These 100% whole wheat yeast bread rolls are super soft and pillowy. We’ll walk you through, step by step, how to make these wholesome dinner rolls from scratch.
We have been making this whole wheat yeast bread roll recipe for a long time, it is our go-to family recipe. They are always so soft and yummy and have yet to disappoint us.
Homemade breads like bread for sandwiches, cornbread, these honey whole wheat rolls, whole wheat biscuits, burger buns, and soft breadsticks are something we have been making from scratch since the beginning of our baking journey. We recently started making things like whole grain tortillas and pasta. Of course, they are always made with 100% whole wheat flour.
What's Cool About This Recipe
- Pillowy soft: Everytime we make this whole grain roll recipe we are amazed at how soft they turn out. I kinda just want to make a pan big enough for a bed and sleep in them 😁.
- 100% whole grain: As with all the recipes on Whole Wheat Kitchen, these dinner rolls are made with all whole wheat flour.
- Easy to make: These are easy to make, you need some time for rising but other than that they are quite easy.
- Taste 10/10: The taste you get from whole grain flour is far superior to stripped down white flour. These have a wonderful, nutty depth of flavor.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Flour that works in this recipe:
- Fresh milled from these grains: Hard white wheat.
- Store bought: Whole white wheat flour
- Water: You just need a little bit of warm water to activate the yeast.
- Honey: This gives the rolls a little bit of sweetness and helps feed the yeast. You can also use sugar.
- Yeast: We use active dry yeast to make these yeast rolls.
- Milk: We use whole milk but any milk should work, they will be the softest with whole milk.
- Butter: We generally use unsalted butter but salted butter or oil will do.
- Egg: Eggs help make the rolls soft.
- Salt: Salt is very necessary, it enhances the flavors and makes so the rolls aren’t bland.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Bake close together for pull apart rolls.
- Bake farther apart for individual buns.
- You can brush the tops with beaten egg, egg white, cream or half and half just before placing into the oven.
Overview of instructions with photos. See recipe card for quantities and full instructions.
Step 1: Add the water, yeast and honey to the bowl of a stand mixer, stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until bubbly.
Step 2: Heat the milk to 110-115°F, cut the butter into thin slices, or small cubes and add to the hot milk, stir until mostly melted.
Step 3: Add the milk and butter, egg, salt and 1 ½ cups of the flour. Stir until combined. Attach the dough hook and beat on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes or until smooth.
Step 4: Add enough of the remaining flour to form a very soft dough (you want it quite sticky). Knead on medium/low speed for 5-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Step 5: Place the dough into an oiled bowl, flip the dough over so the top is now coated with oil.
Step 6: Place in a warm place, about 72°F to rise until doubled (45-60 minutes).
Step 7: Punch the dough down, turn onto an oiled surface and divide into 12 equal pieces (use a kitchen scale to get them all equal).
Step 8: Shape each piece into a tight ball by folding the edges into the center. Roll around in your palms to make the top smooth. Or you can place the dough ball on the counter and cup your hand loosely around it, then make a circle motion, rolling the dough around to make it smooth and tight.
Step 9: Arrange the dough balls in a greased 13x9 inch baking dish or a well buttered 12 inch cast iron skillet.
Step 10: Cover and let rise until doubled (45-60 minutes). Don’t forget to preheat the oven before the rise time is up.
Step 11: Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for 23-27 minutes or until golden brown and they reach an internal temperature of 190°F
Step 12: Remove from the pan to prevent them from going soggy.
Tip: For serving, place the rolls in a bowl lined with a tea towel, fold the towel over the top to cover them.
Store in a tightly sealed container or bag at room temperature for 3-4 days.
How to Freeze
To freeze baked rolls: wrap cooled rolls tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag or container, freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
To freeze roll dough: Wrap the whole blob of dough in plastic wrap and place into a resealable bag. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for several hours or until doubled in size, continue with recipe instructions for shaping and baking.
To freeze rolls before baking: After shaping the rolls, place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for about 1 hour or until the rolls are firm. Place the frozen dough portions into a freezer safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake: place however many rolls you want to bake about ½-1 inch apart in a greased baking dish for pull apart rolls or 3 inches apart for single rolls. Cover and let rise for 4-6 hours at room temperature or until doubled in size. Bake according to recipe directions.
Tips From Our Kitchen
If you’re using fresh milled flour that is still warm, reduce the temperature of the milk.
The dough will be quite sticky, it will be a lot easier to work with once it has gone through the first rise.
Use oil as opposed to flour for shaping and working with the dough.
Crumbly rolls can be from not kneading the dough long enough or over baking.
Yeast breads that collapse while they are baking are usually from rising the dough too long before baking.
If the dough won’t rise the first thing to do is test your yeast to see if it is active. If your yeast is good then some other things that might be the problem are; The water/milk you used was too hot and killed the yeast. The water/milk was too cold and your house is also cold making it rise extremely slow. You have too much flour in the dough, your dough should be very soft.
Whole Wheat Yeast Bread Rolls
- ¼ cup (60 grams) Warm water 110-115°F
- 1 tablespoon (21 grams) Honey or 2 tablespoons (26 grams) organic cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) Active dry yeast
- 1 cup (240 grams) Whole milk
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) Butter
- 1 large Egg
- 1 teaspoon (6 grams) Salt
- 2 ¾ - 3 cups (352-384 grams) Whole white wheat flour hard white wheat
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes, until bubbly.¼ cup (60 grams) Warm water, 1 tablespoon (21 grams) Honey, 2 teaspoons (8 grams) Active dry yeast
- Heat the milk to about 110-115°F, add the butter and stir until melted.1 cup (240 grams) Whole milk, 3 tablespoons (42 grams) Butter
- Add the milk and butter, egg, honey, salt and 1½ cups (192 grams) of flour to the bowl with the yeast mixture. Attach the dough hook and mix on medium/high speed for about 2-3 minutes or until smooth.1 large Egg, 1 teaspoon (6 grams) Salt, 2 ¾ - 3 cups (352-384 grams) Whole white wheat flour
- Add enough flour to form a very soft dough. Knead on medium/low speed for about 5-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic ( the dough will still be sticky).
- Place the dough into a well greased bowl, flip it over so the top is greased. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
- Punch down the dough. Turn onto an oiled surface and divide into 12 equal pieces (use a kitchen scale to get them precise).
- Shape each piece into a tight ball and roll around in your palms to make the top smooth. Arrange in a buttered 12” cast iron skillet, or 13”x9” pan. If you want individual rolls, place on a greased or parchment paper lined baking sheet about 2” apart.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 350℉ about half way through the rise time.
- Bake at 350°F for 23-27 minutes or until golden brown on top and the internal temperature reaches 190°F.
We calculate these nutritional facts using an estimate and they can vary drastically between ingredients used and measuring technique. So, they are not intended for medical use.