Look no further for soft, fluffy whole wheat rolls! This recipe for homemade rolls is made with 100% whole wheat flour and honey for the most delicious, tender roll. This recipe also happens to be dairy and egg free as well!
What is better than a warm, soft dinner roll?
How about one that is 100% whole wheat and dairy and egg free?
I took my favorite recipe for Whole Wheat Bread and turned into a recipe for the best dinner rolls. Made with 100% whole wheat flour, these homemade dinner rolls are hearty and full of flavor, yet still light and fluffy! They also are quite simple to make.
- Whole White Wheat Flour: I find that using whole white wheat flour is best for the softest whole wheat rolls. Whole white wheat flour is still unrefined and packed full of nutrients, it is simply wheat ground from white wheat not red wheat, that traditional whole wheat is made from. Whole white wheat flour is lighter and will help produce less dense rolls. I use flour ground from red wheat in my whole wheat bread recipe, but for rolls, white wheat is best.
- Olive Oil: Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil for a roll that is moist and tender and full of flavor.
- Honey: Honey gives these rolls a sweetness and the honey pairs perfectly with the flavor of the whole wheat.
- Vital Wheat Gluten: This may sound like an odd ball, but trust me it makes a WORLD of difference when making whole wheat breads and rolls. Wheat flour does not have the same amount of gluten that white flour has, and without the addition of vital wheat gluten, whole wheat rolls can become very dense and heavy. This ingredient makes all the difference!
- Salt: Salt will work to flavor these rolls. I also like to finish the baked rolls with additional coarse salt for a punch of flavor, but that is totally optional.
- Yeast: Be sure to use instant dry yeast and check to see that it is not expired.
- Butter: I know what you are thinking–How can you have dairy free rolls with butter? And the butter is NOT necessary, but if you are not dairy free, I highly recommend brushing the baked rolls with melted butter. And if you are dairy-free, a vegan butter brushed over the tolls is a great idea.
How to Make Whole Wheat Rolls
This recipe for rolls is incredibly simple and can even be made without a stand mixer or bread machine.
It is important to note that while these rolls do take some time to make, most of the time is hands-off! The rolls will need time to rise, and that is a process you don’t want to rush if you want to end up with soft rolls!
Step One: Bloom the Yeast
The first and most important step to making yeast rolls is to bloom the yeast. That simply means to activate the yeast in warm water. You want to add the yeast to water that is between 100-110 degrees. Any colder the yeast will not activate and any warmer and the yeast will be killed off. Let that mixture sit until it is foamy. If for some reason your mixture does not foam, start the process over again. It may be that your yeast was expired or you used water that was too hot or too cold.
Step Two: Prepare Dough
Once the yeast has bloomed, add in the honey and oil and mix well. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, and vital wheat gluten.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon or dough hook on a stand mixer, until the dough comes together and easily pulls away from the edges of the mixing bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 tablespoon more flour as needed.
Do NOT overwork your dough, you want it to just come together and be soft, but not sticky.
Pro-Tip: Scoop your flour out into the measuring cup with a spoon instead of scooping the flour out directly with the measuring cup. This will keep the flour less packed down, and will use slightly less flour than the scooping method.
Step Three: Let Rise
Once your dough comes together, form into a ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise until double. This can take anywhere from an hour to ninety minutes, depending on the temperature and humidity of your house.
Step Four: Shape Rolls
A trick to evenly shaping your rolls is to form dough into a rectangle and then cut into 12 equal squares. Roll each square into a ball at this point.
I like to place the rolls into a buttered 7×11 pan and let the rolls rise until they are touching. I feel that by placing them into a small space, they push themselves upwards as they rise. However, for individual rolls, just place the rolls on a sheet pan or 9×13 pan an inch apart–this is what I did in the video.
At this point, cover the rolls again and let rise until doubled again in size. Again, this will take anywhere from one hour to ninety minutes depending on the temperature and humidity of your house.
Step Five: Bake Rolls
Once the rolls have risen again, bake in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Bake until golden and internal temperature of the rolls reads around 190 degrees on a digital thermometer. This will take between 18-20 minutes. If you notice your rolls are browning too quickly, you can cover them loosely with foil to finish cooking through.
Remove the rolls from the oven and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt if desired. Let rolls cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve.
Using a Bread Machine to make Rolls
If you happen to have a bread maker, I would highly suggest making the dough for these homemade rolls right in your bread maker. Simply add the warm water, followed by the oil, honey, flour, salt, and wheat gluten to the bread pan fitted in the bread machine. Make a well in the ingredients and add in the yeast. Set to the dough setting. Once the cycle is complete, shape the dough into a rectangle and cut into 12 rolls. Allow the rolls to rise for a 2nd time and then bake according to the recipe.
Can you Freeze?
Yes! I love to prepare a large batch of the these rolls and freeze to pull out for dinner as desired. Freeze after you shape into rolls. Once shaped, freeze on sheet pan until frozen solid (this will keep the rolls from sticking together in the freezer.) Then place your frozen rolls into a freezer safe bag and freeze up to 3 months. When ready to eat, remove the rolls from the freezer. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to thaw and rise until double in size before baking–this will take several hours.
Storing Homemade Rolls
Because these rolls are made with 100% whole wheat and no preservatives, they will only keep at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can store up to 5 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator or can freeze the rolls after they have been baked for up to one month.
More Homemade Breads and Doughs
- Homemade Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- Homemade Italian Bread
- Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- Honey Whole Wheat Bread
- Homemade Garlic Toast
- Cranberry Walnut Bread
Whole Wheat Rolls
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- Course salt
- Mix together water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes, or until the mixture gets creamy and a bit bubbly.
- Once the yeast mixture has become foamy, add in oil and honey to the water mixture.
- In a separate large bowl, mix together salt, gluten and flour.
- Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the water mixture. Stir together with a wooden spoon or paddle mixer on stand mixer until dough just comes together. At this point, change the paddle mixer for the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is soft and pulls away easily from the mixing bowl. Alternatively, knead by hand until the dough is soft but not sticky.
- If the dough is sticky, add in 1 tablespoon more flour at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Brush 7x11 pan or 9x13 baking dish with olive oil.
- Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Shape dough into rectangle and cut into 12 equal squares (3 across, 4 width-wise) Shape into balls and place into the pan, evenly spacing them apart.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled again, about 60-90 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake rolls for 18-20 minutes or until browned and an internal temperature of rolls reads 190 degrees.
- Remove rolls from oven and place pan on wire cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes and then brush with melted butter and sprinkle with course salt if desired.
- When measuring flour, scoop your flour out into the measuring cup with a spoon instead of scooping the flour out directly with the measuring cup.
- Use a vegan butter, such as Earth Balance, to brush over cooked rolls to keep these rolls dairy free.
- These rolls will keep for 2 days at room temperature, up to 5 days in the fridge and up to 1 month in the freezer.
- Nutritional information is without the addition of melted butter.
- Bread Machine Directions: Add the warm water, followed by the oil, honey, flour, salt, and wheat gluten to the bread pan fitted in the bread machine. Make a well in the ingredients and add in the yeast. Set to the dough setting. Once the cycle is complete, shape the dough into a rectangle and cut into 12 rolls. Allow the rolls to rise for a 2nd time and then bake according to recipe.
- Freezing Rolls: Prepare up to shaping into rolls. Once shaped, freeze on sheet pan until frozen solid. Then place your frozen rolls into a freezer safe bag and freeze up to 3 months. When ready to eat, remove the rolls from the freezer. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to thaw and rise until double in size before baking--this will take several hours.