Once upon a time cafeterias in schools were used for cooking, not just heating up. The rolls were always served with the special Thanksgiving lunch, my favorite school lunch of the year! I loved those big fluffy white rolls… If you don’t know what I’m talking about your mom does! Our Big Fluffy Pan Dinner Rolls recipe is adapted from the baker’s recipe at King Arthur Flour.
Nothing is quite like those rolls from my youth! My mom didn’t bake with yeast, so the rolls in the cafeteria were heavenly to me. I’m a bread person thru and thru and love everything from a light and airy roll to a more dense wheat roll.
I love the simplicity of this roll. The dough is shaped in your hand, not cutting involved. And one recipe makes enough to feed a crowd!
Big Fluffy Pan Dinner Rolls
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 cups warm milk 100 – 110°F
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons yeast instant preferred
- 6 to 7 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir well and let sit for 6 to 8 minutes, or until you see the yeast begin to foam.
Add 5 cups of flour and mix by hand or with the paddle attachment until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. The dough will not form a ball at this point, but will be just shy of coming together.
Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time and blend with the dough hook until a smooth ball begins to form. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, or by machine for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.
Lightly spray your work bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Spritz the top of the dough with spray as well and cover lightly with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Let rise for 20-30 minutes at room temperature or until the dough is full and puffy.
Gently deflate the dough and pat or roll out to a rough rectangle about 8 inches by 12 inches. Cut the dough into 4 long strips, then cut each strip into 6 portions for a total of 24 dough balls. Shape into round balls as you would shape meatballs, using your cupped hands to roll the dough. Spritz your hands with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
You can place the rolls into any of the following pans, well greased or lined with parchment paper: One half-sheet baking pan or 2 quarter-sheet pans. Two 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pans. Four 8″ or 9″ round baking pans OR a combination of any of these pans.
After the rolls are in the pans, cover again with a clean dish towel and let rise at room temperature for another 30 minutes, or until well rounded and full looking. If you are baking now, preheat the oven to 375°F and place rack in center of oven. Make sure the oven is completely preheated before placing the rolls in the oven.
Bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. You can brush the baked rolls with melted butter if desired. Serve warm, store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
If you want to freeze the unbaked buns, place in the pans as described in step 6 and allow to rise for 10 minutes. Wrap airtight and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To bake, thaw overnight in the fridge, then unwrap and bake as directed.