Sourdough Discard: Soft White Rolls

This recipe uses a full cup of sourdough discard

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for another delicious dinner roll recipe. And I am always looking for creative ways to use up my extra sourdough discard (check out a few of my other favorite discard recipes, here, here and here). It’s one of the “hazards” of baking with sourdough I guess…always being on the lookout for somewhere to use that extra! I think especially right now in our current climate, it is important to find uses for as much as we can and waste as little as possible. These soft white sourdough discard rolls started out as a recipe to reduce waste and now…they are a reason I want to keep my starter fed. Just so I can have discard to make these rolls!

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Tender with a slight Sourdough Tang

Super soft, tender, light and a slight tang for the sourdough discard, these rolls are sure to be a hit in your family as well. My kids were all begging for seconds when I pulled these out of the oven and popped them on our dinner table a few weeks ago. And I couldn’t blame them. I may have sneaked another one as I was putting the leftovers in a ziplock bag and sticking them in the freezer. I love freezing my bread because it keeps it fresh and I don’t have to see it staring me in the face, begging me to just have one more pinch!

Smooth, Light and Slathered with Melted Butter

The dough for these rolls is very smooth and light. It may take a little longer to rise because it is often made with cold sourdough discard directly from the fridge, but don’t let that stop you from trying out this recipe. Once they are baked, these rolls are slathered with melted butter. I like to take my cold stick of butter and gently run it over the top of the hot rolls. This saves me from having to wash my pastry brush and an extra bowl (can you tell I’m all about saving on the dishes around here?!).

However you choose to eat these rolls: with your dinner, for breakfast with some jam and butter spread on top or as a mini turkey sandwich for lunch, you will love them. I hope you give them a try!

Sourdough Discard Soft White Rolls

Tender, light, fluffy and filled with sourdough discard, these soft white rolls are perfect for dinnertime!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Rise Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 16 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 2/3 cup milk lightly warmed
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup sourdough discard about 8 oz
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour about 12.5 oz

Instructions
 

  • To a stand mixer (or a bowl if you are kneading by hand), mix together the yeast, sugar and warm milk. Let it sit for a minute and use your nose to see if the yeast is working (It will smell very "yeasty" once the sugar and warm milk are mixed in. Technically using instant yeast you can omit this "proofing" step and throw the yeast in the with the flour, but I like to double check that my yeast is working so I do it anyway).
  • Add the room temperature melted butter. Make sure it is not too hot so it doesn’t kill the yeast. 
  • Add the sourdough discard, salt and cornstarch. Begin mixing with your dough hook as you add in the flour a cup at a time. Reserve the half cup of flour to mix in toward the end as you look for readiness of the dough. If the dough is pulling away from the sides, you may not need to add more flour. If the dough is still very sticky, add a little more flour until it is tacky, pulls away from the sides and rolls up into a ball in your fingers (a little stickiness is okay!). This post may help you to check for readiness of dough.
  • Knead the dough for about 5 minutes in the stand mixer or 7-10 minutes by hand. I like to set a timer and let the dough hook or mixer do the work for 5 minutes or so.
  • Add a drop of oil to a bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the bowl. Roll the ball around until it is completely covered in the oil. (The oil keeps the dough moist as it rises and makes it easier to handle once risen). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size. If your sourdough discard is cold, it may take longer for the dough to rise. You may want to turn your oven light on and let the dough rise covered in the oven (just make sure not to turn the actual oven on during this process).
  • Cover the bottom of two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Alternatively, prepare a half sheet pan (affiliate link for my favorite pans) with parchment paper.
  •  After the first rise, turn the dough out onto the counter and punch it down. Using a bench scraper or a knife, separate the dough into 16 equally-sized pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a ball and place eight dough balls into each pan, for a total of 16 rolls. If you are baking on a half sheet pan, place all the rolls on the same pan. Cover and let rise again in a warm place for about an hour until just about doubled in size.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 22-25 minutes until lightly browned on top. Cover the tops with melted butter (I take a stick of cold butter and lightly touch it on the tops of all the rolls). Enjoy warm or freeze for later!
Keyword dinner roll

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Amy

Only posting the best recipes to make you a rockstar in the kitchen.

42 thoughts on “Sourdough Discard: Soft White Rolls

  1. If ever there were a perfect recipe…These are seriously 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻!! 😋

  2. Question: is it always assumed to use a dough hook on the stand mixer unless you stare otherwise?

    1. Typically if you are making a yeast dough, yes. Usually the recipe will say if you should use a paddle attachment or whisk instead. I typically use the paddle attachment for cakes and cookies. The whisk is for whipped cream or frostings and then the dough hook is for almost all my doughs. Sometimes dough recipes will have you use the paddle attachment if the dough is really wet initially and then more to a dough hook.

    1. You can, but they will take much longer to proof and then rise again. It really depends on your sourdough starter and how active it is…but typically my sourdough will take 5-7 hours to rise (compared to the 1ish hour with commercial yeast).

  3. Do you mean instant yeast or dry active yeast? I thought instant yeast wasn’t proofed, but mixed in with the flour instead?

    1. I use SAF instant yeast in all of my baking. You technically don’t have to “proof” it but I like to mix it with my liquids before adding flour to make sure it activates. You could just mix it in the with flour if you want to. If you want to use dry active yeast, proof it in warm water with a little sugar for 5 minutes until it bubbles.

    1. I think cornstarch helps these rolls with just a little extra softness. I like adding a little cornstarch in cookies too for a really smooth texture.

  4. How long does it usually take to-double in size for the first rise? An hour? And also the second rise once you shape them into balls? Another hour? Just trying to figure out when I should start making the rolls if I make for breakfast. Would I have to wake up super early or can I preshape the dough into balls then stick in the fridge over night and then bake in the morning?

    1. Usually it takes about an hour for the first rise and an hour for the second (depending on the warmth of your kitchen). A few options to speed up the rise or make ahead:
      1. Stick the dough or rolls in an oven with the light turned on (don’t turn the oven on, just the oven light). This works kind of like a proofing box and will help the dough and rolls to rise faster.
      2. You can stick the mixed dough in the fridge and let the dough rise overnight, then shape into balls in the morning, let them rise (about an hour or so) and bake.
      3. You can pre-shape the rolls, stick in the fridge and then pull them out and bring to room temperature and let bake.

      An overnight proof in the fridge should increase the sourdough flavor of these rolls. I would probably pick the second option of proofing the dough and then shaping into balls in the morning because I’ve had best results with that method, but you should be able to do any of those. Hope that helps!

  5. Hello! So one day at work a coworker suggested a soup day for the Next day! So I went home after yoga, made a soup and started to make the rolls! It was about midnight and I fell asleep on the couch. My rolls were on the pan, divided out and had risen but I fell asleep too late to make them… in the morning I put them back into a large dough ball and put it in the fridge. What step should I start with to make them? Should I bring it to room temperature and oil a bowl and let it rise again? Then go forth with the remaining steps? Thank you!!! I’m so excited to finish this recipe!

    1. Typically, if my dough has over-proved (or risen too much), I will re-shape the dough and let it rise again. I have never put the dough back in the fridge after this has happened though, so I’m not sure if it will work. I would not re-oil the bowl (it’s okay if you did). Take the dough from the fridge and re-shape the rolls. Let them come to room temperature and see if they rise. If they rise, I would bake them. If they don’t (after coming to room temp), I would start over.

  6. Hi Amy, I am going to try your recipe and wanted to know if you have ever froze the dough after the first rise then shape into balls and freeze at this stage? Thanks and I can’t wait to make these they look delicious.

    Denise

    1. I haven’t done that with this recipe but have with others before. You may want to increase the yeast just a bit in the recipe (sometimes yeast will die off a bit in the freezer). Let the rolls come to room temperature and rise before baking. I recommend putting them in your oven with the pilot light on and oven door closed (do not turn on the oven) to let it rise a little quicker. I think it should work. Let me know how you like them!

  7. Is it possible to use an active starter in this recipe? If so, would it be the same amount?

  8. Delicious recipe! I put the rolls on a large baking pan. They turned out kinda flat but still delicious. Next time I will use 2 cake pans so they will be closer together and rise up. I will keep trying until they look like your rolls. Look forward to making more of your recipes.

    1. So glad you liked them! How long did you let them rise the second time? Sometimes if they rise too long they will flatten a bit.

  9. I have a question. I would like to get back into baking bread but since the last time I made it, many years ago, I have become lactose intolerant. Can I substitute Almond or Coconut milk in the recipes or should I use a full fat coconut milk?

    1. I have subbed almond milk really well in yeast breads. I think it also depends on the recipe. If you are making an enriched dough (usually has butter, egg, full fat milk), you may try using the coconut milk. But I think almond milk would work. You can also sub water for many recipes (it may not be as “rich” tasting) but should work in a pinch.

  10. What method do you do for freezing the rolls after baking/ thawing for serving? I just made this recipe for the first time and it is amazing! I want to make them for thanksgiving, but would like to make them ahead of time and freeze them.

    1. I’m so glad you liked the recipe! If you want to make them ahead of time, I would freeze them in a ziplock and then pull them out a few hours before serving to thaw. You can warm them in a 350 degree oven for about 5-7 minutes until warm and brush with melted butter again. Alternatively you can make the dough the night before and shape the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge. Then pull them out of the fridge a few hours before baking to come to room temperature and puff up a bit and then bake. Either should work fine.

  11. Can these be prepared the day before with a final proof in the fridge? Also, thoughts on coconut oil instead of butter or vegan butter?

    1. I think those substitutions would work well. And yes you can make them the night before, proof in the fridge and then pull them out a few hours before baking to come to room temperature, puff up a bit and then bake.

  12. I really liked these, but they didn’t come out super soft like yours look in the picture. They were a bit more airy inside (still good). I followed the recipe exactly and kneaded by hand. Do you have any idea what could make that happen? I’d like to try again. Thanks!

    1. How long did you knead for? I use a stand mixer to knead the dough. This can help the gluten develop and makes a light, soft roll. If you knead by hand you will want to knead for at least 10 minutes to develop all the gluten and get a soft inside. That would be my recommendation without having seen the rolls myself. Hope that helps!

  13. I absolutely LOVE these rolls! They have turned out amazing every time. I just can’t seem to roll out the balls of dough so smoothly to get that perfect round shape like yours. What do you do?

  14. There is just my husband and I at home so 16 rolls are a lot to make. Is it possible to cut this recipe in half?

    1. You can half the recipe. These rolls also freeze really well once baked, so you could bake the whole batch and freeze the extras. Just pull out, thaw or even warm for a few minutes in a 350 degree oven (or microwave) to enjoy.

  15. Question: I made this recipe as directed and they turned out beautiful… BUT, very little flavor. What could have I done to have more flavor?

    1. Are you looking for more sourdough flavor? To increase the sourdough flavor you can use older discard (maybe week or two old stored in fridge). If you are looking for more flavor in general you can increase the salt by half a teaspoon to a teaspoon in the recipe.

  16. These were easy and delicious! This is a recipe I will use again and again! Thank you!

  17. I had a little trouble. The dough wasn’t very elastic when kneading and were a little dense. Any tips?

    1. I would guess that the dough had a little too much flour. The ratio of flour to water in your sourdough starter can affect the amount of flour that needs to be added to the dough. The way flour is scooped can also affect the amount of flour in the dough. I always start on the lower end of flour-range in a recipe and work my way up when adding flour. If you can pinch off a piece, roll it into a ball in your fingers with just a little bit of sticky residue, that’s right about where you can stop adding flour. You can also try adding a tiny bit of water to the dough if you’ve over-floured it and sometimes that can help bring it back a bit too.

  18. Hi Amy, So I did make these and the taste was spot on! They were soft, however quite dense. What do I need to do to make them super fluffy?

    1. What flour did you use? I find bread flour helps give fluffier bread. Also kneading for 8 minutes helps. Make sure that they rise enough too and get almost doubled in size and puffy before baking them. Sometimes with cold discard (from the fridge) the rise takes a little longer. You could also try adding a teaspoon more yeast to the dough. Those would be my main tips.

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