No-Knead Make-Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter
- 7/8 cup water (scant 1 cup), warmed to about 125F for Platinum yeast, about 105 to 115F for most other yeast
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, or 1/4 cup butter (oil creates a softer loaf, butter creates a crustier crust; butter-based dough is firmer and slightly easier to work with, but I have no trouble with oil-based dough and prefer the bread)
- 1/4 cup honey
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I have also used 2 1/2 cups bread flour and 1 cup all-purpose; bread flour creates chewier, firmer bread; AP creates softer, squisher bread and it's not quite as high-rising)
- Honey Butter
- 1/4 cup (half of one stick) unsalted butter, very soft
- 2 to 3 tablespoons honey
For the Rolls - Pour water into a microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl and warm it to manufacturer's directions on yeast packet, about 45 seconds on high power. Take the temperature with a thermometer. If you don't have one, water should be warm to the touch, but not hot. Err on the side of too cool rather than too hot because you don't want to kill the yeast.
Pour water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top; wait 5 to 10 minutes, or until yeast is foamy. This means it's alive and will work. (This is proofing and technically with instant dry yeast you don't have to proof it, but for this recipe, I do)
Add the eggs, oil, 1/4 cup honey, optional salt, and whisk to combine, about 30 seconds.
Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the flour. Stir for about 1 minute more. This is as much 'kneading' as the recipe requires. Dough will be thick, lumpy, bumpy, and not smooth. This is okay. Make a ball with the dough in the center of the bowl. Cover bowl with plasticwrap and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Tip - Create a warm environment by preheating your oven for 1 to 2 minutes to 400F, then shutting it off. This creates a 90F-ish warm spot. Slide the bowl in and wait while the yeast works. Just make sure your oven is off.
At this point you have a choice... If you plan to bake now (through step 11) punch dough down, remove it from bowl, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Knead it only so much as necessary to shape it into balls for rolls (I divide the dough in half, and if I'm making rolls, I make 8 rolls from each half, for 16 rolls total, they're just a bit bigger than golf balls). Or form desired shapes such as mini loaves, challah, breadsticks, pretzels, etc. Use only what you need and save the rest for later in the refrigerator.
Place balls of dough in a cooking sprayed round baking dish or pie plate, or in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan; size depends on how many you're making. They can be close to each other, but if they're overly squished they'll bake into each other.
Cover baking dish with plasticwrap, and allow rolls to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for about 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. I use the preheated oven trick again.
In the final minutes of rising, preheat oven to 350F.
For the Honey Butter - Stir to combine the butter and honey. Generously brush or spread the mixture over the top of the dough before baking. Reserve remainder to serve with rolls after baking
Bake rolls for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until lightly golden and puffed. Baking time will vary greatly based on how many rolls you're baking, or if it's another shape such as a mini loaf, the size of the pan, and personal preference. Watch your bread, not the clock.
Serve as soon as bread is cool enough to handle. Rolls are best fresh, but will keep airtight for up to 4 days at room temperature or may be frozen for up to 4 months.
If you plan to bake later - Take dough that's risen for about 2 hours from step 5, keep it covered, and refrigerate it. Dough may be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days before baking.
When you plan to bake, pick up at step 5 and follow through step 11.