Those of us who maintain a sourdough starter generally bake crusty, lean, French-style breads. But soft, enriched breads like these dinner rolls are a great way to use your starter, too. And they're easier—since baking them is free of the difficulties that usually come with making crusty sourdough like baking stones and cast-iron pots.
That said, here are a few words about technique. The stretch and fold technique mentioned below is an incredibly useful skill to hone as a home baker. That's because as wonderful as your stand mixer is, it just isn’t the best tool for properly developing your dough fully. Giving your dough a fold or two after it has rested from the mixer will result in a stronger dough that holds air better and is easier to handle.
Before getting started, take that old tired sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and give it some love. Feed it regularly for a few days and soon it will be busily bubbling away, ready to love you back with the gift of these soft, naturally-fermented dinner rolls.
- 450 grams bread flour
- 250 grams milk (at room temperature)
- 150 grams active sourdough starter
- 50 grams butter (softened)
- 35 grams sugar
- 10 grams salt
- 1 large egg
Gather the ingredients. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
Put all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed until mostly combined, about 2 minutes, then switch to second or third speed (it should be vigorous but not fast) and mix for 4 to 5 more minutes. The dough should be smooth and soft. It's fine if it is a bit sticky.
With a dough scraper, transfer the dough to wider, shallower bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or a plastic bag. Rest for 20 minutes, then give the dough a stretch and fold. Ferment the dough at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours then refrigerate for 12 to 16 hours.
Divide the cold dough into twelve pieces, about 80 grams each. Shape each piece into a ball and place them in a single layer in the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about two hours in a warm place (around 80 to 85 F is ideal, but temps above 65 F are also fine) until the dough has increased to roughly 1 1/2 times its original volume.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until well browned.
Serve warm if you like. Allow to cool before storing.
- Keep in a covered container for up to four or five days, or freeze in a well-sealed bag for up to six months.