rise again, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Bake rolls for 12-15 minutes, or until medium golden brown.
- Rolls are best warm out of the oven, but still very delicious leftover too.
Optional Vital Wheat Gluten. Adding it offers a bit extra fluff, but the rolls still come out great without it. If you choose to omit the VWG, add an extra 15 minutes to each rise time and knead/shape into rolls before baking.
Additional Recipe Tips
If you want pull-apart rolls, bake the rolls in a 9×12 glass dish as directed above. If you want them to be a bit more stand-alone, better for a sandwich or in a bread basket, bake them on a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart from each other. Both ways are just as delicious, and still light and fluffy inside!
After another round of testing, it’s safe to say the vital wheat gluten is optional. I’ve added additional notes in the recipe, but the changes are minimal. Good news for those sensitive to gluten!
You can substitute water for pineapple juice if you’re in a pinch. Another option is to buy a can of crushed pineapple, throw the whole thing in a blender and measure 1/4 of pulp/juice together. That’s what I did. 😉
Einkorn makes for a wet and sticky dough. You’ll likely need to use extra flour when handling the dough and shaping into rolls.
If you don’t have Einkorn wheat, you can make this with any combination of wheat flour you have on hand. I’ve made this with regular all-purpose, whole wheat, whole wheat/spelt combo and Einkorn and they’re all seriously delicious. Honestly, you can’t go wrong!
If you want to read more about Einkorn and where you can buy it, see my post HERE.
Even though many of you might not have Einkorn wheat on hand, I’m including that in the recipe cost since it’s what I used to make the ones pictured above.
- Pineapple Juice: $0.25
- Cottage Cheese: $0.75
- Yeast: $0.10
- Einkorn: $2.98
- Vital Wheat Gluten: $0.39
- Baking Soda: $0.01
- Salt: $0.05
- Honey: $0.22
- Egg: $0.17
- Butter: $0.09
Total Cost for light and fluffy Einkorn dinner rolls: $5.01
I know, not the most affordable rolls on the market. HOWEVER, I will tell you that a package of 12 Hawaiian dinner rolls costs $4.89 at my local store… so while this recipe – as written – isn’t your typical super-frugal recipe, it’s MUCH healthier than store-bought (I dare you to read the list of ingredients) and safe for many people who can’t tolerate traditional wheat. And that right there is priceless.
By the way, if you substitute whole wheat or even all-purpose for the Einkorn, your total cost for the recipe is $3.93. HA! Take that store-bought Hawaiian rolls!
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What type of dinner rolls do you usually serve at Thanksgiving? Do you have a favorite brand, or favorite recipe?
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