Orange Rolls and Dinner Rolls Made Easy

I owe my roll baking skills to one person -- Chanin Warren. I made bricks until she showed me her secrets back in 1999 when I first moved to Temecula. She came over to my house and walked me through the entire process. This is the recipe I use. I adapted it from a recipe I found in a church cookbook. Works like a charm for me.  In case that you are not a baker, I'm giving step by step instructions, just like Chanin did for me.  Good luck!!!

Big note before you begin:   I use this dough for regular dinner rolls as well as sweet rolls.

Tools that help with making rolls:

Kitchen aid with a dough hook attachment.
A large work surface for rolling out dough.
Pam cooking spray.
Lots of flour
A microplane (if you are making orange rolls.)
A large (12 x 17) commercial jelly roll pan (I bought one at Walmart.)
Parchment paper (I buy it at Walmart in the plastic wrap section.)

1 tablespoon yeast (I buy the big bag of yeast at Costco, and keep it in a zip lock bag in the freezer, it’s the best yeast and it keeps for a long time.)
1/4 cup really warm water (Not hot or it will kill the yeast.)
½ teaspoon sugar (for the yeast)
1 cube butter
1 ¾ cup whole milk
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
6 to 7 cups flour
1 cube butter (for orange rolls)
½ cup sugar (for orange rolls)
Zest of two oranges (for orange rolls)  Use a microplane for this.  You want the zest grated very fine.  Do not grate into the white part.


In a small bowl, dissolve:  the yeast, ¼ cup hot tap water, ½ teaspoon sugar.  Let this mixture sit until you see bubbles forming.  If it does not bubble, the yeast is bad, or the water was too hot.  ( If you buy the Costo yeast, then you will be fine – it’s the water that’s the problem.)

While the yeast is doing its thing, place 1 cube of butter in a medium size glass bowl.  Place it in the microwave for about 45 seconds to melt the butter.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and add the milk, salt, and sugar.   Place the bowl back in the microwave.  Cook for 30 seconds.  Test and see if the entire mixture is warm.  If not, microwave for 15 more seconds.  You don’t want it scalding hot – just warm. 

Slowly whisk the beaten eggs into the warm milk.

Place butter/egg mixture in a Kitchen Aid with the dough hook attachment, and mix on speed 2 for about 15 seconds.  Add the yeast mixture and mix 15 seconds.

Slowly add 6 cups flour, one cup at a time until the dough comes together and forms a big glob.  Let the dough mix on a low speed (about speed 4) for about 2 minutes.   The dough will be pretty sticky.  

Grease a giant mixing bowl and dump the dough into the bowl.  Cover it with plastic wrap and set it somewhere warm so that it will rise.  The best place is to set it on the dryer and turn the dryer on.
The dough should double in size.  It takes about an hour – sometimes more if it’s cold outside.

I think rolling out the dough is the hardest part of baking rolls.  Prepare your work suface by cleaning it off with vinegar and water.  Make sure it is completly dry or you will end up with a big mess.  If you have solid counter tops, like granite or laminite, that works great.  Spray the area with Pam and generously sprinkle it with flour.

Do the same thing to your rolling pin.

Butter your hands.

Dump the dough out onto the floured work space, knead it together with your hands.  If it’s too sticky sprinkle some of the remaining flour over the surface of the dough and kneed it into the dough.

With the dough scraper, cut the big ball of dough in half and set one half aside.

Gently roll the dough out to form a circle.  Don't roll back and forth, roll out and away from you in long strokes, lift the rolling pin up when you get to the edge of the dough.  Repeat and rotate the dough if you can, to form a large circle. It’s a little hard because the dough wants to spring back into place, but if you spray the work surface with Pam, and flour it really well, it helps.   

Roll until you get a big circle like and looks like pizza dough before it's baked.   

If you want to make regular dinner rolls, gently spread 1/2 cube softened butter over the surface of the dough. 

If you want to make orange rolls, mix the softened butter with ½ cup sugar, and the orange zest in a small bowl.  Spread half of this mixture over the surface of the dough.
Using the dough scraper, cut the dough into 12 or 16 wedges.  It will look like a pie.  When using the dough scraper to cut, don't drag it along the dough.  Use it like a cookie cutter pressing down, and lifting up to cut.  I cut 16 wedges.  Cut 12 if you want large rolls.

Loosly roll each wedge from the fat end to the skinny end to form a crescent.

Line the jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

Place each crescent close together in the jelly roll pan.  There should be less than 1/2 inch space in-between each roll.  (I can get an entire batch of rolls on 1 baking sheet.)

Repeat the above rolling out process with the remaining dough. 

Cover your baking sheet with a clean dish towel, or waxed paper and let the rolls rise until double in size.  It takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.   Bake the rolls for 15 minutes, or until light golden.  Be careful because the rolls in the center of the pan might not cook as fast as the rolls on the outside parameter.  If the rolls on the outside perimeter of the pan start looking dark, remove them from the pan, and continue cooking the remaining rolls until they are golden.

These freeze well if you have left-overs, but I can't imagine that you will.

(For fast clean up, use the dough scraper to clean the counter top off when you are finished rolling out dough.)

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