Whenever I ask my family what they want for a holiday dinner, my lite wheat dinner rolls are often near the top of the list.
I guess I have a reputation for making homemade bread. I’ve been making these lite wheat dinner rolls for my family, friends, and church events ever since I was in the 4-H breads project. Somewhere in midlife, I settled on an adaptation of a recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
Tips for making the best Lite Wheat Dinner Rolls
This recipe is based on what we call the rapid-rise method. You mix your yeast with two cups of flour and then have your liquid at a higher temperature. This speeds the rising time, but really not by much. And it’s a bit of an adjustment to remember to have your liquid hotter than you would for the regular method of making bread. However, be careful that you don’t get your milk too hot; otherwise, you’ll kill the yeast. Not good.
If you plan to make bread very often at all, it is worth the small investment to buy a good meat/bread thermometer. Here’s the model of the Taylor TruTemp Thermometer that I use (No, I’m not an affiliate of Amazon so I don’t get a kickback from my recommendation. But I do love the compact, easy to store, and easy to read features of this particular model. It’s a little pricier than other food thermometers, but I believe it’s well worth the price. Tell Santa if he gets it for you for Christmas, you’ll make him some cinnamon rolls instead of cookies!)
Butter gives a better flavor and a tender crumb. But vegetable oil works just as well in this recipe.
One final thought. If you need only a small number of rolls, divide the dough in half. Make 12 dinner rolls and then use the rest to make some cinnamon rolls. You can even cook the cinnamon rolls and then freeze them for Christmas morning. Isn’t that a sweet deal?
Here’s my recipe:
Lite Wheat Dinner Rolls
- About 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
Combine 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, yeast, salt, and sugar in large mixing bowl. Microwave the milk at power 5 for about 1 minute or until milk temperature is between 120-130 degrees. Stir milk before testing the temperature to get an accurate reading.
Pour milk over flour, beating as you add the milk. Beat well. If you are using a heavy-duty mixer, beat on the next to lowest speed for about 1 minute. Add the butter and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the one cup wheat flour; beat well. Stir in remaining flour until dough forms a ball. If you have a bread hook attachment to your mixer, change beaters at this point.
Using your dough hook, knead the dough for about 3 minutes on low then turn out on a floured board for the final kneading. If you do not have a dough hook, turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and has an elastic feel to it. The dough should be slightly sticky.
Shape into a ball. Place ball into a greased bowl; turn once to grease the surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double, about one hour.
Grease well a 9×13 inch cake pan. Punch dough down. Divide into 24 pieces. Shape dough into rolls by squishing flat between your hands and then drawing the edges toward the middle, making sure there are no creases. Pinch the edges together at the bottom of the roll. Place the roll face down in the pan to grease the top, then turn over, arranging the rolls in six rows of four each. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out on a wire rack. Lightly grease the tops with shortening or butter. Cover with a tea towel until ready to serve so they don’t dry out.