I have to confess something to you. I actually made these mini challah rolls, not only because they’re cute—because they are pret-ty darn adorable—but also because I had an ulterior motive when making them. I didn’t bake these buns so that I can serve them as dinner rolls, no not at all. Although, that would’ve been a delicious idea all the same. In reality, I made them as a bun for a delicious slider recipe that is coming to the blog really soon. Like coming next week soon. A new slider to the site?! Get excited, it’s kind of a big deal. I didn’t want to just bring you some sliders without giving you a bun recipe to go with it, first. So here we are.
If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you’ll know just how much I happen to love sliders, like these BLT Biscuit Sliders or these Pot Roast Sliders. I’m sort of obsessed, and not in a good way. I’m looking into support groups. I’m especially obsessed with the different types of bread you can use in each, or the different delicious sauces to pair them with. This is one of the reasons why I haven’t just used the same bun recipe over and over again. That sounds boring. I want to give you guys something new and exciting. The great thing, though, is that you can totally swap out the bread and sauces between each slider recipe on the site. It’s all about options, friends. Slider options.
I decided to break this slider post into two parts. Part I being these awesome buns, and Part II being the actual slider recipe itself. I did it to brutally torture you, of course. To drag this delicious recipe on and on. And to keep you guys in suspense. (Insert evil laugh here). I won’t tell you what the sliders will be, because it’s a surprise, and I want you to be surprised, but I will give you a hint, because I’m nice like that. It involves grilled shrimp and green tomatoes and that’s all I’m saying. Let’s make some buns, yeah?
These rolls might seem like a lot of work, because they’re small and braided, but the truth is that they’re actually really easy to make. Just like most doughs, we start by waking up the yeast. Active dry yeast, is asleep and it needs warm liquids to wake it up. So sprinkle the yeast over the water, give it a gentle stir and allow it to rest in a warm place until foamy.
**Tip: I like to place the bowl in the oven (turned off) because I think it’s warm enough to proof bread. If your yeast mixture doesn’t foam up, toss it and start from scratch. It’s important for the yeast to be awaken properly or else the dough won’t rise.**
Add the egg yolks, oil and sugar to the yeast mixture.
Give it a whisk to combine all the ingredients together.
Dump the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour in the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together.
**Note: The dough will look shaggy and not smooth at all, that’s okay. We’re going to knead it until its soft, so just make sure it comes together.**
**Tip: If you don’t want to mix this dough by hand, you can just make it in a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Knead on high for 5 to 7 minutes until it’s smooth and soft. Save yourself the trouble.**
If you’re making this dough by hand, with a wooden spoon, once the dough comes together, dump it onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until it becomes soft and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Place the dough into a greased bowl, turning it over to coat both sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp cloth. Place in a warm spot to rest and double in size, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.
**Tip: Again, just a reminder, you can let the dough rest in a turned off oven, but any warm, draft-free, place will do.**
Once the dough is rested and ready, dump it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for a few seconds. Then cut it into fifteen even pieces. Or if you want bigger rolls, cut fewer pieces.
Cover with a damp towel, so that they don’t dry out. Working with one piece at a time, roll each piece into a long rope. Then braid the rope into itself, creating a braided roll. Continue until all the rolls are braided and shaped.
**Tip: If you don’t want to go through the trouble of braiding the bread, you can just roll them into tight balls, and place them on the baking sheet like that.**
Place the rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Space them out evenly to give them a little room to spread out during baking.
**Note: It’s okay if you fit them all onto one baking sheet. I like when rolls sort of puff up and bake all together.**
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 25 minutes, or just until the oven heats up.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Brush the tops and sides with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or poppy seeds, or coarse salt) if you wish. You can leave them plain, if you prefer.
I like seeded rolls so I just let it rain down sesame seeds.
Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown all around.
Remove the rolls from the oven and allow to rest for at least half an hour before devouring.
**Note: Thirty minutes might seem like a torturous amount of time to have to wait to eat the bread, but the truth is that it’s actually really crucial for challah bread to rest for a bit. When the rolls first come out of the oven, they’re crusty and firm. The resting time, allows the challah rolls to soften and get all light and fluffy.**
Once they’ve rested, you are now ready to dive in, mouth first.
Eat them warm, with a pat of butter, just by themselves or served with dinner. Or use them as buns for sliders or sandwiches!
These rolls are perfect to make ahead and freeze for later. Make the rolls and bake them off. Allow them to cool down completely, and place them in a food storage bag or a freezer-safe airtight container. Then just freeze the rolls. Whenever you’re ready to enjoy a challah roll (or two) you can rewarm them in the oven until soft and heated through. It’s great to have on hand for dinner rolls or sandwiches or slider buns.
Stay tuned for the upcoming slider recipe that I promised you. It’s completely delicious and of course just a tiny bit extravagant. But that’s okay right? Tell me you’re okay with this. I need to hear it. In the meantime, while you wait for said recipe, feel free to start making these buns. If you need to practice before hand, or something. Or you can just make them ahead and keep the buns in the freezer. They’ll be ready to go when the slider post goes up. Enjoy!
- 2 packages (4½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 4 egg yolks
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast. Give it a gentle stir and allow to rest in a warm spot for about 10 minutes, or until foamy and forthy.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, oil, egg yolks, and yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough comes together. It should be shaggy. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead for about 5 to 7 minutes, working in more flour as needed, until it forms into a soft and smooth dough. You can mix and knead the dough in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, if you prefer.
- Form the dough into a ball and place it into a large bowl that has been oiled. Turn the dough over to coat both sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead a couple of times. Cut into 15 even pieces. Cover loosely with a damp towel. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a long rope. Then twist it around and tie it, tucking the ends underneath. Place the braided rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue until all the rolls are braided. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest while the oven heats up.
- Heat oven to 350°F. Brush the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 30 minutes before eating. Will keep at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Can be frozen after baked, as well! Enjoy!
- yields: about 15 rolls