I’m so excited to share this recipe for Overnight Honey Wheat Rolls with you! Whatever your Thanksgiving looks like this year, I hope that you are able to be with those you love, with thankful hearts, around a table full of good food.
I secretly (or not so secretly) love Thanksgiving even more than Christmas. I like that this holiday is centered around recognizing and naming everything I am so thankful for. I so need that renewed perspective going into the busyness of the holiday season. I also really love turkey, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and of course, ROLLS!
So I guess you could say I’m thankful for Thanksgiving.
I’ve been making Amy Duska’s Sourdough Honey Wheat Sandwich Bread on repeat lately. These Overnight Honey Wheat Rolls are inspired by her recipe, but they do not require sourdough starter. Instead, this recipe uses active dry yeast. I think you’ll love that you can mix up the dough the night before, let it rise for an hour, shape the dough, and then put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, take it out and find a warm place for the rolls to rise. When they are touching each other in the pan, they are ready to bake!
Here is a really helpful video from King Arthur Baking that shows how to shape dough into dinner rolls.
Notice the difference between the picture above and the picture below. The picture above is what the rolls will look like just after shaping, and the picture below is what they will look like after they have risen and are ready to bake. See how they are touching just slightly?
I like to bake them in a 9 by 13 inch pan, lined with parchment paper as this helps them not to brown too much on the bottom and sides. As they bake, they press together, using each other as a bit of a crutch to rise higher and higher.
The result is perfectly browned, soft-sided pull-apart rolls. This recipe makes 12 rolls, but can easily be doubled for a larger crowd. When they come out of the oven, the golden-brown tops are brushed with butter, which softens the crust and brings out the shine. I take great pleasure in painting freshly baked bread with butter. I think it’s the best kind of therapy!
I love the hearty, almost nutty flavor that comes from the whole wheat flour. I did not use all whole wheat, but mixed in bread flour as well. You can use all-purpose flour in place of the bread flour if you don’t keep bread flour on hand. This mixture of flours helps keep the rolls light and fluffy, while still maintaining the flavor and added nutrition of whole wheat.
They are sweetened with just a touch of honey, and of course, a bit of salt. The dough is enriched with whole milk, butter, and one beaten egg as well. Do your best to make sure the ingredients you add are room temperature or warmer. The milk and melted butter should be the same temperature as a baby’s bathwater. Also, make sure your yeast is not expired. These are the two most common causes of yeasted dough that fails to rise.
Also, be sure to use “active dry yeast”. This recipe will not work well with other types of yeast without further adaptions. If you are not used to working with yeasted dough and want to make these for Thanksgiving, you could do a practice run a few days before. They are not difficult to make, but yeast does behave differently in different kitchens. Yeasted dough is very dependent upon temperature and humidity, so a test run will give you a good idea of what to expect in your environment.
There is nothing quite like pulling hot, homemade rolls out of the oven on Thanksgiving day. I hope that you’ll try these Overnight Honey Wheat Rolls, and that you feel all kinds of joy watching your loved ones devour them! Wishing you all the best and happy baking.
Here is a possible baking timeline to help you plan:
The Night Before…
7pm: Make dough
7:20pm: Let dough rise
8:20pm: Shape dough into balls
8:30pm: Cover and refrigerate shaped dough overnight
In the Morning…
10am: Take dough out of refrigerator and let rise again
12pm: Bake rolls
12:25pm: Cool and serve
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
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- 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
- (additional 1 tablespoon butter for brushing over finished rolls)
- Add yeast and warm milk to a large mixing bowl. Allow to set a few minutes, and the yeast will become soft and foamy.
- Stir in melted butter, honey, and beaten egg and mix well. I like to use a danish dough hook, but a wooden spoon or rubber spatula will work as well.
- Add whole wheat flour and salt, and mix. Measure out the bread flour, being careful when measuring not to pack the flour. I like to fluff it before scooping, and then scoop very gently. Gradually mix it into the dough, stopping when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still slightly sticky. 2 1/4 cups of bread flour was just right for my dough, but you may need slightly less or more.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and find a warm place for it to rise for about one hour. I like to use the “bread proof” setting in my oven. You can also turn the oven on for one minute to warm it up, then turn it off and put the dough in, keeping the door closed to hold the heat.
- Prepare a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, by lining it with parchment paper and spraying with nonstick spray.
- Scoop the dough out of the bowl and place it on a well-floured workspace. Sprinkle the top with flour as needed so that it is manageable. Being careful not to press all of the air out of the dough, divide the dough into 12 equal parts. I use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough on a piece of plastic wrap, and then divide that weight by 12 so that I know how much each dough ball should weigh. This will vary a bit depending on the amount of flour added, but my dough balls weighed 63 grams each.
- To shape the dough, gently flatten each piece with your fingers, gather each corner into the center and pinch to seal, and then roll it around on a non-floured surface so it is a bit tacky, using the outer edges of your pinky finger and thumb in a C-shape against the countertop to roll the dough into a tight, smooth ball. This video is very helpful!
- Evenly space the dough balls into the prepared pan.
- Cover the dough so it won’t dry out, and then refrigerate up to 16 hours.
- The following morning, allow the dough to rise in a warm place. When the dough balls are touching in the pan (usually after 1-2 hours) they are ready to bake.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until the tops are golden brown, about 20-24 minutes. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter.
- Allow the rolls to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then use the parchment paper to transfer them to a cooling rack. Serve warm if possible!
- Serving Size: 1 roll
- Calories: 200
- Sugar: 5.9g
- Sodium: 144mg
- Fat: 6.2g
- Saturated Fat: 3.5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2.2g
- Trans Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 31g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Protein: 5.5g
- Cholesterol: 30mg