Easter Dinner Buns-Soft Rolls!

As a child, these were the type of buns I remember at holiday dinners; soft, chewy and amazing with fresh butter. This is a great multi-purpose recipe because you can use this dough for making little dinner rolls, hot dog buns and even hamburger buns. Essentially it’s a milk bread, with a little bit of egg yolk and sugar. Some people like to brush their buns with an egg wash, I opt for milk because I don’t care for the eggy taste, although I must say the glossy look is quite nice. Another bonus with this recipe is that it only takes one day, whereas many other bread recipes are multi-day, requiring pre-ferments. This recipe has a sponge with a short ferment time so not too much planning ahead is needed!

Note: This recipe is from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I changed a few things for my own taste but this book is amazing and I highly recommend it. I’ve made more than 10+ types of bread from their recipes and they always work out if you follow them closely. Buy it here.

Let’s get started:

This recipe is best broken down into sections:
1)Make the sponge
2) Make the dough
3) Knead the dough
4) Ferment the dough
5) Shape the buns
6) Proof the buns
7) Bake the buns

What you’ll need:


2.5 cups of all purpose or bread flour
2 tsp of instant yeast
1.25 cups of whole milk (lukewarm, around 95F)


1 2/3 cups of flour
1.5 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 olive oil (or melted butter)

Step 1:

Mix the ingredients for the sponge together until hydrated. Cover with cling film and ferment at room temp for 60 minutes.

Step 2, 3 and 4:

Add the flour, salt, oil, egg yolk and sugar to the sponge mixture. Mix roughly until it comes together. Knead dough on countertop for 10 minutes or in a stand mixer for around 6 minutes with a dough hook on medium speed. To know if your dough is kneaded properly, take a piece of dough and slowly stretch it in your fingers. It shouldn’t tear. You are looking for fully developed gluten in your dough which should be strong enough to be stretched until thin, hence the name “windowpane test”, you should be able to see through your dough. Your dough will be soft and tacky but not sticking to your fingers. Add more flour to achieve this texture. Oil a bowl and cover with cling film to ferment for 1.5 to 2 hours, until it roughly doubles in size.

Step 5 and 6:

To shape the buns, cut your dough into 18 pieces, approximately 2 ounces each. I suggest you watch my video above to see the technique for shaping but it is called “tight rounds” in the book. You cup your hand around the piece and without smashing it into the counter, you use the perimeter of your hands to firmly roll the ball in a circular motion until it is uniform. Put these tight rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil, cover with cling film to proof at room temperature for another 60-90 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400F.

Step 7:

Brush your buns with some milk (or egg wash if you prefer) before baking. Space them approximately an inch apart as they will expand and grow as they bake. Bake for 15 minutes. Put on a drying rack and enjoy with butter or whatever you are eating that night! They are great for sliders or leftover turkey sandwiches for the day after too!

I hope you give this recipe a try. Yes it takes time but it’s totally worth it when you taste them! Happy Easter this weekend to those of you that celebrate it and enjoy these delicious dinner rolls!

Bon appetit,

The Simmering Pot

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