The Fresh Loaf

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Wrong Flour in Yeast Dinner rolls?

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neaty521's picture

Wrong Flour in Yeast Dinner rolls?


I am very new to the world of baking. I have been desperately trying to perfect my yeast roll's and failing. As sad as it may sound, I am on the brink of tears! I am trying sooooo hard! I have found many recipes and tried them all. I have made the rolls using different fats and yet, nothing! I have decreased the flour and doing quite well on my rising. But still I am failing!! Also, I don't have a mixer (like I said, I am very new to baking) I do everything by hand. 

Every time I make a yeast roll, it comes out kind of dense. I could compare them to a grocery store canned biscuit. So there are the tiny holes and it is springy and such. The flavor is just fine each time. But it looks nothing like the pictures! They have also been a bit crusty on the outside. They are edible, but I want fluffy light tear apart dinner rolls. Not yeast biscuits....

Like I said, I have used different fats, altered the amount of yeast, rise times and everything. I thought maybe the dough was too dry. So I used less flour. Still the same! I thought maybe it was the margarine, so I used shortening...still the same. I took out the egg and added it back and the textures are still off! WHAT IS IT?? 

I may be telling on myself here, but I do buy the cheaper all purpose flour. Could this be the issue? If so, I will switch immediately! I dont know if this helps, but the details for the flour are as follows. 

Any advice is helpful! I dont know what else to do. 


Typical Values100g contains-
Energy1450kJ (345kcal)1450kJ (345kcal)
*Salt Equivalenttracetrace
Laurentius's picture

Whats the purpose of the nutrition chart? Please put up your baking formula and some photos would be good.

neaty521's picture

Sorry the nutrition chart was of the flour I use. I was not sure if it would be helpful. And the most recent recipe I used is this one. 

1/2 cup sugar, plus a pinch
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
1 cup cold water
1 egg, well beaten
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

I activated the yeast in water with a little sugar. While I mixed the wet ingredients, added the yeast then flour by cup. Mixed until formed a dough. Then I kneaded it for 8 minutes by hand. It was slightly tacky but did not stick to the surface or my hands. I let rise in a warmed oven for 1 hour. I punched down the dough and let sit for about 10 minutes before shaping. After shaping i let rise for an additional hour. At this stage they have tiny air bubbles like the ones that occur after the first rising. They rise just fine, just with tiny air pockets. Today I punched the air out of one to see what would happen. It turned out just like the rest, just not as high. 

I dont have any photos...I tossed them ha 

cerevisiae's picture

Three things that may be contributing:

  1. Dough development - 8 minutes of hand kneading is not a lot. How do you check your development?
  2. Shaping - rolls can take a bit of getting used to. You may not be shaping them tightly enough to get the most rise out of them.
  3. Rising times - how do you judge when to put them in the oven? They might be underproofed, or possibly even overproofed and then doing more collapsing than rising in the oven.

Know more about your process with these things might help lead to answers.

neaty521's picture

I  have no clue what checking my development even means! So I guess that could one strike against me. I do not know what well developed dough should look or feel. Any help with that would be amazing. I just kind of set a timer and hope i kneaded it enough. How should I know when to even put them in the oven?  I just follow the directions of the recipe since that is all I know at this point. 

Thank you for your response! I 

PaddyL's picture

My text disappeared, so I'll try again.  Do you want to make the rolls all in one pan, or separately on a baking sheet?

neaty521's picture

I want them all in one pan. But at this point, I just want something that works! lol Is one method easier? 

josordoni's picture

the amount of water seems awfully low, and the amount of sugar very high. You only get big bubbles with wet dough , where the liquid is around 70-80% of the weight of the flour.  Not easy to judge for me (I am British) as I am not used to cup measures but the ratios don't look right.

Also you say you warmed the oven for proofing? how warm was it, and did you leave it on for the proof? you might have killed a lot of the yeast if it was too high.

Also, AP flour can vary enormously, can you get some different, or add in some bread flour, and then try again?


neaty521's picture

Last time I tried a recipe and reduced the water they turned out the same. If you have a recipe in grams I would love to try it out. I am in the UK and just convert everything from grams to cups. Maybe that could be a factor in what is happening? Do you know of a recipe in grams I could look at or possibly an example of water to flour ratio? 

Yes I did warm the oven. I just turned it on for about 1 minute or so before placing the rolls in to proof. I do not know a temperature, it was warm but nothing outrageous. I always touch the racks to be sure it is not hot. I use a plastic bowl and cant afford to have it melt on me. 

I normally buy the tesco value flour. But I will have a look around today and buy some better grade flour if it might make a difference. How do you think bread flour might make a difference in my rolls? 


josordoni's picture

ah, now I wouldn't use value flour for bread.. it isn't strong enough English plain flour is going to give you rolls more like scones or cake.

So have a look and get the Extra Strong bread flour first of all - it is down to the gluten in the flour, the stuff that makes it stretchy to hold the bubbles. 

And go back to basics. Use this Dan Lepard recipe from the Guardian, he is fail safe. You will notice his special way of kneading, in little bursts with lots of resting. That is a really good way to see how your bread develops, you will see each time you knead it how it is changing just by resting and letting the water in the dough change the gluten in the flour to make it stretchy. 

Temperature in UK kitchen is fine for letting the bread rise at the moment.

I put some of my own tips on my blog, you might like to look at those too.


Let me know how you get on, and let me see a picture even if it horrible!

neaty521's picture

thank you! I purchased some strong flour today and will give it a try one day this week. I will post pictures this time and won't be so distraught if things don't go my way. 

All the recipes called for all purpose flour so I assumed plain was the way to go. But they were american recipe and probably did not use the value flour haha. We shall see though 

adri's picture

I think we definitely have a different view of what a dinner roll is. I e.g. would never add more than a pinch of sugar. There are huge differences between buns, Kaiser rolls or irish blaa. Could you please link to a photo of what you intend to bake?

In general, dinner rolls are one of the more difficult things. So no worries if they don't work from the beginning on. German style dinner rolls e.g. are impossible to bake without some kind of enzymes added (usually in form of active malt).


neaty521's picture

Yeah there may be a bit of confusion. Here is a link to what I would love to place on my table. I generally like a more sweeter roll. Maybe its the southern girl in me.

They make it look so easy. 

josordoni's picture

I think the egg, fat and sugar are combining with a soft flour to make these more of a yeasted cake than a bread, so the fact they are coming out like a scone is probably about right.


neaty521's picture

I hope you are right. It certainly does make a lot of sense! I will switch things up a bit for sure and post my results. I hope the change in flour was the issue. It would be nice to know I just was not screwing up something different each time. I am ready to be excited about my rolls. Then move to something else :-) 

clazar123's picture

1. Did you try making Jamie's Fluffy Dinner Rolls-using his recipe and technique?

2. Develop the dough-What this means is that you knead until you get a "window pane". This means you can take a small amount of the dough between your hands and pull it apart and stretch it until it is very thin and it doesn't break. Take a look at this:

In order to get this with hand kneading-it will take a lot more than 8 minutes.

3. Using "strong bread flour" will make for a chewier loaf/roll and instead of developing the gluten in the AP flour you are using, you are just adding "instant" gluten to the dough. It won't be "shreddable"-more like tough.

4. Try Floyd's Lazy Man's Brioche for rolls. It has never failed me.

The only way to make "shreddable" rolls is to make sure the hydration is adequate and the dough is kneaded to the point where you develop the starch and the gluten.

I thought of another point I should make-the concept of what is happening in the crumb of the loaf. It may help you decide what you need to do in any given loaf.

When you mix flour and water, you are creating a very complex reaction with all the components in the flour. For brevity's sake, the most important reactions for bread are the starch and the gluten. The gluten forms a rubbery netting that is like the supporting framework and the spaces are filled with the starchy gel which helps trap the gas bubbles that form when the yeast digests the starches and sugars in the flour particles. So the bubbles fill and expand in the gel and the gel and bubbles are held in place by the gluten. If you don't have strong or enough gluten, it is just the gel holding the gas and it is often not enough to do that well. A lot of gas escapes and you have a dense loaf. If you have too much gluten, you have a lot of rubbery texture and not enough media to actually hold larger bubbles. Again, you have a dense, rubbery texture. So when you KNEAD the dough, you must have enough water and time to allow the gel to develop to trap the gas but also enough gluten to hold the structures in place. This is what happens when you properly "develop" the dough and why you can get a "windowpane" that doesn't break. There is enough gluten structure to form the framework and enough gel to fill it. The heat then sets this all and you have a soft, shreddable texture.

Not hard-just complicated.

Bake delicious fun!