Soft White Rolls with Sourdough Discard

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Tender, light, fluffy and filled with sourdough discard, these soft white rolls are perfect for dinnertime!

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! . These soft white rolls with sourdough discard 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

Ingredients in Soft White Rolls with Sourdough Discard

  • Sourdough Discard: A lot of sourdough discard is used in this recipe. I use discard where the starter has been fed equal weights of flour and water (100% hydration). The older the discard, the more sour tang will be prevalent in these rolls. If you don’t want any sour flavor, use a fresher discard.
  • Milk: 2% or whole milk makes these rolls rich and tender
  • Instant yeast: This recipe uses instant yeast to raise the dough
  • Sugar: Just a little bit of sugar is added to these rolls to enhance the flavors.
  • Unsalted Butter: Melted and cooled unsalted butter allows you to control the salt content in the dough and gives these rolls a rich flavor.
  • Salt: Just a little bit of salt tempers the fermentation and brings out the flavor in the rolls. Don’t leave it out.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch is an unusual ingredient in dinner rolls, but I’ve found it helps give the rolls a super-soft texture.
  • Flour: This recipe can be made with all-purpose or bread flour. I prefer bread flour for more chewy rolls and a better rise. But all-purpose works well too.

Why you’ll love soft white rolls with sourdough discard

Super soft, tender, light and a slight tang for the sourdough discard, this recipe for soft white rolls with sourdough discard 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!

A Few Recipe Tips

The dough for these sourdough discard 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!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I store leftover soft white rolls with sourdough discard?

Once the rolls have cooled completely, store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw and warm if desired to serve.

Can I substitute something else for the cornstarch?

Cornstarch make these rolls extra tender and light. You could substitute potato flakes or just leave them out.

Can I use the sourdough discard cold from the fridge?

Yes. Make sure the milk is warmed to counteract the cold and allow a little extra time for the dough to rise. Cold dough takes longer to rise, even with commercial yeast.

Can this recipe be made with sourdough starter instead of discard?

Yes. You can substitute sourdough starter instead of discard. If you want to make a 100% sourdough version of these rolls, check out my recipe for sourdough dinner rolls here.

Soft White Rolls with Sourdough Discard

Amy
Tender, light, fluffy and filled with sourdough discard, these soft white rolls are perfect for dinnertime!
4.87 from 15 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rise Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Servings 16 rolls

Ingredients
  

  • 165 grams milk lightly warmed, 2/3 cup
  • 6 grams instant yeast 2 teaspoons
  • 30 grams granulated sugar 2 Tablespoons
  • 55 grams unsalted butter melted and cooled, 4 Tablespoons
  • 14 grams salt 2 teaspoons
  • 225 grams sourdough discard 100% hydration, 1 cup
  • 20 grams cornstarch 2 Tablespoons
  • 350 grams all purpose or bread flour 2 1/2 cups, see recipe notes

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 350ºF. 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!

Notes

Sourdough Discard: Sourdough discard is used in this recipe. I use discard where the starter has been fed equal weights of flour and water (100% hydration). The older the discard, the more sour tang will be prevalent in these rolls. If you don’t want any sour flavor, use a fresher discard.
Flour: Originally this recipe called for all purpose flour. I’ve since switched over to mostly unbleached bread flour and think these rolls benefit from bread flour if you have it. They are more springy, chewy and tender with bread flour, but all purpose works well too.
Keyword artisan sourdough, best homemade bread, crispy sourdough discard crackers, dinner roll, easy homemade bread, homemade rolls, soft rolls, soft sourdough rolls, sourdough discard recipe, sourdough discard rolls, tender rolls
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97 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi, I am wondering if I can make my rolls after the first rise, roll them into balls and stick in fridge until an hour before baking for 2nd rise?

    1. That can probably work with this recipe because it has the instant yeast added to it. Without instant yeast it would take a lot longer.

  2. 5 stars
    these turned out perfect and looked just like yours!!! And it was my first try at sour dough anything!!!!

  3. 5 stars
    Made today for big family dinner. They’re all gone!! Great taste. Definitely had a nice soft texture. Great instructions.

  4. This is my 1st attempt, but when o cooked them they kind of flattened out. Would this be due to over mixing? They started out so well.

    1. I’m wondering if the dough needed a little more flour? Was it very sticky? Did you put them next to each other to bake or on a pan separated? Either of those could have been an issue. Over-mixing generally wouldn’t cause them to flatten and it’s very difficult to over-mix this dough.