Bread Rolls

By making your own rolls at home you really start to get some economic benefits. We're going to start by turning that first batch of dough you made from a few weeks ago into rolls. A standard morning roll weighs about 80g, which means you'll get at least 10 of them from your dough. Remember our unit cost of £0.85? On Sainsbury's website today I see rolls priced at £0.35 each. These won't be the most exciting rolls, but let's learn to walk before we can run, by getting the technique right.

Tip 1 - weigh the bloody things. You may think you have an expert eye - as I did - but with dough that's a skill given to relatively few. Get your scales out, and a small board to put on top. Divide your lump of dough into two. Weigh the halves. Roll that lump into a sausage shape, then cut into five sections. Weigh each one, and chuckle about how far out you were. Adjust the weight of each piece. Allow a tolerance of plus or minus 5%.

Tip 2 - learn how to roll properly. To start we're just going for a standard ball shape here. You can get fancy later. Using two hands, roll each piece into a rough ball. Put the roughest side on the surface and cup your hand on top. Roll round and round until you have a smooth, roll shaped ball. See here for a demonstration. Generously flour a baking tray (or use a silicon mat) and pop the rolls on. Allow about half an hour for the second prove - they should roughly double in size.

You can drizzle with water or wipe with beaten egg, or you can dust with flour, depending on what sort of finish you want. Rolls that size will need about 18 minutes at 230ºC/Mark 8. Remember to make sure your oven is hot before the rolls go in.

Now these will be quite solid. Unless you are planning on scoffing them all quite quickly, I wouldn't use this method for breakfast rolls. BUT it's the base for elegant little dinner rolls which will impress your guests. I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked where I buy these. It looks good in a bread basket if you make equal quantities of each.

Seeded Dinner Rolls


Bread dough as per base recipe: quantity of sesame seeds and poppy seeds; water.


Take your dough and make 16 rolls - about 52g each. Put generous quantities of the sesame and poppy seeds in separate bowls (or make one lot, then clean the bowl and insert the other seeds). Shape your rolls as before. Dunk the top of each half (the neat bit) in a bowl of cold water then put the wet side in the seeds, trying to ensure a nice even coating. Place on the baking tray. Try to keep them upright. If they list to one side the seeds may fall off and they'll look less professional.

Leave for the second prove and bake as above. These will need about 15 minutes, but you want a nice pale golden colour.

If you want something more akin to a baker's morning rolls, try

Anne Hillerton

Anne Hillerton's Milk Rolls

Be warned that at some stage in the kneading process, this dough will get a bit sticky. Just keep going and remember those wise words, show the dough who's boss.


450 g white bread flour' 10g salt; 8g sugar; 7g fast action dried yeast; 300 ml milk; 50g butter.


Cut the butter from the fridge into chunks approximately 1.5cm square. Pop into a jug with the milk and microwave to hand warm temperature. Stir. The butter doesn't have to be completely melted.

Stir to mix but note that the butter doesn’t have to be completely dissolved in the milk. Knead as per previous recipes for about 10 minutes, then leave to prove in a covered bowl. (Doubling in size/ a good two hours etc, etc)

Knock back lightly and knead for another five minutes divide into pieces, 70 or 80g per roll according to your choice. Allow time for the second prove as above

Pre heat oven to 200ºC/Mark 6. Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes, according to size and your oven.

As soon as removed from the oven, put on a wire tray half covered by tea towel, and wrap other half over.

Leave wrapped if eating that day.


  1. Lj on 10th March 2023 at 9:19 pm

    Love Anne’s rolls

  2. Pat M on 10th March 2023 at 10:42 pm

    Tom you are right. But Lidl sell 6 morning rolls for 75p. No contest if you’re a busy Mum with school lunch boxes to prepare! Kneading dough is a great therapeutic thing when annoyed though!

  3. Colin Boyle on 12th March 2023 at 11:43 pm

    Went out for a Baynes morning roll,they are world class, made in Fife, astonished at being down 38p in the pocket and outside 30p Lee, the Tory MP’s menu. They are superb though but have to be eaten same day. Lucky to get a Lidls rustic sourdough, just out the oven, five buttered slices with an urnful of tea later was fully nourished.

    • Tom Johnston on 13th March 2023 at 8:19 am

      Totally agree about Bayne’s rolls, Colin. We now have a branch in Edinburgh, on Queensferry Road next to Majestic where I buy my everyday plonk. Whrn there I have to try to resist nipping in for an egg roll or a Scotch pie. Sometimes succeed.

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