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Soft Sourdough Dinner Rolls

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These soft sourdough dinner rolls are perfect addition to your meal. Tender, flavorful and so very good, you will never make a different roll again!

Easy Soft Sourdough Rolls: A simple recipe for soft and fluffy sourdough rolls made with Tangzhong, a pre-cooked flour mixture that ensures a moist and delicious result.
soft sourdough dinner rolls in white pan
soft sourdough dinner rolls in white pan

Soft dinner rolls are one of my favorite breads ever. A perfect addition to meals, great for little sandwiches, perfect for butter and jam. Is there ever a time when a dinner roll isn’t just… great?

With the addition of sourdough starter, these rolls have a beautiful soft texture but the slight sourdough tang adds a depth of flavor that just shines. You definitely want to make these!

This recipe uses a Tangzhong method to make the rolls be extra soft and moist. This is a Japanese method of pre-cooking a flour mixture.

dinner roll cut open on white plate, with butter knife spreading butter inside. Platter with more rolls and butter plate off to the side

Ingredients needed:

To make these dinner rolls, you only need a few ingredients.

For specific measurements, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below.

  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is a great choice for this recipe because it gives the rolls a good structure and texture. You can also use bread flour if that’s what you prefer. I have found that bread flour tends to give my rolls a chewier texture.
  • Whole wheat flour: This is what I always use to prepare my levain/starter. You can use all-purpose flour as well.
  • Tangzhong: Tangzhong is a Japanese pre-cooked flour mixture that makes bread softer and more moist, and it also helps to improve the shelf life of the bread.
  • Milk: The milk in the Tangzhong helps make your homemade sourdough rolls soft and moist. It also gives the rolls a slightly sweet flavor. Feel free to use any type of milk you like, such as whole milk, low-fat milk, or skim milk. You can also use plant-based milk, like coconut milk, almond milk, pea milk, or even oat milk.
  • Water: The water in the recipe helps with hydrating the dough and developing the gluten. It also helps to create a soft and fluffy texture for the rolls. You can substitute any type of water that you like, such as tap water, filtered water, or bottled water.
  • Salt: Salt enhances the flavor of the rolls and helps to develop the gluten. You can use any type of salt that you like, such as sea salt (affiliate link), kosher salt, or table salt. For this recipe, I used kosher salt.
  • Unsalted butter: The butter in the recipe helps to enrich the flavor and texture of the rolls and also helps to make the rolls softer and tender. You can use plant-based butter if you like.
  • Granulated sugar: The sugar in the recipe helps feed the yeast, promote fermentation, and give the rolls a slightly sweet flavor. You can substitute any type of sugar that you like, such as brown sugar, agave, honey, or maple syrup. But do not skip the sugar.
  • Ripe sourdough starter: Sourdough starter is a fermented mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeast and bacteria. It helps the dough rise and gives sourdough bread its unique flavor and texture. You can make your own sourdough starter or purchase one from a bakery or online.
clear glass bowls with ingredients to make rolls - flour, sugar, salt, water, butter, milk and sourdough starter

How to make these soft sourdough rolls

This recipe is simple to make! For the full set of directions, please scroll down to the recipe card below. This is just a general overview on how to make it to help you plan.

Prep Sourdough Starter

  1. Feed your sourdough starter and allow it to sit in a warm place for 8-12 hours, until doubled in size. I usually use whole wheat flour to feed my starter, but you can also use all purpose here. Whatever kind of starter you have, no matter what kind of flour you feed it, will work in this recipe.

Make Tangzhong

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together 90g all-purpose flour and 90g whole milk.
  2. Heat them over medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens to a paste-like consistency.
  3. Set your Tangzhong aside to cool.
tangzhong mixed in pan

Mix Dough

  1. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, active starter, granulated sugar, Tangzhong, melted butter, and salt.
  2. Mix the ingredients until the dough becomes smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl
mixing dough

Bulk Proof

  1. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the dough do its first rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or until it has doubled in size. To check if it’s ready, use the “finger poke test” – the dough should spring back slowly when you poke it.
bulk proof

Shape into rolls

  1. Divide the ball of dough into 12 equal pieces on a lightly floured surface.
  2. Shape each piece into a round, tight ball.
  3. Place each dough ball in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
  4. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the shaped rolls do a second rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or until they double in size.
dividing dough and shaping into rolls

Bake the rolls

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes or until they turn golden brown. You can also check the internal temperature of the rolls using an instant-read thermometer; it should read about 190°F.
  2. Allow your soft sourdough dinner rolls to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
images showing rolls before and after baking

Baker’s Schedule

The best way to time these dinner rolls is to know what time you need them to be done and work backwards to see when you need to start them. Here is some rough estimates for how long this recipe will take you.

The following times are estimates based on the temperature of my house, which is 70 F and the activity level of my sourdough starter. Your times could vary based on your house and the strength of your starter.

  • Feeding starter – 8 to 12 hours for it to become active
  • Making Tangzhong – 10 minutes
  • Mixing dough – 10 minutes
  • Bulk Proof – 3 to 4 hours
  • Shaping – 10 minutes
  • Final Proofing – 3 to 4 hours
  • Baking – 20-25 minutes

The estimated total time this recipe will take you is about 9 hours, plus the time for your starter to become active.

*Recipe Timing Note: The timing of this recipe is dependent upon the temperature and humidity level of your house. If your house is warmer and humid, the yeast will work a lot faster. If your house is colder, this recipe could take longer. Please watch the dough and not the clock to know when your dough is ready.

side view of soft dinner roll with sourdough starter

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a dough hook to knead the sourdough dinner rolls dough?

Yes, you can use a dough hook on a stand mixer to knead the sourdough dinner roll dough. The dough hook is designed to efficiently knead the dough without overworking it.

What can I do to get the best results when baking sourdough dinner rolls?

I recommend proofing the dough slowly and giving the dough time to rise adequately. You can also brush the top of the rolls with egg wash for a golden brown crust. I also recommend monitoring the temperature of your dough and kitchen as you prepare and bake it.

Can I use sourdough discard in this recipe?

Yes, sourdough discard can be used in this recipe along with about 1/2 a teaspoon of commercial yeast.

How long should I allow sourdough dinner rolls to rise?

Bulk fermentation may take 4-6 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. The shaped rolls will take about 2-3 hours to rise before baking. This also will depend on the temperature of your kitchen.

Can I bake sourdough dinner rolls ahead of time?

Yes, you can totally bake your pull-apart sourdough dinner rolls ahead of time. Fully baked rolls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Why are my sourdough rolls dense?

If your sourdough rolls are probably dense because you didn’t knead the dough enough or because your dough didn’t ferment long enough. Another cause of dense rolls is a sourdough starter that isn’t active.

Why are my sourdough rolls flat?

If your sourdough rolls are flat, it could be because they didn’t proof long enough or because they over-proofed. Other causes of flat rolls are using an oven temperature that isn’t high enough and not shaping the rolls tightly.

white pan with soft dinner rolls at an angle

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soft sourdough dinner rolls in white pan

Soft Sourdough Dinner Rolls Recipe

Easy Soft Sourdough Rolls: A simple recipe for soft and fluffy sourdough rolls made with Tangzhong, a pre-cooked flour mixture that ensures a moist and delicious result.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 8 hours 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours
Servings: 12 rolls
Calories: 278kcal
Author: Jenni

Ingredients

For the active starter:

  • 100 g active sourdough starter 100% hydration

For the Tangzhong (Pre-Cooked Flour Mixture):

  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • 90 g whole milk

For the Dough:

  • 540 g all-purpose flour
  • 99 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 250 g water
  • 12 g kosher salt

Instructions

  • Prepare the sourdough starter and let it sit in a warm place for 8-12 hours until it doubles in size.
  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together 90g all-purpose flour and 90g whole milk. Heat them over medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens to a paste-like consistency. Set your Tangzhong aside to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, active starter, granulated sugar, Tangzhong, melted butter, and salt.
  • Mix the ingredients until the dough becomes smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and let the dough do its first rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or until it has doubled in size. To check if it’s ready, use the “finger poke test” – the dough should spring back slowly when you poke it.
  • Divide the ball of dough into 12 equal pieces on a lightly floured surface.
  • Shape each piece into a round, tight ball and place each dough ball in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
  • Cover the dish with plastic wrap.
  • Let the shaped rolls do a second rise at room temperature for 3-4 hours, or until they double in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes or until they turn golden brown. You can also check the internal temperature of the rolls using an instant-read thermometer; it should read about 190°F (87°C).
  • Allow your soft sourdough dinner rolls to cool in the pan for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Rolls can be stored loosely covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 278kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 394mg | Potassium: 70mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 218IU | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg

3 Comments

  1. Love sourdough rolls, bread, whatever is sourdough! The photos look like the rolls were made with whole wheat flour, but the recipe calls for all-purpose. Could I use some whole wheat to replace the all-purpose?

    1. I use whole wheat to feed my starter with. I find that these rolls do best when you use all purpose. If you use all whole wheat flour the rolls tend to be very dense and heavy. But by using a combination of whole wheat in the starter and all purpose in the rolls, you get a great balance of texture and taste!

  2. Sorry, I missed your comment about using whole wheat in the starter!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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