Surprise! You don't need a fancy bread machine or a complicated recipe to make your own French Rolls at home. This is what I learned while preparing these No-Knead French Rolls from Sunset. This is clearly a vintage recipe from April 1997 but it's not hard to see why it has stood the test of time. With only 5 ingredients, most of which you probably already have in the pantry, you are ready to bake. The only ingredient I didn't have on-hand was the active dry yeast packet. This ingredient comes in packages of 3 and is inexpensive so I am already prepared to tackle the next bread making adventure.
Flour, butter, sugar, salt, yeast - pretty simple right? When you buy bread at the grocery, the ingredients are never this simple so it gives me great pleasure to know what I am eating (and be able to pronounce all of the ingredients). I quickly melted the butter in the microwave and mixed in the sugar, salt and yeast.
After letting that mixture stand for 5 minutes, I added in the flour, combined well, and left the dough to rise and the yeast to perform its magic for about an hour. The most time-consuming part of this recipe is waiting for the dough to properly rise. Mixing the ingredients is a breeze and even portioning the dough was super easy and fast.
Don't forget to cover your dough with some plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place to rise. I discovered that leaving the bowl near the preheating oven really helped the dough rise like it needed to. Also, don't over stir or overwork the dough. There really is no need to knead!
The dough was super sticky when I went to divide it so I recommend using a good amount of flour on your board. This keeps the dough from sticking to your hands and makes it so much easier to manage. I divided the dough into 16 portions and rolled them into "sort-of" balls. I covered with more plastic and waited to let them double in size before popping them in the oven for 18 minutes.
I was skeptical about these rolls as I was making them but I loved the result. They came out of the oven lightly browned and firm on the outside, yet soft and fluffy on the inside. Much like a good French Roll should be! My husband and I enjoyed these rolls with jam and eggs for breakfast and again the next day as slider buns for little turkey and cheese sandwiches. You could even make this bread for a holiday meal and I promise you'll see the bread basket being passed all around the table!