Soft Spelt Dinner Rolls

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This is my favorite dinner roll recipe. The original recipe was modified from a white flour recipe in the King Arthur flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. I first modified it for whole wheat, later made a spelt flour version when my girlfriend had to avoid wheat for a while. The spelt version tasted so good that we generally prefer it.

You can also make a successful variation on these rolls using sourdough, but the process differs enough that I will have to enter that one as a separate recipe.

Preparation Time:
30 minutes prep, 4 hours rise, 30 minutes cook.
Tools
  • Stand mixer (optional)
  • 8x8 inch square cake pan

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (chlorine free)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon or packet of Active dry yeast
  • 1 cup white bread flour (use a cup of spelt flour if avoiding all wheat)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or butter (butter gives a richer flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup dry milk (optional, to give it a richer flavor)
Cooking Instructions
  1. Add the warm water to your mixing bowl and stir in the sugar until most of it is dissolved. Gently stir in the yeast. Wait 5 minutes for the yeast to become active. You should see some yeast and bubble floating to the top.
  2. Mix in the cup of bread flour (or first cup of spelt). Add the egg and oil (or softened butter) at this point and mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in the salt and optional dry milk.
  4. Slowly mix in the rest of the spelt flour. When it forms a ball that just barely sticks to the bowl, then it is time to start kneading.
  5. Either turn it out onto a floured board or switch to a dough hook in your mixer, and knead for 6 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes while you oil the rising bowl, then knead for 6 more minutes.
  6. Put the dough ball in the rising bowl and roll it around so that it is coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled.
  7. Punch down the dough and gently knead out any large bubbles. Cover and let rise for about half as long as the first time.
  8. Oil your cake pan. Pull off pieces of dough a little bigger than a golf ball and roll them in your hand to form round top. Place them side by side in your pan. I tend to make 4 rows of 4 rolls in an 8x8 pan and 5 rows of 5 slightly smaller rolls in a 9x9 pan. Cover and let rise for an hour.
  9. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Bake for 26 to 30 minutes
Source:
King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook
Notes
You can use this recipe for all sorts of variations. Sometimes I make the rolls about the size of ping-pong balls and set them so they are barely touching on a cookie sheet so they have a harder crust (cook for 18 minutes). I have also made them with 3 smaller balls in each cup of a muffin tin (cook for 20 minutes).

The white bread flour adds a good bit of gluten that helps the rolls to puff higher when they rise. It is a nice extra, but it certainly is not necessary. I've made them plenty of times with only spelt flour and they come out light, just not as light as with the bread flour.

The same thing goes for the butter and dry milk. The rolls are excellent without, but the dairy adds a little extra richness. In fact, I suggest that everyone try it both ways and decide for themselves.