Soft and fluffy, honey wheat rolls are simply irresistible. These homemade wheat rolls use some tricks to keep them pillowy, fresh and soft for days. Perfect for serving your family more fiber rich foods for better health.
In a small saucepan, whisk ¼ cup of flour with some of the water to make a smooth paste. Whisk in rest of the water and cook at medium heat, making sure no lumps form. Chill the paste. Bring it to room temperature before using it.
Fit the stand mixer with a dough hook. Warm up the milk to 110° Fahrenheit and pour it into the stand mixer bowl.
Scatter the yeast over it and let it stand in a warm dark place for about 10 minutes until the yeast foams up on the surface.
Then add 2½ cups whole wheat flour and stir it in well and let it rest for 20 minutes to let the flour absorb the moisture and swell up. Add the vital gluten also in this step, if using it.
Next, add the tangzhong paste, honey, butter and/or oil, eggs, salt, dry milk powder (if using). Let the stand mixer run at low speed until all the ingredients are well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Gradually add ¼ to ½ cup of all purpose flour at a time while mixing it in and give the flour time to absorb the moisture and swell. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
Go slow to let the flour absorb the liquids, or you will end up using more flour and the rolls will not be moist. If the dough is slightly sticky it is okay. It should be soft and pulling away from the bowl while the mixer is running.Tip: Check for gluten formation by doing the window pane test. If not, knead some more time.
Lightly oil the dough and the bowl, cover with a moist towel or cling wrap, place it in a warm dry place and let the dough rise to double in bulk. This may take 2 hours or more depending on the temperature and other climatic conditions. I usually let it rise inside an oven that has not been preheated.
Shaping the Rolls
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Once the yeast dough has doubled in size, punch it down and divide into 16 equal portions. You could weigh them to be accurate.
Roll each portion into a cylindrical shape and place it on a clean and smooth surface. Place both your palms over the dough and roll it into a smooth long strip. If needed, use oil or flour lightly to keep the dough smooth and prevent sticking.
Fold it over to make a loose knot, and bring the ends of the string on the other side and pinch together to seal it well. You could also make plain round shape rolls too, but make sure to smoothen the dough and pull the seams to the bottom.
Place the wheat honey rolls over a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure to space them apart by at least 2 inches to allow enough room for the rolls to rise.
Allow the rolls to rise until double the size. This may take up to 30 minutes.
Topping and Baking
Brush beaten egg on top of the wheat rolls. Sprinkle the seeds or almond slices on the rolls. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until nicely browned on the top. Tent with foil if the tops become too brown before they are baked fully.
Melt one tablespoon of butter and stir in honey. Then melt another tablespoon butter and mix in grated garlic.
Remove rolls from the oven and brush with melted honey-butter or garlic-butter. Serve immediately.
Store cooled rolls wrapped in a cheesecloth or paper towels and packed in plastic bags for 3 to 4 days.
Warm milk: 120 - 130 degrees F for rapid rise yeast and 110 degrees F for active dry yeast. Check yeast package instructions.
Important steps to ensure success with these soft honey wheat rolls recipe:
(a) Let the yeast foam up well before adding other ingredients.
(b) Give enough time to let the dough double in bulk in the first rise. Allow it to rise in a warm environment.
(c) Give sufficient time to let the prepared rolls double in bulk once in the second rise.
(d) Placing the dough or the rolls in an oven that has not been preheated and with a pan of hot water one level below the container/baking sheet will help the dough rise better. But don’t place the hot water too close to the dough.
You can freeze these rolls in freezer safe bags. Thaw and warm it up in an oven or toaster oven.
This recipe can easily be halved.
Check the extra tips and blog post for more about whole wheat flour baking.