A lovely basket of steaming hot dinner rolls passed around the table at mealtime is probably a daily event in your home. No? Well, we can’t say we’re able to swing the daily dinner roll routine either. That’s probably why adding them to the menu makes it feel like a party!
The buttery pastry is filled with herb-flecked Parmesan, quadruple knotted, then baked to a flaky golden brown. Special indeed, but you don’t need to wait for Sunday dinner to enjoy them. We like the cheesy rolls with tea in the afternoons, or a little bit later alongside a glass of rosé or even one of bubbles. A silpat muffin sheet is ideal for baking them since the cheese won’t stick to the silicone surface, but a standard 12-cup muffin pan will work too.
For the dough:
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) plus 3 Tbs. warm milk (110°F/43°C)
- 2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) active dry yeast
- 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. sugar
- 3 1/4 cups (16 1/2 oz./515 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Vegetable oil for greasing
For the filling:
- 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary
- 2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
For the topping:
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. water
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
- Flaky sea salt
To prepare the dough, in a small bowl, whisk together the milk, yeast and the 1 tsp. sugar until the yeast and sugar have dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the flour, the 2 Tbs. sugar and the kosher salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Switch to the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the yeast mixture and beat until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the butter 1 Tbs. at a time. After all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes.
Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a ball. Coat the inside of a large bowl with vegetable oil and place the dough in the prepared bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and let stand in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, Parmesan, rosemary, thyme and garlic. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature until ready to use.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a 12-by-20-inch (30-by-50-cm) rectangle, with a short side facing you. Using a silicone spatula or an offset spatula, spread the filling over the dough, covering it completely.
Fold the bottom third of the dough up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. Keeping the openings of the dough on the left and right sides, roll out the dough into a 6-by-18-inch (15-by-45 cm) rectangle. Using a ruler and a sharp knife or a pastry wheel, cut the dough crosswise into strips 1/2 inch (12 mm) wide; you should have 12 strips. Hold one end of a dough strip in one hand and the other end in your other hand. Wrap the dough strip around the tips of 4 fingers of one hand about 3 times, twisting the strip slightly as you wrap. For the final wrap, drape the dough strip across the tops of your finger, crossing over the previous wraps, then tuck the end into the bottom of the knot. Repeat with the remaining dough strips.
Place a Silpat silicone 12-well muffin mold on a baking sheet and carefully place the rolls in the molds. Cover with a towel and let stand in a warm spot until the rolls have risen slightly, about 40 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
To prepare the topping, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with the Parmesan and flaky sea salt. Bake until the rolls are deep golden brown, 22 to 24 minutes. Let the rolls cool in the molds for 5 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 rolls.
Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen