Seasonal Flavors: Refrigerator Rolls

Overnight Whole Wheat Refrigerator Rolls. Photo: Denise Zico.

“Grandmother, would you like a cappuccino when we get home?” wafted the voice of the six year old over the back seat.

“I think it’s a little late in the day for a cappuccino, and besides, we need to get you home and I don’t want to stop,” I replied.

“No!  We don’t have to stop—we have a cappuccino maker at home and Mommy taught me to make them. I make her one every morning now.”


My daughter-in-law Kirsten loves kitchen appliances. She has mixers and seltzer makers and ricer cookers and so forth. I also call her ‘the condiment queen’, but that’s another story.  And now, she has an espresso/cappuccino maker—and her own little barista on a step stool.  Lucky!

I have always considered myself a person of the whisk and of the knife and mostly eschewed fancy kitchen paraphernalia. But I admit to two ‘gadgets’ that have improved my cooking and my life: the standing mixer and the digital scale. Both were acquired only in the past five years and are now in use at least weekly.

I bring this up because this month’s recipe uses both appliances to improve and enhance the final product. One thing that makes walking into a bakery so attractive is the row upon row of identically shaped cookies, breads and rolls. How do they do it? Most likely though the use of a digital scale, so that each cookie or roll is exactly the same weight, bakes at the same rate, and comes out of the oven looking the same. Additionally, baking using ingredient weight rather than volume is more accurate and results in a superior product.

Have I convinced you?

Take a look at this fast and easy dinner roll recipe and then consider your response. The Happy Cook in Charlottesville sells digital kitchen scales with prices ranging from $22-$70. Please support your local businesses.

Overnight Whole Wheat Refrigerator Rolls

  • 1 ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 ¼ cup white flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs (one for the rolls and one for an egg wash)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Put the water and yeast in your standing mixer bowl. (Don’t have a standing mixer? You’ll be whisking by hand). Sprinkle the yeast, add the whole wheat flour, the sugar, the melted butter, one egg and the salt.

Mix for one minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the white flour, mixing by hand with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Dough will be a little wet.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the bowl from the refrigerator; replace it on the mixer stand. Attach the bread hook and knead for two minutes (or knead by hand). Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.

Weigh the dough, divide by 12 and then begin forming the individual rolls, by weighing out the calculated amount, then turning the raw edges under to form a ball. Place evenly spaced on a heavy baking sheet.

When all the rolls are formed, cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes. In July, try out on the deck!

Preheat the oven to 3750F.

Beat the remaining egg and brush each roll with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake 13-14 minutes until golden brown. 


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