How to Freeze Dough for Make-Ahead Rolls
I used the 60-Minute Dinner Roll recipe from Everyday Cooking (but this should work with any standard bread or dinner roll dough). The basic recipe makes 2 round pans of dinner rolls (or other configurations–but let’s go with the two pans of 8 rolls each, for now).
Because I wanted rolls tonight AND some for later, I made a double batch in my Bosch Universal Plus mixer, using the balloon whisk attachment with bowl scraper for the first few steps (yay! It scrapes the bowl for me!). This dough comes together quickly–as I’m incorporating the last bit of flour, I am looking for it to start cleaning the bottom of the bowl. (On the DLX, the dough should form a soft doughnut when you pull the roller in from the edge, toward the bowl’s center).
I rolled half the dough into 16 rolls in these two round cake pans (baked these to accompany dinner that same evening). The “make ahead” part: I rolled the other half of the dough into 24 smaller rolls and put into a 13×9 pan; covered and froze the pan with the shaped dough.
The night before I needed the rolls, I put the pan into the fridge. The next morning, I took the whole pan out of the refrigerator to warm/rise on the counter. Once the rolls had doubled in size, I baked in that same pan for 15-20 minutes in a preheated 350 oven (checked internal temp with instant-read thermometer). Made wonderful party-size sandwiches (I made half with ham/Swiss, the other half with chicken salad).
Fast-forward to today:
I wanted to take 48 luncheon size rolls to a church supper on Sunday morning, but I was going to be out of town till really late Saturday. So earlier in the week, I made two 24-roll pans for the freezer. . . .
On Saturday night, I took the rolls out of the freezer and popped them into the fridge, in the baking pan. (NOTE: Ideally, this would be done just after dinner time.) I took them out of the refrigerator several hours in advance on Sunday, so they would have time to finish thawing and then warm to room temperature and rise. I figured I’d rather have them done early than not done at all! About 40 minutes before we needed to leave, I preheated the oven for ten minutes, popped the risen rolls into the oven, and baked for 20 minutes. (You can check at 15 minutes, since they are small rolls and oven temps vary. You are aiming for an internal temp of 195-200 F.)
I let them cool in the pan a few minutes, then turned them out onto a cooling rack. At the last minute, I turned the whole batch back into the pan, now lined with a light tea towel to absorb moisture and prevent sogginess.
STEP-by-STEP PHOTOS of the PROCESS….
I start with one dough boule and divide with a bench knife, then keep dividing until I have the desired number of dough balls:
Although I can usually “eyeball” them pretty well, I often resort to weighing my rolls. I start with the total dough weight (hence the scale), then I holler in to Alexa for what X amount is divided by 24. 🙂 That tells me how much each roll should weigh
I lined these pans with parchment and still lightly greased the pan. I start filling in on one end, then up one side, so I get an idea of spacing (without having to move a bunch of them at the end if I’ve misjudged).
48 small snack-size sandwich rolls, ready to wrap and freeze (or bake now, if desired).
Soft and fluffy, just waiting to be filled with egg salad or chicken salad, or eaten with a bit of butter or jam!
The perfect size for little appetizer-style sandwiches. (Or for filling with my co-worker Ryan’s amazing brisket, at our work gatherings! hint hint Ryan) One batch of 60-Minute Rolls makes 24, so for gatherings, I usually make a double batch–easy peasy in my Bosch Universal Plus mixer.