The other day my family really wanted burgers for dinner. I did not want to run to the store and didn’t have three hours to make burger buns, so I tried out a super-fast bun recipe. And it worked! They were yeast buns and super delicious (recipe coming soon). This success gave me the idea to try and adapt a favorite roll recipe to be made start to finish in under an hour. Did I think it was possible? Yes. Did I think they would taste good? Undecided. But guess what? They actually taste amazing. Light, fluffy, tender and absolutely delicious. There is no reason you cannot have yeast rolls with a home-cooked meal or especially a holiday like Thanksgiving. These one hour (or less) yeast rolls are knock your socks off good and they are start to finish…all in less than an hour.
To make these rolls, mix up your dough as you normally would for a yeast dough. Knead the dough, by hand or by mixer for about 5-7 minutes. After the dough is kneaded, you do not need to let the dough rise. Instead, immediately shape the dough into rolls and set them in a baking dish. Give them a quick 10-15 minute proof in a warm place and then bake them for about 25 minutes. You have eliminated the first rise and most of the second rise and are relying on the fast-acting power of the yeast and the heat from the oven for some perfect rolls.
Why One Hour Yeast Rolls Work: Instant Yeast
The key ingredient in this recipe is the instant yeast. I love using SAF instant yeast (affiliate link) and stock up on it from my local mill. Instant yeast is more fine than dry active yeast which means that it does not need to be proofed before being mixed into the dough. You may also find instant yeast labeled as “rapid-rise” yeast and “bread machine” yeast. All of those will work for this recipe. Dry active yeast takes longer to activate and requires a second rise, so it will not work well for these one hour or less yeast rolls. The amount of instant yeast in this recipe is a lot. This, combined with the heat from the oven, is what gives the rolls their beautiful rise. Despite the 2 Tablespoons used, the rolls do not have an overpowering yeast flavor.
Why Does Dough Typically Need Two Rises?
Almost all yeast rolls call for two rises. Typically the first rise takes place after the dough is kneaded and the second rise happens after the dough has been shaped. During the first rise, the yeast feeds off the flour and produces carbon dioxide gas, which causes the dough to rise and creates the air bubbles in bread. Punching down the dough and shaping bread allows the yeast to continue feeding off the flour and produces more carbon dioxide, which causes the second rise. The longer the rise, the more chewy, flavorful and complex the bread is, which is why most recipes call for two rises. You will get optimal results with a double rise.
Time as a Factor
With all that said, I think that the time saved in making these rolls is absolutely worth it. Let’s face it, we don’t all always have the three hours to give to make homemade rolls and if we can cut a few corners and still have fluffy dinner rolls, then I think it is worth it. This roll recipe is delicious. If I made it side by side with a roll recipe that had a double rise I may be able to notice a slight difference, but I think the time saved is worth it in this recipe. If I have three hours on my hands I may choose a different roll recipe, but if I only have an hour and need rolls on the table? This is my go-to every time.
One Hour (or less) Yeast Rolls
- 1 1/3 cup milk warmed
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- To the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm milk (make sure this is the temperature of a baby's bathwater…so as not to kill the yeast), melted butter, sugar, yeast and salt.
- Add the cornstarch and 3 cups of flour to the center of the bowl and knead using the dough hook. Alternatively you can mix the ingredients together in a bowl and knead the dough on your countertop by hand for about 10 minutes. If using a dough hook, knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, adding the extra half cup of flour as needed. You should be able to pinch off a chunk of dough, roll it into a ball in your fingers with just a little sticky residue left behind. You can check out this blog post for how to check for readiness of dough if you need some guidance.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly grease a 9 by 13 pan with cooking spray.
- Move the dough to your countertop and cut into twelve equal pieces.
- Shape the dough into rolls one at a time. Pull up the sides of the dough into the middle while rotating the dough in your hand to form a ball. Then roll the ball on the countertop before placing on a baking sheet or dish. Watch the process here.
- Cover the rolls and let them rise in a warm spot for 10 minutes.
- After ten minutes, the rolls will have puffed up just a bit. If they don't look puffy, that's okay. Continue on with the recipe and bake the rolls at 350 degrees for about 22-25 minutes depending on how brown you like your rolls. For lighter rolls, bake in a glass pan. For a darker crust use a dark pan.
Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake.