This sourdough dinner roll is everything a good dinner roll should be- soft, squishy, and the perfect vehicle for sopping up savory meat juices on your plate. How did I end up making a big batch of sourdough dinner rolls? Well it had everything to do with an abundance of wild yeast, or in my case- yeast gone wild.

When I jumped back on the Bread Baker’s Apprentice bread baking bandwagon I was faced with the challenge of creating my own sourdough starter from scratch. My previous starter met certain death when left on my counter to starve in the summer heat. After a few failed attempts, I finally managed to get a new colony of wild yeast to set up camp in my ceramic jar. Yet as I worked to create the proper environment (the right balance of water and flour) for a vigorous starter, I misjudged the size of my container. Anyone who has worked with sourdough starter before knows what is coming next. You feed the starter at night and go to bed with everything hunky dory. Then, in the morning you awake to find that a volcano of sourdough starter has erupted from your container and spilled with abandon onto the counter and anything else nearby, leaving trails of dried dough in its wake. Coffee-free mornings are challenging enough right now- having to scrub hardened bits of starter off a large surface doesn’t help matters!

But! There is an upside- and that upside is an ample amount of vigorous sourdough starter ready to be made into rolls, bread, pancakes (I have made these no less than 20 times- they are my absolute favorite!), or anything else you can dream up. With big holiday feasts and lots of comfort food filling the calendar, it was the perfect time to make sourdough rolls.

This is a simple recipe which comes together quickly (aside from the rising time), and results in an iconic dinner roll with the added benefit of an underlying sourdough tang. When the warm rolls are pulled apart a fluffy interior begs for a pat of butter, a drizzle of gravy, or even a smear of raspberry jam. If you are faced with a volcano of sourdough starter or just want to add a special homemade twist to traditional dinner rolls, these sourdough dinner rolls are an easy solution.

Sourdough Dinner Rolls (Printable Recipe)
Adapted from
Makes 12-16 Rolls

1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 cups flour (do not use bread flour, the rolls will be too tough)
butter, melted


Make Dough
In a large bowl, stir together sourdough starter, warm water, yeast, salt, sugar, and oil. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, until the dough is dry enough to knead (it should still be slightly sticky). Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is tacky but not sticky and reaches a temperature of 78-80 degrees. Place the dough in a clean large bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking oil, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough double in size.

Bake the Rolls
When the dough has doubled, punch it down with lightly floured hands. Divide the dough into rolls, each approximately the size of a tennis ball. Lightly oil a 9×13 pan. Set the rolls into the pan and let them rise until doubled. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle. Once the rolls have doubled place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of baking, brush the tops with melted butter and return them to the oven. The rolls are done when they are lightly brown on top.

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