This whole wheat dinner rolls recipe uses freshly milled hard white wheat and spelt, producing incredible taste and a soft texture.
If I had a favorite fresh milled flour recipe, this one might be IT.
At least, it is until I find my next favorite. 😉
Dinner rolls are a historical staple on the family table. There is just something comforting and nostalgic about a basket of warm rolls being passed around the dinner table.
When we started getting away from all-things-white-flour (it’s still a process) — I wondered if I could enjoy fluffy dinner rolls again.
Or, more importantly, if the whole grain version could win over my picky family.
Thankfully, after some trial and error, I’ve learned how to make a consistently soft and delicious whole wheat dinner rolls recipe.
It’s 100% whole wheat – and even better (in my opinion) than those white rolls we used to enjoy!
This site contains affiliate links to products. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Choosing grains for whole wheat dinner rolls
You can honestly use whichever grains you prefer for dinner rolls. BUT, you’re going to need to experiment with the quantity of liquids versus flour, depending on which type you use.
A friend of mine was telling me how much her family loved 100% spelt rolls, so I knew I wanted to incorporate spelt into my own version. We are pretty big fans of spelt, in general!
I decided to try a blend of hard white wheat and spelt. After some experimenting, I found that a 50/50 blend seemed to work best for me.
Spelt is a softer grain and it will take a little more spelt flour than if you were using the same amount of hard white wheat.
So, if you try this recipe with all hard white wheat, you’ll use less flour during the kneading process.
Hard white wheat has a higher gluten content than spelt. So combining it with the spelt helps the dough to hold together and to achieve a nice rise.
Spelt has a somewhat nutty, almost sweet flavor that lends well to this recipe. Together, these grains create a satisfying 100% whole grain dinner roll with a wonderful texture.
Read next: Crusty Dutch Oven Whole Wheat Bread
How to make the BEST dinner rolls with freshly milled flour
Making this whole wheat dinner rolls recipe is easier than even making a loaf of whole wheat bread.
(Here’s my bread loaf recipe with freshly milled flour, in case you don’t already have one in your fresh milled flour recipe box.)
If you want to skip the detailed instructions and images, you can jump to the recipe card.
You’ll start by finely milling your grains as usual. I mill 2.5 cups of hard white wheat berries and 2.5 cups of spelt, which usually yields about 7.5 cups of flour.
Sponge Method and Kneading Instructions
Next, you’ll add 3.5 cups of the flour mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer, along with all of the water. Mix just until incorporated (about a minute), scraping the sides of the bowl.
I like to let this mixture set for 20 minutes. (This is the basic sponge method.)
Then, you will add the eggs, sugar, salt, melted butter and yeast.
Continue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time on low speed just until it no longer clings to the bowl. *Note, do this slowly as the dough expands as it kneads and develops more gluten.
If you add the flour too quickly, you will have a very dense dough.
Sometimes I use most of the flour I milled, and other times I find I need less. Humidity can affect how the dough behaves on any given day.
Once the dough holds together without sticking to the bowl (or very little is stuck to the sides), you can increase the mixer speed a notch, and knead for 15 minutes.
(In my Bosch mixer, I knead on speed 2.)
The dough should be soft and pliable at this point and not too sticky.
If you find that dough is still sticking too much to the sides of the bowl at this point, it’s ok to add a little more flour. Knead on speed 2 again for a few more minutes.
Rise time + tips
Remove the dough to a large bowl where it can double in size. This takes about 1-1.5 hours for me.
Cover bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and a light tea towel. This helps to trap in the heat and moisture.
Or, if you have a large bowl with a lid, just set the lid loosely on top, then throw the tea towel on top.
Rise time really depends on the heat of your kitchen, among other factors (the weather, freshness of the yeast, for example).
I like to set my dough bowl on a heating pad on low heat to bring the rise time to around 1 hour in my kitchen.
Be sure to set your pans in a draft-free area. My dough seems to like the counter top next to my refrigerator!
Shaping dough and 2nd rise
Once dough has doubled, it’s time to shape into rolls.
You can either shape into about 20-24 small rolls and divide between two baking sheets, or place 4 in a row and bake them all on one baking sheet. The closer together they are, the taller they will rise.
Use your thumbs to shape and stretch each dough ball, pulling the corners underneath.
Place seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I also spray the sides of the pan with olive oil, or grease with butter.
This dough can easily be shaped into larger hamburger or slider buns as well. I would definitely space them out on two baking sheets for buns.
Then, spray plastic wrap with olive oil spray and loosely cover. Add a lightweight tea towel on top of the plastic wrap.
Let rise for approximately 1 more hour.
Time to bake!
Remove towel and plastic wrap gently.
Place baking sheet in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.
Take a small amount of milk in a cup and use a basting brush to brush over the rolls. Or, you can make an egg wash with 1 egg yolk whisked with a little water.
Return rolls to oven and bake until golden brown on top (approximately 15 minutes total baking time).
These rolls are delicious and perfect with butter and jam, honey, or as a sandwich roll. Also great for breakfast sandwiches!
I store them in a bread bag on the counter and they last about a week.
Let us know if you enjoy these whole wheat dinner rolls as much as we do!
See Recipe Card Below:
- 2.5 cups hard white wheat berries
- 2.5 cups spelt berries
- 2-1/4 cups hot water
- 3/4 cup cane sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1-3/4 tablespoons yeast (active dry or instant)
- 2 tablespoons milk (for brushing over rolls). Or use egg wash (1 egg white mixed with a teaspoon of water)
- Mill 2.5 cups of hard white wheat berries and 2.5 cups spelt berries (yielding around 7.5 cups of flour). Whisk flours together.
- Add 2-1/4 cup hot water to mixing bowl of stand mixer.
- Add 3.5 cups of flour to water. Mix about 1 minute, pausing to scrape sides of bowl. Let rest in mixing bowl for 20 minutes.
- Add the eggs, sugar, salt, butter, and yeast to bowl. Begin mixing on low speed to incorporate.
- Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time until most of dough is no longer clinging to the sides of the bowl. Do this very slowly, as dough will expand and you don't want to add too much flour too soon.
- Increase speed on mixer one notch (speed 2 on Bosch mixer) to knead dough. Set a timer for 15 minutes until dough is soft and reaches windowpane stage (or just before is fine). If using a KitchenAid mixer you may want to knead for a few minutes at a time and let the motor rest in between.
- Place dough in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Or if you have a bowl with a lid, set the lid loosely on top and cover with a light tea towel.
- Place bowl in a warm, draft-free area. (I like to set on top of heating pad on medium heat.)
- Once dough has doubled (approximately 1-1.5 hours), shape into balls and place seam-side down on parchment-lined baking sheet. I also butter the sides of the pan to avoid sticking.
- Cover with plastic wrap sprayed with olive oil, and place tea towel on top again. Place in a warm area to rise another hour (approximately). You can return to a heating pad if you're using this method (if you have cold countertops like me!).
- Preheat oven to 400 F near end of rise time.
- Once dough balls have doubled, carefully remove plastic wrap and bake for 8 minutes.
- Brush rolls with milk or egg wash and return to oven. Bake for another 7 minutes or approximately 15 minutes total bake time, until rolls are deep golden brown on top.
You might also like: