The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Conversion to rolls

LindyD's picture

Conversion to rolls

Is there a standard formula for converting a recipe into rolls?

I'd like to make the Hamelman cheese bread again, but because it is such a strongly flavored bread, I think rolls may be a good application.  Easier to share with more people.

Is there a standard weight for rolls?  If the bake time for two 1.5# loaves is 45 minutes at 460F, how do you calculate the bake time for X number of rolls of X weight?    

Through Hamelman and DiMuzio, I know that the bake time is shorter and the oven temp higher, but that's pretty vague.

Obviously, I've not baked rolls before and am in need of enlightenment!

PaddyL's picture

I think it's usually 2 oz. for rolls, and I'd bake them at maybe 400F. for about 20 minutes before testing them.

xaipete's picture

I use 2 oz. ball too and also bake at 400º for about 20 minutes.


dghdctr's picture

I've been called a lot of names in my career . . . .

Anyway, no, there is no "standard".  Two ounces is a good place to start.  2.5 oz-3.0 oz is probably normal for a sandwich bun.  Rolls from a dough that is intensively mixed and gets a lot of expansion (Challah, for instance) can be downsized to 1.5-1.75oz while still getting an acceptable size.

Just like with everything else I talk about, be willing to experiment and make adjustments later as you figure out what you like.

You're right about the necessary changes in oven heat and anticipated bake time.

By the way, very lean doughs like baguette or pain au levain can sometimes make rolls that are too hard to be enjoyable.  If you encounter this, try baking at a higher temperature than before for a shorter period of time.  That should leave more moisture in the roll, and make it less hard.

Let me know how your bake turns out.

--Dan DiMuzio

ehanner's picture

I recently made 18  pounds of PR's Italian with biga as rolls. My sister was having a graduation party and asked that they not be "Hard Rolls" as they were expecting small children who probably would prefer softer buns for the Italian beef being served.

I scaled 4 Oz oval shapes that made a mini Hoagie. The milk and oil in the mix helped to make a soft crumb and I was careful not to brown them as much as I would of normally done. The bake time for my oven was 18 minutes at 400F.

I have found that the recommended baking time is the least accurate item in every recipe I have tried. I went out of my way to make sure my oven temperature was on or that I know how much to adjust it so the temp is where I need it and still, the times are frequently way off. LindyD, your reference of 460F for 45 minutes is a good example. I use 450-460 at 25-30 minutes for most lean doughs. I think baking rack placement has a lot to do with the end results.


LindyD's picture

I've been called a lot of names in my career . . . .

LOL, I figured I might be on a slippery slope using "vague" in relation to your tome, Dan.  Let's just say I was referring to one tiny section.  ;-)

Maybe I'll experiment with a different recipe first, since the Parmigiano-Reggiano is about $20 a pound and I'd hate to wind up with overbaked, dry rolls.  Or maybe a cheaper cheese would be a good idea.

Eric, turning out 18 pounds of rolls is really impressive.  How do you manage to avoid overproofing while a batch is baking?  That's presuming you don't have a deck oven in your kitchen. What about internal temperature?  The same as a loaf of bread?


dghdctr's picture

But I'd recommend letting the bake time, plus a few extra minutes, be your timing mark.

  1. Based on previous experience, decide what the likely bake time will be.
  2. Figure out the capacity of your oven.
  3. If, for instance, you had a capacity for 2 dozen rolls at one time in the oven, and they take 15 minutes to bake, then cut 24 portions every 20 minutes, shape them, cover, set aside and proof until ready.  The extra 5 minutes will give you time to load, time to unload and place on rack, etc.  Finding the burn salve. Using the restroom. Whatever.
  4. At this point, the only limitation might be the number of cookie sheets or sheetpans you have available.  You can keep cutting 24 portions, rounding them, covering them, etc. every 20 minutes.  The first batch will be ready for baking at whatever time they are ready -- it doesn't matter much -- and every batch thereafter will be ready approximately 20 minutes after that.  And so on.  Your oven won't stand empty more than 5 minutes at a time -- probably less.
  5. As you cut and shape the dough, only keep on your counter whatever dough you are likely to need.  Keep the rest covered in the refrigerator as you go, to prevent over-fermentation.
ehanner's picture


One of the things I had to do when I bought a DLX mixer that holds 9 Lbs of dough, is figure out how to schedule proofing so I didn't end up with more dough proofed than I can bake. As Dan says in his reply I keep things in the cooler until they are ready to enter the warm up and proof pipeline. When it is just two sessions, I delay the second batch by 30 minutes. I don't think it is as critical with retarded dough since the activity is slowed way down. When I plan to mix and bake two sessions one right after the other, I chill the second batch after shaping for 30-40 minutes. I think a little cooling for 30 minutes slows down the second batch just enough to not over proof it. After all, I would far rather wait a few minutes for the dough than curse myself after it deflated.

Also as Dan mentioned, I pay careful attention to the first batch and make note of the time. I don't bother to measure the internal temp on rolls since they are small enough to easily bake through to the 200-205F degree.

One other thing I do when I am in production mode is I never bake on a stone. The truth about heat loss from the stone is that you loose so much heat from having cold dough on it that it takes 20+ minutes to come back to temperature in my oven. I remove the stone and bake on 1/2 sheet pans with parchment. You couldn't tell the difference. I can unload and load a sheet pan quickly without any fooling around trying to pretend I have a hearth oven. (was that sarcastic?)


SylviaH's picture

I was just messing around a while back and made these rolls out of my baguette recipe.

They were turned out very good..I didn't measure their weight just judged the dough ball into about a 3oz or close.

And If you check it out you will get to see dmsnyder...David's cute little Grandaughter's!


LindyD's picture

David's granddaughters - but the rolls look pretty good too!  

Thanks, Sylvia, for the link.



LindyD's picture

It's pretty clear that you gave a lot of thought and planning to the technicalities of production baking in your home kitchen, Eric.    Lots of mental mise in place.

I think it's one thing to bake two, three, or four loaves and get pretty good results.  It's a different ballgame when the production rate increases substantially and I really  appreciate the education you and Dan have given.  Good info like this doesn't seem to get included in the literature - at least it's not in the books I have.

It makes pefect sense to move out the baking stone.  I think you'd lose lots less oven heat since the unloading/loading can be done faster than fooling around with a peel.

Such details are invaluable and I've printed out these great comments because I know they'll come in handy.   The only thing I've added is a note to turn on the answering machine. 

Thanks very much, Dan and Eric.

P.S. to Dan - use ICE on those burns!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

is to stick rimmed trays upside-down in the oven for smoother "hearth" action.