Recipe Review

These Secret-Ingredient Dinner Rolls Stay Soft and Tender for Days

updated Dec 7, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn

King Arthur Baking Company is one of the most reliable resources for baking recipes online. We love their recipes so much, in fact, that we’ve included them in several of our recipe showdowns, from carrot cake to apple pie. They’re also the source of our favorite everyday all-purpose flour. So when it came time to select recipes for our dinner roll showdown, the question wasn’t whether we’d include a King Arthur recipe — it was which one we’d choose.

The recipe we landed on, inspired by an Amish cookbook, appeared to be impossibly soft and tender. What interested me most was its use of mashed potatoes, which claimed to give them their soft and moist texture and keep them tender for days. Was this the secret to the best-ever dinner rolls? I had to find out.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make King Arthur Baking Company’s Amish Dinner Rolls

You’ll begin by peeling and dicing a Russet potato, then boiling it until very tender. Combine sugar, salt, butter, the potatoes, and some of the starchy potato cooking liquid in a food processor and purée until no lumps remain. Transfer the slurry to a stand mixer, then stir in flour, eggs, and yeast. Use the paddle attachment to mix the ingredients into a sticky dough. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and continue to mix and knead. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl for its first rise.

Once the dough is puffed, punch it down and divide into 24 equal pieces. Form each mound into a small, taut ball, then arrange in a greased 9×13-inch baking pan. Cover and let the rolls rise for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Bake until set and lightly browned, then brush with melted butter.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

My Honest Review of King Arthur Baking Company’s Amish Dinner Rolls

At first, this recipe gave me major Paul Hollywood technical challenge vibes, with its bare-bones instructions on how to mix and knead the dough (Great British Bake Off fans will understand). With such limited specificity, I scrolled through the comments and found that many bakers found the accompanying blog post by PJ Hamel helpful. Her instructions did indeed include clear and detailed descriptions and photographs.

These rolls were light, tender, and remained soft even two days after baking. The food processor technique was simple and left no potato lumps in the dough, and I’d honestly use this method again even though it added another dirty dish to the pile. The dough was sticky, but not impossible to work with. In fact, I expected a much wetter dough from the reactions in the comments, but a plastic bowl scraper helped me easily manipulate it.

I used my scale to weigh the dough into equal portions, although the recipe does provide tips on how to divide it evenly without one. The rolls rose right on schedule and baked in exactly the time listed. After baking, they were the perfect size — not too big and not too small. As for their flavor, they were buttery with a hint of earthy potato flavor. The recipe simply calls for salt, so I initiated a chat with a member of King Arthur’s Baker Hotline who said either table or kosher salt would work. I opted for kosher, but wish I had gone with table salt because the rolls tasted slightly under seasoned.

Although I didn’t test this, the recipe includes guidance on how to use leftover mashed potatoes in place of boiling a potato, and I do think you would get comparable results. As much as I enjoyed the potato flavor, it does add an extra step to an already-lengthy procedure. I’m tempted to try the recipe again with dehydrated potato flakes and boiling water to streamline the process. Overall, these rolls are soft and delicious, with the only downside being the extra steps (and dishes) associated with cooking and processing the potatoes.

Credit: Patty Catalano

If You’re Making King Arthur Baking Company’s Amish Dinner Rolls, a Few Tips

  1. Follow the blog instructions. King Arthur Baking Company usually does a great job providing context and detailed instructions in their recipes. Although this recipe falls short, the accompanying blog post goes above and beyond.
  2. Expect a sticky dough. A wet dough means soft and tender rolls. Even though adding flour might make the dough more pleasant to work with, resist the urge! That extra flour will toughen the rolls.
  3. Use a flexible bowl scraper. This tool can help you move the dough into and out of the mixing bowl and keep your hands (relatively) clean. You can also use the flat edge to cut through the dough to divide it into the roll-sized portions.
  4. Don’t overbake. These rolls are meant to be soft, so don’t overbake. Look for the tops to turn light golden-brown and set.

Rating: 8/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: The Kitchn

Have you ever made King Arthur Baking Company’s Amish Dinner Rolls? Tell us what you thought!