The fancy French word for dough shaped in a ball is boule. Bread makers use the same technique to form a tight ball of dough for a large loaf of bread and for small individual dough balls such as these fluffy dinner rolls. While it takes two hands to form a large loaf into a boule, you can make a small one with just one cupped hand. If you get really good at it, you can even do two balls at once—one in each hand!
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Makes 9 rolls
- 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg yolk
- Vegetable oil spray
- 1 large egg, cracked into bowl and lightly beaten with fork
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, yeast, and salt. Lock the bowl in place and attach the dough hook to the stand mixer. In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk milk, melted butter, honey, and egg yolk until honey has dissolved, about 20 seconds.
Start the mixer on low speed and slowly pour in the milk mixture. Mix until no dry flour is visible, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and knead dough for 8 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean counter and knead dough for 30 seconds, then form the dough into smooth ball. Spray a large bowl with vegetable oil spray. Place the dough in the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a clean counter and use your hands to gently press down on the dough to pop any large bubbles. Pat the dough into a 6-inch square and use a bench scraper to cut the dough into 9 equal squares. Form each piece of dough into a tight, smooth ball.
Spray the inside bottom and sides of an 8-inch square metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Arrange dough balls in 3 rows in a greased baking pan. Cover the baking pan loosely with plastic. Let the dough balls rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
While the dough rises, adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. When the dough is ready, use a pastry brush to paint the tops of the dough balls with the beaten egg.
Place the baking pan in the oven. Bake until rolls are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Place the baking pan on a cooling rack and let rolls cool in pan for 30 minutes. Turn the baking pan upside down to release rolls from pan. Turn the rolls right side up and use your hands to pull them apart. Serve warm or at room temperature.