Once you get the hang of making sourdough bread you’ll find that there are many things you can do with it. Rather than just making a round loaf everytime, you can start to experiment a bit and change the shape of your loaf or try making bread rolls.
You can make sourdough bread rolls of whatever shape and size you fancy - sourdough dinner rolls, sourdough hamburger buns, sourdough sandwich rolls or even sourdough slider buns. You could even try shaping them into sourdough hot dog buns - although I confess, I’ve never tried that shape.
To make these sourdough bread rolls you won’t need any yeast, but you will need a sourdough starter/culture/mother dough. In fact, rather than repeating myself over and over, I’m just going to send you here to get the actual recipe for the dough. I like to make my sourdough rolls using the overnight sourdough bread technique, so, like all things sourdough, you will need to allow quite a bit of time and do some planning to get the most out of this recipe.
So, the day before you plan to eat your sourdough rolls, go ahead and make the overnight sourdough bread dough and get right up to the stage where you put the dough into the fridge for its overnight stay.
On the day that you plan to bake (and eat) your rolls, take the dough out of the fridge about half an hour before you’re ready to work with it. Let it sit, in the bowl, at room temperature for 20-30 minutes to warm back up to room temp a little bit.
It’s good to figure out a bit of a timeline to get your bread rolls ready for when you want them. To do this, work backwards,for instance, if you want to eat your rolls at 1pm for lunch you’ll want them out of the oven at 12pm to allow an hour of cooling time. They take 25-30 minutes to bake so you’ll want to put them in the oven around 11.30 am.
They’ll need 2 hours of proving time so you’ll want them on the tray ready to rest by 9.30am. Give yourself half an hour or so to work and shape your rolls so, start working with the dough at 9am. To make all of this fall into place at the right time, you’ll want to get your pre-prepared bread dough out of the fridge at about 8.30 in the morning.
Here’s my overnight sourdough bread dough that has been in the fridge overnight. Now it’s going to sit for half an hour or so at room temperature to warm up a little.
Once the half hour is up, tip or scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl and onto a lightly floured surface such as a pastry mat.
Shape your dough into a long, even rectangle or cylinder and then use a dough scraper to divide it into even portions. This is where you get to decide what size and shape to make your rolls.
On this occasion I was a bit random in my sizing! I was feeding 5 people and wanted to make sure that there would be two rolls for everybody, so mine were more like slider bun size or dinner roll sized - although a couple were a bit bigger.
I was a bit haphazard with mine as I was in a rush to get them done. To make sure you get them all the same size you can weigh the portions of dough to make them all equal. If you’re wanting to make hamburger buns you’ll want to make the portions larger - probably only making 5 or 6 rolls.
No kneading required! Once the dough is portioned, I like to give each portion a final little stretch and fold as I shape it like a mini whole loaf, but you don’t want to knead the dough or you might lose some of the lovely sourdough bubbles that will be starting to form.
Stretch and fold out the sides of each portion and bring them up to meet together at the top (a bit like a dumpling).
Then flip each one over and place it seam side down onto a lined baking tray. I find a quarter sheet pan works perfectly for this amount of dough.
Now they just need to rest and rise for 2 hours. This works best if you can find somewhere warm for them to sit - I like to use a warm hot water bottle! Just sit the baking tray on the hot water bottle and then cover the whole thing with a clean kitchen towel.
One hour into this 2 hour resting time you’re going to want to start preheating your oven. Turn your oven on to 425℉ or 220℃.
A pro-tip here - if you happen to have a pizza steel or pizza stone it’s a great idea to use it to help your oven get nice and hot for your sourdough rolls. As you may know, sourdough bread is often cooked in a dutch oven which helps to get the bread nice and hot.
As we’re baking the rolls on an oven tray and not in a dutch oven it can be hard to get the really hot atmosphere the bread needs to bake in.
A pizza steel is a great way to get this extra heat. Put your pizza steel into the oven before you start the preheating. (Excuse the state of my pizza steel - it’s well used and well loved!).
After the 2 hours have passed your rolls should be looking nice and swollen and puffy.
Each roll needs to be slashed - it’s just what you do with sourdough bread. You can use a dough scraper or a sharp knife to do this although this can squash the bread a little so, I’ve discovered that the best way to make a slash in each of your sourdough bread rolls is to use a clean pair of kitchen shears! It works really well! Just make a quick snip into the top of each roll.
Then, into the hot oven they go! Preferably sit them right on top of your pizza steel (if you have one).
Enjoy the aroma as it floats through your house while you watch these lovely sourdough rolls rise and bake for the next 25-30 minutes.
Tip the rolls out onto a cooling rack to cool completely for an hour or so.
When you’re ready to eat them just break them apart - they pull apart nice and easily - just look at the soft, fluffy bread!
Lather them in butter and serve them as dinner rolls with some soup, or add your preferred fillings and eat them for lunch.
Whichever way you eat them, these sourdough rolls are truly delicious! The only thing I can’t tell you though, is how long they will keep for - every time I make a batch they are eaten within minutes! So I’m not sure what these would be like the next day, it’s probably best to eat them fresh on the day that they are baked - my family certainly seem to think so!
So, if you’ve got some sourdough starter that you’ve been diligently keeping and feeding, have a go at these delicious, soft on the inside, crusty on the outside, homemade sourdough bread rolls.
All you need is your sourdough starter, water, flour and salt - no yeast or sugar required - and a bit of time and planning and these sourdough rolls can be yours ready to devour!