These Easy Artisan Rolls truly are ridiculously easy. Stir up the dough then go to bed. In the morning, shape and bake. Unbelievably delicious too!
When I first published this recipe 5 years ago, I called the rolls Unbelievably Easy Artisan Rolls. And it was true, they are unbelievably easy. But that was before the days of our Ridiculously Easy Recipes. Recently, when making a batch of this delicious bread, I realized that it truly deserve a place in our Ridiculously Easy collection. So, without further ado, let me re-introduce you to these fabulous, Ridiculously Easy Artisan Rolls.
What is Ridiculously Easy?
If you're new to The Café, you might not be familiar with our Ridiculously Easy recipes. They are super popular with our readers and I love them just as much! You can read more about these recipes in this post along with the specific criteria that these recipes have to follow but my nutshell definitely is "recipes that make you look like a kitchen rock star with minimal effort on your part". Like that? I sure do!
Can yeast rolls really be easy?
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 its 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? Easy, ridiculously easy!
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 Asheville, NC, there are several 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?
In the past all I could personally do was dream about it but now the answer is super simple, I just whip up a batch of these Ridiculously 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!
Do you know what might be even better than the simplicity of this Ridiculously Easy Artisan Rolls 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. Pull the rolls out of the freezer a few hours in advance and warm them for 8-10 minutes before serving. They'll taste just 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!
Café Tips for Making these Ridiculously Easy Artisan Rolls
- Use plenty of flour on your work surface. This is what will keep the dough from sticking. You will need at least a ¼ cup, maybe more, depending on how wet your dough is. I also like to keep my hands well-floured while shaping the rolls.
- A metal bench scraper (aka a dough scraper) is a wonderful tool to have when making bread, rolls, etc. It will keep your hands from getting sticky as you can use it to move the dough and coat it with flour. Also turning the dough a couple of times on a well-floured surface with a bench scraper, will also keep the dough from sticking to the counter. And lastly, a bench scraper makes cleaning the counter a breeze as you can just scrape up any excess dough and flour.
- Do you have to let the dough rise for 10-12 hours? Nope! I've been in a pinch a number of times and have sped up the rising time by using warm water instead of room temperature water. The rolls still turn out and are delicious BUT the beautiful craggy interiors of these rolls are definitely improved with a long slow rise. There is also more depth of flavor - so if you have the time, by all means, go for the overnight l-o-n-g, s-l-o-w rise.
- This Ridiculously Easy Artisan Rolls recipe is a bit unusual in that you form the rolls by pulling the edges under, then pinch them together to form a smooth ball and place them on the baking pan with the pinched side UP. All other roll recipes that I've ever used direct you to place the rolls on a baking pan, smooth side up. Being a bit of a rebel, I decided to try baking them with the pinched side up and LOVED the beautiful artisan whimsical presentation when the rolls "rolled" out of the oven.
- I love these pre-cut sheets of parchment paper. They save a lot of time in the kitchen, as they're the perfect size for a half sheet pan.
- 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 it online with free shipping. A roll like this will last a long time and is way more economical than the typical size rolls that you often find.
P.S. If you love delicious, EASY bread recipes, be sure sure to check out our Ridiculously Easy Rosemary Bread. SO good and you won't believe the amazing aroma that will fill your house; AND how easy it is!
These Unbelievably Easy Artisan Rolls are super easy! Stir up the dough, then go enjoy a good sleep. In the morning, shape and bake. Unbelievably delicious too!
- 4 cups bread flour plus extra for shaping
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (traditional)
- 2 cups room-temperature tap water
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 the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours.
The following morning (or after 10-12 hours), the dough will have risen, but it may still look shaggy and its 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 a bench 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.
The rolls may look a little deflated as they're rising and they won't rise a ton during the 20 minutes but a little magic happens when they hit the hot oven and you'll be shocked at how beautiful they look when baked.
Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Rotate pan. Bake 5 minutes more or until nicely golden. Transfer rolls to a 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 10-12 minutes at 325˚F.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.