Classic Light Rolls

2 dozen

This yeast dough is simple to make, but it needs to rise for about 3 hours total (before and after cutting into rounds), so plan accordingly.


  • ¼ cup warm water (about 105 degrees)

  • ½ cup sugar, plus a pinch

  • 1 package active dry yeast (1 scant tablespoon)

  • 1 ¼ cups milk

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap

  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg for glaze

  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  1. In the detached bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the warm water, a pinch of sugar, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 6 minutes.

  2. Attach the bowl to electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment. With machine speed on low, add milk, butter, remaining sugar, salt, and 2 lightly beaten eggs. Gradually add enough flour to form a sticky but manageable dough. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl; cover tightly with buttered plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 2 1/2 hours.

  3. Line 1 large or 2 small baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out dough to a 3/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut 24 rounds of dough as closely together as possible. Place rounds 1/4 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Cover with buttered plastic wrap. Let rolls rise until they are light and do not spring back when pressed with your fingertip, about 30 minutes.

  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly beat remaining egg with the water. Brush mixture on tops of rounds; sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake until rolls are golden brown, 20 to 23 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Cook's Notes

For rolls with the lightest, airiest texture, don't gather and reroll the scraps.

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