Lightning-Fast Yeast Rolls

30 minutes from start to YUM!

Lightning-Fast Yeast Rolls

By Kathleen Cook, editor of the Arizona Authors Association

I used to hate baking with yeast. Kneading dough and waiting forever for rises always drove me crazy. These rolls changed everything, and now I make yeast rolls nearly every day.

For lightning-fast, easy rolls, you don't need a lot of time. I can whip up a batch of yeast rolls in a half hour from start to finish, including rise and bake time. Follow this recipe for a foolproof treat and watch your family's expression when they discover that yes, you can bake.

Lightning Fast Yeast Rolls

  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups flour, plus more for the kneading board

The following steps should be done in order. If you accidentally mix the salt with the dry yeast, for example, you'll have to start over or accept a less than perfect product. DO NOT PREHEAT OVEN!

  1. Add the butter and water together in a cup or bowl. If you are using stick butter, cut the butter into small pieces (each piece about the size of a lump of sugar) before adding it to the water. Microwave for 80 seconds on high.
  2. Measure the yeast and sugar into a medium sized bowl. Add the warm water/butter mixture to the bowl and stir until all of the yeast is moistened. Let it bubble for five minutes in a spot free of drafts (a cold oven is good for this, or you can simply cover the bowl).
  3. While you're waiting for the yeast to proof, flour a kneading board and line an oven-safe pan with parchment paper.
  4. When five minutes have passed, check to see that the yeast mixture is bubbly. (It should be, but if it isn't, add another teaspoon each of yeast and sugar and then wait another five minutes. If it's still not bubbly, your yeast is dead. May it rest in peace in the trash.)
  5. Add the egg, two and a half cups of flour, salt, and baking powder to the bubbly yeast mixture. Stir briskly to form a soft dough. You want the dough to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan, but you don't want it so stiff that it doesn't feel warm, soft and very pliable when you work it. Add up to one half cup more flour (less if you live in the desert, where the flour is naturally drier). NEVER make the dough too dry, because you can always add more flour later, but adding more water later will alter the texture. It's supposed to stick slightly to your fingers and still feel warm and squishy.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured board (flour your hands, too) and knead it for 30 seconds, adding more flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers too badly. Cut the dough in half, and then cut each half into halves, and then cut each of those into halves. When you're done, you'll have eight large pieces. Take one of those pieces, cut in half and then gently roll each piece into a slightly flattened ball and place on the pan lined with parchment paper. Do not try to punch them down or flatten them too much, just shape it gently to form a roll. It's okay if the rolls are placed snugly against each other in the pan. If you do that, you'll have pull apart rolls, which are just as good. Finish all of the pieces of dough in the same way. You will eventually have 16 small rolls in your pan. Don't worry; they'll get bigger.
  7. Place the pan in your oven or toaster oven and let rest for two or three minutes. Then turn on your cold oven and set to 375. In a toaster oven, which is what I usually use, these rolls take about 15 minutes to bake (which includes preheat time). In a regular oven they may take 20-22 minutes from a cold start.

They're ready to eat fresh out of the oven! Once you get the hang of it, these will take no more than 30 minutes from start to finish in a toaster oven, or about 10 minutes of actual work time and 20 minutes of waiting/baking time while you prepare the rest of the meal. Amaze your family with fresh rolls for breakfast or dinner!

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Kathleen Cook
See all posts by Kathleen Cook