Pumpkin is a great addition to yeast breads and rolls because it adds a lot of moisture that keeps the breads nice and soft. It also adds a subtle and slightly sweet flavor to the bread, too. These Browned Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls get both of these benefits from the pumpkin puree in the recipe, as well as gaining just a little bit of heartiness that makes these dinner rolls both tasty and satisfying. They are great with all kinds of soups and chilis, and they go especially with with big roasts (like a turkey dinner!) because they sop of gravy very, very well.
The browned butter is also an important component of this recipe. Melted butter could be used instead, but browned butter has a slightly nutty flavor that makes the rolls a little more unique – and just a little more irresistible. When you brown the butter, whether you do it on the stovetop or in the microwave, brown a little extra butter than is called for in the dough and set it aside. Use this extra butter to brush the tops of the rolls before and after baking to give them a little extra flavor and a nice finish.
The amount of flour in these rolls is approximate for two reasons. First, your climate can have a big impact on how much water your dough will need. Second, the consistency of your pumpkin puree can bring more or less moisture to the dough. If your puree has more water, you may need to add a little more flour than the recipe calls for, so be flexible and add a little more flour as needed to get the dough nice and elastic. The rolls can be shaped in to any size. You can also bake the individually, on a baking sheet, instead of all together in a baking dish as I have done. I personally like the “pull apart” style of dinner roll, and baking the rolls in a baking dish also means that you don’t need to be an expert at shaping dough into rolls to get great results.
These rolls keep very well for several days when kept well-wrapped, so they can be made a day or so in advance of serving them.
Browned Butter Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
2 1/2 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups water, warm (110F)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup browned butter, melted and cooled – divided
4-5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2 tsp salt
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar and half of the warm water. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, until mixture is foamy.
Add in remaining water, pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup of the browned butter and 2 cups of the flour. Stir well. Add in the salt. Gradually add in the remaining flour, stirring until the dough comes together into a slightly sticky ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This can also be done in the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. If using a dough hook, you can knead on medium-low speed for 3-4 minutes.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently punch dough down into a large rectangle. Divide dough, using a knife or a bench scraper, into 15 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.
Arrange dough balls in a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking dish, making three rows of five dough balls each.
Let dough rise for 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Brush dough balls with some of the remaining browned butter (reheat it in the microwave, if necessary).
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until rolls are golden brown. An internal read thermometer inserted into the center of the rolls should come out reading 195-200F.
Brush rolls with remaining browned butter again when they come out of the oven. Allow to cool before serving.
Makes 15 rolls.