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How to Make Easy Cloverleaf Dinner Yeast Rolls

Updated on March 18, 2016

Homemade Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

Beautiful Cloverleaf Rolls straight from the oven.
Beautiful Cloverleaf Rolls straight from the oven. | Source
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The Beauty of the Dinner Roll

In my house, dinner rolls are one of the most important things that hit the table every evening. My husband is a beef, potato and bread kinda man so one of the first things that I had to learn how to make from scratch was the coveted dinner roll.

These rolls have just the right amount of sweetness to them. They are light and airy with an almost melt in your mouth center. The outside of the rolls are firm and since they are brushed with butter straight out of the oven, they have that wonderful buttery taste that melts right into the bread.

We do cloverleaf rolls because they can be pulled apart during the meal and each leaf can be buttered on its own. This makes these rolls a fantastic companion to stews and soups because each leaf is the perfect finger size for soaking up that fantastic broth.

This recipe is made using a stand mixer to knead the dough but it can also be kneaded by hand. If you are hand kneading I have to forewarn you that it will require approximately 10 minutes of kneading in order to get the dough to the softness that is needed. I made these by hand a few times before finally caving and purchasing the stand up mixer. It's easier with the stand mixer but not impossible to do by hand.

Ingredients to Make the Dinner Rolls

Source

It's All in the Rising Time

Prep time: 1 hour 50 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 2 hours 10 min
Yields: 12 Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

There is approximately 90 minutes of rising time involved in making these rolls and about 20 minutes of actual hands on time.

Ingredients List

  • 1 cup Milk, local or organic if you can get it
  • 1 package Yeast
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar, organic or sugar cane are ideal
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt, use sea salt if you have it
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 more tablespoons butter, for brushing after baking
  • drizzle olive oil, for coating the bowl while rising

How to Make the Rolls

  1. Cut the butter into chunks. Put the milk and butter into a saucepan and turn the heat to low/medium on the stove. You want to heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm, no warmer than 120 degrees or you will kill the yeast.
  2. Once the milk and butter is warmed up, pour it into your mixer bowl (you'll want to have the dough hook attachment already on the mixer) and add the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes until the yeast is bubbly. This is the yeast's way of letting you know that it is alive!
  3. While the yeast is waking up, mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer on low and add the egg yolks.
  5. Start slowly adding the flour mixture until it is just mixed in with the milk and butter. Once you have all of the flour mixture in and it is incorporated, turn the mixer speed up to medium high for approximately five minutes and allow the mixer to knead the dough for you.
  6. You'll know it is finished when the dough looks smooth and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. It's not going to look too pretty until you knead it a couple of times by hand. It should be soft and smooth after you knead it a few times. Form the dough into a ball.
  8. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of a bowl and give it a good smear with your fingers up the sides of the bowl. Drop the dough, top side down, and flip it over. This will give the top of the dough a thin coating of oil so it doesn't dry out while rising.
  9. Cover the bowl and put it into a warm place to rise for an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  10. Once the hour is up, punch the dough down and divide it into two equal pieces. Then divide each half into six equal pieces. Then divide each piece into three equal pieces. You should end up with 36 equal pieces of dough. If you are freezing any of the dough for future use, this is where you set those pieces aside for freezing.
  11. Grease the bottoms and sides of each of the cups in a 12 hole muffin tin.
  12. Form each of the dough pieces into a ball and put three balls into each of the muffin holes in the tin.
  13. Loosely cover the muffin tin with plastic wrap and set it aside to rise again for at least 30 minutes or until the rolls have doubled in size.
  14. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Once the rolls have finished rising, remove the plastic wrap and set the pan on the rack in the middle of your oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
  15. The rolls are done when they are a dark golden brown on the top. They will rise more in the oven as they begin to cook so they will be larger than what they were when they went into the oven.
  16. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and keep them someplace warm until time to serve.
  17. Pull them apart, add butter and enjoy!

Make Homemade Yeast Dinner Rolls... In Photos

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Warm the butter and milk in a saucepan on the stove.Pour it into a mixer bowl that has the dough hook attachment ready and add the yeast.  Wait a few minutes for the yeast to bubble.Add the egg yolks and turn the mixer on low.  Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add them to the milk/butter/yeast in the bowl.Put the mixer speed on medium/high and allow it to work the dough for about 5 minutes...It will start to pull away from the sides.Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead it a few times until it is soft and smooth.Add a bit of olive oil to the bottom of a bowl and smear it around the inside of the bowl.Put the dough in the bowl top side down then flip it over so the top is coated with oil.  Cover the bowl and set it in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until it has at least doubled in size.Once it has risen, divide the dough in half.  Then divide each half into six pieces then divide each of those pieces into three equal pieces.  You should have 36 pieces.  Form all of the pieces into balls.Butter the bottoms and sides of each of the cups in a 12 count muffin tin.  Place three dough balls into each cup.Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes to rise, or until the rolls have doubled in size.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.  The rolls will be dark brown on the top when done.  Pull them out of the oven and brush with melted butter.
Warm the butter and milk in a saucepan on the stove.
Warm the butter and milk in a saucepan on the stove. | Source
Pour it into a mixer bowl that has the dough hook attachment ready and add the yeast.  Wait a few minutes for the yeast to bubble.
Pour it into a mixer bowl that has the dough hook attachment ready and add the yeast. Wait a few minutes for the yeast to bubble. | Source
Add the egg yolks and turn the mixer on low.  Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add them to the milk/butter/yeast in the bowl.
Add the egg yolks and turn the mixer on low. Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add them to the milk/butter/yeast in the bowl. | Source
Put the mixer speed on medium/high and allow it to work the dough for about 5 minutes...
Put the mixer speed on medium/high and allow it to work the dough for about 5 minutes... | Source
It will start to pull away from the sides.
It will start to pull away from the sides. | Source
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead it a few times until it is soft and smooth.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Knead it a few times until it is soft and smooth. | Source
Add a bit of olive oil to the bottom of a bowl and smear it around the inside of the bowl.
Add a bit of olive oil to the bottom of a bowl and smear it around the inside of the bowl. | Source
Put the dough in the bowl top side down then flip it over so the top is coated with oil.  Cover the bowl and set it in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until it has at least doubled in size.
Put the dough in the bowl top side down then flip it over so the top is coated with oil. Cover the bowl and set it in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until it has at least doubled in size. | Source
Once it has risen, divide the dough in half.  Then divide each half into six pieces then divide each of those pieces into three equal pieces.  You should have 36 pieces.  Form all of the pieces into balls.
Once it has risen, divide the dough in half. Then divide each half into six pieces then divide each of those pieces into three equal pieces. You should have 36 pieces. Form all of the pieces into balls. | Source
Butter the bottoms and sides of each of the cups in a 12 count muffin tin.  Place three dough balls into each cup.
Butter the bottoms and sides of each of the cups in a 12 count muffin tin. Place three dough balls into each cup. | Source
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes to rise, or until the rolls have doubled in size.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes to rise, or until the rolls have doubled in size. | Source
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.  The rolls will be dark brown on the top when done.  Pull them out of the oven and brush with melted butter.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. The rolls will be dark brown on the top when done. Pull them out of the oven and brush with melted butter. | Source

Adding Herbs to the Rolls

You can create variety in these finished dinner rolls by easily and quickly adding herbs to the dough. One of my favorite herbs to add to the rolls is garlic. It adds a bit of a zing to the finished product but almost any herb can easily be incorporated into these fantastic dinner rolls.

You can also add the herbs to the butter for the brushing at the end for a more subtle touch. A nice hint of rosemary, sage or garlic provides a nice change from the every day, plain Jane yeast roll.

To add herbs to the dough:

  • First decide what herb(s) you want to add. Rosemary holds up very well in this recipe along with garlic and basil. Tailor your herb choices for what the rolls will be eaten with.
  • I mix the chosen herbs into the flour mixture as the rolls are being made.
  • Another choice for a subtle hint of herb is to lightly brush each ball with egg white and roll the ball in the dried herb before putting it into the pan for baking. This could add the twist of using three different varieties on one roll, each leaf being a different flavor.

You can experiment any way you want and that's one of the beautiful things about cooking at home. Sometimes you miss but sometimes you hit that fantastic home run that makes other people ask how in the heck did you do that?

5 Reasons to Make Your Own Breads at Home

  • Ingredients: If you have never read the ingredients label on a package of store bought rolls, you should. If you don't know what an ingredient is, put it back and make your own!
  • Freezing: These rolls freeze VERY well.
  • Variety: You can add different things to the dough to change them up.
  • Choice: Use wheat, white, rye... any type of flour you want to make the type of roll you like best.
  • Freshness: There are few things on Earth that taste better than homemade rolls straight out of the oven that are made without additives and preservatives.

How to Freeze Homemade Yeast Rolls

If you only need a few of these rolls, you can make a batch to use what you need and freeze the rest for a later date. Here's how you do it:

  • Follow the directions for making the batch of yeast dough.
  • Let the entire batch of dough go through the first 1 hour rise.
  • Form the balls for the dozen rolls but only put the number of rolls together in the pan that you will need. For example, if you only want to make four rolls then you will only use 12 of the balls, three in each muffin pan cup.
  • Place the rest of the formed yeast balls on a cookie sheet that will fit into your freezer and put them into the freezer until they are frozen through. This usually takes a few hours.
  • Once the balls are frozen, put them into a plastic freezer bag, label the bag and put it into the freezer.
  • To use the dough, take the number of balls out that you will need for the number of rolls that you want (three for each roll) and put them into the muffin pan cups.
  • Allow the dough to thaw and rise until the rolls have at least doubled in size. Depending on the temp in the room this could take from three to five hours.
  • Bake like you did the original batch.

Fresh out of the oven and 30 seconds away from being devoured!
Fresh out of the oven and 30 seconds away from being devoured! | Source

I hope you try this recipe and explore the different options with it. Baking bread at home is a fantastic experience and the best part about it is that you get to reap the rewards and the rewards are good.

© 2013 Helena Ricketts

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    • profile image

      Hanh huynh 2 weeks ago

      It 's look beautiful and delicious . I will try to make this soon, but I wonder how many gr in 1 package yeast ? Please. Thank you.

    • Helena Ricketts profile image
      Author

      Helena Ricketts 3 years ago from Indiana

      I didn't catch that, thank you for letting me know! I've corrected the omission. It is 1/3 cup of butter. :)

    • profile image

      Ningsih Rahayu 3 years ago

      it's look a delicous, thanks for recipe...

    • JohnfrmCleveland profile image

      John 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I think your ingredient list is missing the butter. Is it a whole stick that you melt into the milk? Thanks.

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 3 years ago

      Those rolls look so delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      These look wonderful. Will try these for the upcoming holiday dinners. Shared around.

    • Helena Ricketts profile image
      Author

      Helena Ricketts 3 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks! :)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      unique recipe

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