These Easy Artisan Rolls truly are unbelievably easy. Stir up the dough then go to bed. In the morning, shape and bake. Unbelievably delicious too!
Initially, I titled this post Easy Artisan Rolls. As soon as I finished typing the words, however, I knew it needed clarification. Ridiculously Easy? Incredibly Easy? Ludicrously Easy? Finally, I settled on Unbelievably Easy. I wonder what you would have called them?
Let me explain how easy they are and you can decide for yourself. Ready? Combine flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Grab a sturdy spatula. Add tap water (even cold tap water works!), and stir till combined. Cover, go to bed and have sweet dreams! When you wake in the morning the yeast will have done it’s magic.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour and turn the dough a few times, to give it a nice white coat. Divide your dough into 12 pieces and shape the pieces into balls. Place the dough balls on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. That’s it! See what I mean? Oh, one more thing; wipe that drool off your mouth, and please, try to wait till they’ve cooled just a bit before you start sampling.
I saw these beautiful rolls a few months ago on Pinterest. They originated on a beautiful blog called Alexandra’s Kitchen. I did adapt the recipe slightly, but she’s the genius who came up with the technique.
It’s hard to find really good artisan bread, unless you live in a big city where there are lots of bakers. Here in Raleigh, you can find high quality bread shops, but they’re few and far between. So what do you do if you’re craving delicious, European style bread? You know, the crusty exterior and chewy, richly-flavored interior type of bread with those big irregular holes? Now the answer is super simple, just whip up a batch of these Unbelievably Easy Artisan Rolls.
I started to call them dinner rolls, but changed my mind when I thought about how versatile they are. While they do make wonderful dinner rolls, I also love these rolls for sandwiches and as an accompaniment to soups and salads.
And while my recipe today has just four ingredients; flour, yeast, salt and water, you can get really creative with herbs and spices. My favorites are rosemary and sea salt; but I was at Whole Foods for lunch recently and had a crusty dinner roll with Parmesan and fresh ground pepper. That just might be my next version!
You know what might be even better than the simplicity of this recipe? The fact that you can make a batch in advance and freeze them for several weeks. Just under-bake the rolls slightly, then pop them in the freezer after cooling. Then pull the rolls out of the freezer a few hours in advance and warm them for 8-10 minutes before serving. They’ll taste like freshly baked!
Imagine a basketful of these fragrant rolls being passed around the table at your next dinner party. You’d be sure to see smiles of delight, as each guest peeks under the napkin. Be prepared for lots of compliments, as the warm rolls are savored by one and all. Only you will know that the total hands-on time for these rolls is less than 20 minutes!
See what I mean? Unbelievably Easy Artisan Rolls. Have you decided yet what you’ll call them?
Shaping Tip: Using plenty of flour on your work surface will keep the dough from sticking. I also keep my hands well floured while shaping the rolls.
For your Pinning pleasure:
Lots of people ask what kind of cookware, small appliances, cutlery, etc. I use in the kitchen. Here’s what I used to make this recipe.
- 4 cups bread flour, (512g) plus extra for shaping
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, (7g)
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast, (2g)
- 2 cups room temperature tap water, (439g)
- In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the bread flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center and add the water. Mix with a sturdy rubber spatula until all flour is incorporated. Don’t worry, the dough will be wet and sticky, that’s how it should be. Cover bowl with a plastic wrap and leave to rise at room temperature overnight or for up to 12 hours.
- The following morning (or after 8-12 hours), the dough will have risen, but it may still look shaggy and it's surface will be covered with bubbles.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper*. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Spread a generous ¼ cup of flour on a work surface. Dump the dough out onto the floured surface and turn it several times to coat with flour. I like to use abench scraper for this.
- Divide the dough into 12-16 equal portions, turning each piece in the flour to coat. (The bench scraper is also great for cutting the dough). Shape each piece into a ball, pulling edges under and pinching together to make a smooth top. Invert balls and place on prepared pan, pinched side up. This will give you craggy, rustic textured rolls. If the dough is sticky as you’re shaping, just roll the piece in more of the flour. Let shaped rolls rise for 20 minutes.
- Transfer pan to the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Rotate pan. Bake 5 minutes more or until nicely golden. Transfer rolls to cooling rack to cool completely.
- If making in advance, remove from oven when pale golden brown (about 3-4 minutes less). Cool completely, then freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer rolls to a large zip lock bag and store in the freezer. To serve, allow rolls to thaw, then heat for 8-10 minutes at 350˚F.
* For regular parchment paper I really like the Kirkland brand that Costco sells. The problem is, that they only carry it seasonally. I was happy to discover you can purchase online with free shipping. A roll like this will last a long time and is way more economical that the typical size rolls that you often find.