Brenda Gantt is a popular chef and cookbook author known for her incredible baking recipes. Her homemade yeast rolls are a fan-favorite that everyone raves about. The key to Brenda’s famous yeast rolls is her unique buttermilk mixture that gives the rolls their signature taste and texture.
This Brenda Gantt Yeast Rolls Recipe only takes about 2 hours of prep and rise time before you have a batch of hot, fresh yeast rolls ready to serve.
The Difference Between Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast
Active dry yeast and instant yeast, sometimes called rapid rise yeast, are the most common kinds of yeast used in baking. While they are similar, there are a few key differences:
- Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in warm liquid before use, while instant yeast can be added directly to dry ingredients.
- Active dry yeast takes longer for the dough to rise, while instant yeast creates a faster rise.
- Instant yeast has smaller granules that activate faster than active dry yeast.
- For most recipes, the two yeasts can be swapped 1:1. However, active dry yeast may need more time to rise.
Brenda’s recipe calls for instant yeast for a quick dough rise and lighter rolls. But if you only have active dry yeast on hand, you can substitute it directly. Just allow the dough a little extra time to rise each time.
How to Make Brenda Gantt’s Yeast Rolls
Making these yeast rolls at home is simple. With just a few ingredients and steps, you’ll have homemade rolls that look and taste like they came from an artisan bakery. Here’s what you’ll need:
Brenda’s yeast rolls call for just a few simple ingredients:
- Eggs – Eggs help provide structure and richness. Use 2 large eggs.
- Sugar – 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. The sugar feeds the yeast and provides food for fermentation.
- Solid shortening – Use 3/4 cup of Crisco or any solid vegetable shortening. Do not substitute oil or butter. The solid fat gives the rolls a tender, flaky texture.
- Buttermilk – 1 cup of well-shaken buttermilk. The tangy buttermilk gives the rolls great flavor.
- Salt – 1 teaspoon of table salt. Salt controls the fermentation rate and enhances the flavor.
- Warm water – You’ll need 3/4 cup warm water (110°F) to activate the yeast.
- Instant potato flakes – An unexpected ingredient that adds moisture and tenderness. Use 1/3 cup.
- Active dry yeast – 2 packages of active dry yeast (about 4 1/2 teaspoons). Must be dissolved in warm water first.
- Instant yeast – 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast. Can be added directly to the dry ingredients.
- Flour – 6 cups of all-purpose flour. Measure accurately by spooning and leveling. More flour may be needed while kneading.
- Butter – Melted butter for brushing on top of the baked rolls.
Kitchen Tools Needed
You’ll need just a few basic kitchen tools to make these homemade dinner rolls:
- Stand mixer – A stand mixer fitted with the dough hook makes easy work of kneading the dough. Avoid over-mixing.
- Mixing bowls – Use one medium bowl for the buttermilk mixture and one small bowl for the yeast mixture.
- Muffin tin – Standard 12-cup muffin tins work perfectly for shaping the dough. Grease the cups well.
- Plastic wrap – Cover the dough while rising to prevent drying out.
- Pastry brush – Use to brush the melted butter on top of the baked rolls.
Follow these simple steps for perfect yeast rolls every time:
Make the Buttermilk Mixture
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, solid shortening, buttermilk, and salt. Heat over low, stirring frequently, until the shortening fully melts and the mixture is combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the Yeast Mixture
- In a small bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
- To the buttermilk mixture, add the yeast mixture, 3/4 cup warm water, and instant potato flakes. Stir until fully combined.
- Add 3 cups of the flour and mix to combine. Dough will be very sticky.
Knead the Dough
- Transfer dough to a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer running on low speed, gradually add the remaining 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft, smooth dough forms.
- Continue kneading for 6-8 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic but still slightly sticky. Add more flour if needed to reduce stickiness.
- Transfer dough to a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides in oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Dough is ready when an indent remains after a finger is pressed in.
Shape the Rolls
- Punch down risen dough to release air bubbles. Transfer to a lightly floured surface.
- Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into balls, about 1 1/4 inch each. Place 3 dough balls in each greased muffin cup.
- Loosely cover muffin tin with plastic wrap. Let rolls rise until nearly doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake rolls for 15-18 minutes until tops are golden brown.
Finish with Butter
- Immediately after removing from oven, brush tops with melted butter for a soft, tender crust.
- Enjoy rolls warm or at room temperature.
- For best results, use lukewarm water (about 110°F) when dissolving the yeast. Water that is too hot will kill the yeast.
- Maintain a consistent warm temperature during the rising process for proper dough rise.
- Resist the urge to add more flour during kneading. The dough will become smooth and tacky. Too much flour makes the rolls tough.
- Rolls can be shaped and refrigerated overnight before the second rise. Allow them to come to room temperature before baking.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions
Brenda’s yeast rolls can be prepared in advance for easy entertaining. Follow the recipe up until shaping the rolls into balls. Place the unbaked rolls in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze for 1-2 hours. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container. When ready to bake, take out as many frozen rolls as needed and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Continue with second rise and bake as directed.
Baked rolls can also be frozen by cooling completely and then storing in freezer bags. Reheat frozen rolls in the oven at 300°F for 10 minutes before serving. The rolls will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
- For whole wheat rolls, substitute up to 2 cups of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour.
- Add 1/4 cup sugar or honey for slightly sweeter rolls.
- Fold in 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries after the first rise for a touch of sweetness.
- Make savory Parmesan-garlic rolls by kneading in 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan before the first rise.
- Shape dough into round dinner rolls instead of cloverleaf rolls for simpler shaping.
Brenda’s yeast rolls are welcome at any meal. Here are some ideas:
- Serve warm with butter, jam, or honey for breakfast
- Use them to make sandwiches for lunch
- Pair with roasted meats, mashed potatoes, and vegetables for dinner
- Split in half and use to make mini sandwiches for appetizers
- Serve along side soup or salad
- Use for sliders or mini burgers
Frequently Asked Questions About Brenda Gantt Yeast Rolls Recipe
Here are some common FAQs about Brenda Gantt Yeast Rolls Recipe:
How long do the rolls keep after baking?
The rolls will stay fresh at room temperature for 2-3 days. After that, freeze any remaining rolls to extend their shelf life. Reheat frozen rolls in the oven when ready to eat.
Can I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour?
Yes, you can substitute bread flour 1:1 for all-purpose flour in this recipe. The bread flour will result in chewier rolls with more structure.
What if the rolls don’t rise enough?
Make sure your yeast is still active and that the liquid was warm enough to activate it. The dough should double in size after the rises. If not, the yeast may be old or the area was not warm enough. Discard the dough and start again with fresh yeast.
Why do the rolls sink in the middle?
If the rolls sink while baking, the dough was likely handled too much, deflating it before the rolls set. Try to handle the dough gently when shaping so it keeps its airy structure.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Yes, you can prep the rolls through shaping then refrigerate overnight. Take them out 30 mins before the 2nd rise and bake as directed. You can also freeze shaped raw or baked rolls.
- Eggs - 2 large
- Sugar - 1/2 cup (granulated)
- Solid shortening - 3/4 cup (Crisco or any solid vegetable shortening)
- Buttermilk - 1 cup (well-shaken)
- Salt - 1 teaspoon (table salt)
- Warm water - 3/4 cup (110°F)
- Instant potato flakes - 1/3 cup
- Active dry yeast - 2 packages (about 4 1/2 teaspoons), dissolved in warm water
- Instant yeast - 1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons
- Flour - 6 cups (all-purpose)
- Butter - Melted butter for brushing on top of the baked rolls
- Stand mixer with dough hook
- Mixing bowls (medium and small)
- Muffin tin (12-cup)
- Plastic wrap
- Pastry brush
- Make the Buttermilk Mixture: Combine sugar, solid shortening, buttermilk, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over low until shortening melts. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the Yeast Mixture: Dissolve active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.
- Combine Ingredients: Add yeast mixture, 3/4 cup warm water, and instant potato flakes to the buttermilk mixture. Stir until combined. Add 3 cups flour, mix (dough will be sticky).
- Knead the Dough: Transfer dough to a stand mixer, add remaining 3 cups flour gradually. Knead for 6-8 minutes until smooth and slightly sticky.
- First Rise: Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled (1 1/2 to 2 hours).
- Shape the Rolls: Punch down dough, transfer to a floured surface, pinch off pieces, and roll into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place 3 balls in each greased muffin cup.
- Second Rise: Cover muffin tin with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until nearly doubled (1 1/2 to 2 hours).
- Bake: Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake rolls for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
- Finish with Butter: Immediately brush tops with melted butter after removing from the oven.
- Enjoy rolls warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130Total Fat: 4.5gSodium: 115mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g
Brenda Gantt Yeast Rolls Recipe are the perfect addition to any meal. Their unbelievable soft and fluffy texture comes from her special buttermilk dough recipe. The cloverleaf shape gives them beautiful bakery-style appeal with crispy tops and pillowy bottoms. Brenda’s roll recipe does take a little extra time with the two rise periods but the homemade flavor is well worth the wait.
Surprise your family or guests with a batch of these top-rated yeast rolls. Enjoy them plain or use them to make sandwiches for an easy yet impressive bread.