Sunday, May 08, 2011

Whole wheat roll recipe

This is how I make my rolls. You can vary the recipe however you want, but I have found whole wheat works best when the dough is wet and gets to spend some time in the fridge. (Cold wet dough is not as sticky.) Next time I make them I'll add some pictures or videos, but it might be a while because I will probably switch to pitas I can cook on the grill for the summer.

1700 g fresh very finely ground hard white winter wheat (I use a Wolfgang mill)
(grind extra for shaping the rolls and put it in the freezer)
680g water
680g milk (raw, whole)
170g honey (from our bees)
2 eggs (from our chickens)
140g butter (from raw cream)
2T SAF yeast
2.5 T sea salt

While the wheat is grinding, put the water, milk, honey, eggs and yeast into mixer (I use a Bosch universal with dough hooks.) Start adding the flour. After about half is added, pour in the melted butter and salt. Now make sure you got everything in there :)

Let the Bosch mix it for 10-15 minutes. It should be climbing up the center post of the mixer and very wet! Wetter than you'd ever want to work by hand.

Next put all the dough into a big pot, cover and leave a room temp four a couple hours or until the dough is rising well, then put it in the fridge. Ideally, you want to wait at least overnight before continuing and not more than a few days. The chilling and the time will make the dough less wet and develop the gluten more.

A few hours before you want to eat the rolls, butter your pans, get out the extra flour you ground and the dough. This amount of dough makes 64 rolls. I usually just keep cutting it in half till I get to 64... You'll need to use a little bit of flour for shaping the rolls, but try to use as little as possible. Whole wheat flour needs to be much wetter than white flour products.

Okay, the shaping of the roll is very important: take the dough and start stretching the top of the roll around to the bottom. Your goal is to make the top a stretched skin. Keep doing this until the dough starts to firm up a little (maybe 30 seconds?) If you are not familiar with shaping dough find a few youtube videos on it. The key things for good 100% whole wheat are wetness and shaping, so put your effort there.

Let the shaped rolls rise until doubled. This can take a while since the dough was cold, so be patient. It's not unusual for it to take a couple hours. They WILL rise!

Preheat oven to 350 F. Make sure it is very well preheated. Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes. Let them cool as long as you can stand it before eating.

Let me know if you have questions or suggestions.


  1. OK, Dana dear... I have my whole wheat roll recipe in the fridge and need to learn how to do the stretching shaping. I spent about an hour or more looking for an appropriate You-tube video as you suggested, but alas, I only found one video that had about a 1/2-second blip of what I think you are talking about.

    When you have time, please find one and let me know... I baked a deep-dish pie-pan full of rolls a couple of days ago and we liked them, but they were not as good as yours because the tops were too tough... don't know if I didn't grind the berries finely enough or if it has to do with your stretching/shaping thing. I definitely left it in the fridge long enough and it was wet enough, so excited to watch the video. It's been about 3 or 4 days now since the dough was put in the fridge. You said a week was about max, right?

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I'm inspired.

  2. Neva, I wish I'd made a video last time. Here's a description with pics of the way i do it: You basically want to stretch the top to make a "skin" so it'll hold the air and rise nicely. I don't know how this aspect would or wouldn't make it hard though. Was the crust hard? Maybe your oven runs hot? With the honey and whole wheat you really don't want them to get much browner than they already are. I do grind the wheat as fine as possible. The dough handles much like white flour dough if it's wet enough. You can add flour when shaping, but make sure it stays cold or it'll get too sticky and you'll end up adding too much flour.

  3. Adding to say: I usually keep stretching the dough to the under side until it starts to feel like the gluten is getting worked again. (starting to stiffen) It only takes about 30 seconds. You want to work the dough as little as possible, but get these layers of stretchy smooth top so when it rises it has to push the dough up. So hard to describe :)