Cloverleaf dinner rolls
An irresistible, light, pull-apart roll with a tender crumb.
There’s a problem with these dinner rolls: You can’t stop eating them. Really, who can resist a warm, soft roll, especially when it’s smeared with a little butter? That moment when you pull a piece off the roll with your fingers and it comes away, revealing the tender crumb and releasing that aroma of freshly baked bread … oh, Mama. When I serve these rolls, everyone around the table smiles. Then it’s just a matter of beating everyone else to the first roll.
Anytime you’ve cooked soup, a stew, or anything with gravy – say, the pan drippings from a roast chicken – these rolls round out the meal. We just shamelessly sop up the savory liquid with a hunk of roll. But here’s a warning: They’re so eminently edible, you’ll want to finish them all off, whether you really need to or not. The solution is to freeze the extras. Let them cool completely, wrap them in plastic wrap or pop them into a zippered freezer bag, and when you want to serve them again, heat them 10 minutes in a hot oven.
This recipe comes together so easily, you can mix it up by hand if you’d rather not get the mixer out and then have to wash it. I confess that I’d rather wash one bowl and one wooden spoon than deal with the mixer. But either way makes great rolls. You’ll need a muffin tin or large cupcake liners to contain the rolls so that they keep their shape. My muffin tin is heart-shaped, so my rolls come out shaped like that; conventional round ones will produce round rolls.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons room temperature water
- 1/3 cup oil
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 400° F (200 ° C).
Combine the water, oil, yeast and sugar. Let the mixture rest 15 minutes.
Add the egg to the yeast mixture. Measure 2 cups of the flour and mix with the salt. Stir it into the yeast mixture. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well each time.
Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 12 pieces with a long knife. It’s easy if you start by shaping the dough into a thick rectangle, cut it into even thirds, then cut each third into 4 pieces.
Pull each piece of dough apart into roughly 3 lumps. Don’t worry about getting them exactly the same. Roll the lumps on the floured surface lightly to make balls and place the balls next to each other into one muffin tin or cupcake liner. Do the same with the remaining 11 pieces, until you’ve used up all the dough.
Allow the unbaked rolls to rest 10 minutes, to recover from the handling and to rise.
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are lightly brown.
Cool the rolls on a rack 10 minutes before turning out and devouring.
Cloverleaf rolls in a tin. (Photo: Miriam Kresh)
Related Topics: Baking