One of my favorite parts about breads – especially homemade bread – is the crispy crust that forms in the oven, but a crispy-crust bread isn’t always ideal for all applications. Sandwiches and hamburgers, for instance, usually do better with something a little softer. I love my standard hamburger bun recipes, but lately, I’ve been on a bit of a mission to come up with a new recipe for soft sandwich rolls that keep well and don’t involve a ton of fat (since, if I wanted my sandwich on challah or brioche, I could always just go with that to begin with).
I decided to experiment with yogurt in my bread because it often contributes a nice tenderness to baked goods. It didn’t take long for me to realize that yogurt was a very good idea. The rolls turned out to be soft and moist on the inside, with a soft crust – a classic sandwich roll-type crust that is easy to bite into and doesn’t shatter into a million crumbs with each bite. The crumb of the bread is open enough to soak up juice from, say, a nice piece of hot roast beef, but is sturdy enough to hold your average cold sandwich – with mayo and mustard – for hours without getting soggy. They have a very mild, slightly sweet flavor that will go with any filling you might come up with.
I feel that I should also note that there is no dairy in these rolls other than the yogurt, and this makes them a great choice if you (or the person you’re baking for) are lactose intolerant. The bacteria used to turn milk to yogurt feed off lactose, so it shouldn’t upset any stomachs, while still giving you the soft texture and nice flavor of your average made-with-butter-and-milk soft sandwich roll.
The amount of flour you need will depend completely on how thick your yogurt is, so don’t worry if you don’t use the exact amount I’ve specified below. I used my go-to yogurt of choice: a thick, nonfat, Greek-style yogurt. It is about 50% thicker thick than your average plain yogurt and has a nice tang to it. The tanginess doesn’t really translate straight to the rolls, much like using buttermilk in a bread or cake doesn’t leave you with the sharp tang of buttermilk – however, both add tenderness to the finished products.
The rolls can be cut in half to make dinner rolls, too. You will probably have to cut the baking time down by 5 minutes if you chose to go this route. Fortunately color is a reliable indicator of doneness for these, so just take a peek in the oven every now and again and you should be fine. The rolls will keep for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container, so if you bake a batch on Sunday, they should still be just fine for sandwiches on Tuesday or Wednesday. I can’t guarantee they’ll last that long, since they’re also excellent with butter and jam and make a nice addition to breakfast, as well.
Soft Yogurt Sandwich Rolls
3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
3 tbsp honey
1 cup water, warm (100-110F)
1 cup yogurt (nonfat/lowfat is fine; I used Greek-style)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, the active dry yeast, the honey and the warm water. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes, until slightly foamy.
Stir in yogurt, vegetable oil, salt and 2 cups of the remaining flour. Gradually stir in more flour until you have a soft dough that sticks together pulls away from the sides of the bowl (This can all be done in a stand mixer with the dough-hook attached, as well).
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding additional flour if necessary to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, or about 5 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Turn risen dough out of bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate, pressing into a rectangle. Divide dough into 10 even pieces with a board scraper or a pizza cutter. Shape each piece into a round roll. To do this, take all the corners of one of the squarish pieces you just cut and pull them together, pinching them to create a seal. This will pull the rest of the dough “tight” across the top of your roll, giving you a smooth top. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Once all rolls have been formed, press down firmly on each one to flatten. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 25 minutes.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until rolls are deep golden on the top and the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack.
Store in an airtight container.
Makes 10 rolls.
NicoleJune 24, 2009
Marjorie – There already is a printer friendly option. Just click “Print this post” at the bottom of the post and you should be good to go!
melissaJuly 16, 2009
just what i was looking for, thnak you!
GinnyJuly 21, 2009
Just wanted to tell you that I have been looking for *the* sandwich roll recipe – and this is it! Thank you so much – I’ve already made them twice since discovering the recipe last week (once into hoagie rolls, another into hamburger buns). Fabulous recipe!
AnnieSeptember 24, 2009
With so many good comments, I have to try this recipe! Just one question though, can I replace the honey with white sugar?
NicoleSeptember 24, 2009
Annie – Yes, you can, but honey will help keep the rolls a bit softer (fresher tasting) for longer than sugar will, so the rolls may keep for an extra day or two if you use honey.
AnnieOctober 3, 2009
Thanks for your response Nicole. I hv made the rolls and it’s YUMMIASTIC! I know there’s no such word but that’s what my huvvy told me after he took the first bite. Haa. I used 2tbsp sugar instead of honey, and 1cup of turkish yogurt (easy for me to find as I am staying in Istanbul). I am new to baking bread and it’ll stay on my to do list for a long while from now. Wish me luck.
PriyankaOctober 7, 2009
Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I was searching desperately for a soft sandwich roll recipe and tried various recipes only to get chewy texture bread! But this one is so perfect! The final texture of bread is exactly what i always thought of learning to make.
I tried making rolls and also a bread loaf and both were too good. The yogurt makes them taste great!
Thanks once again!
sheilaOctober 25, 2009
hi Nicole, Since I first tried your recipe, I’ve been making them again and again! They’re so incredibly delicious!!! I just made a batch last night with lavender honey, and the little bit of lavender scent and flavor gives the bread a lovely aroma and taste. 🙂 Thanks so much for posting the recipe! 🙂
DawnDecember 28, 2009
Trying using bread flour also will egg wash & sprinkle with poppyseed…I’ll let you know!
DixieJanuary 12, 2010
Hmm. My doughs always seem to come out wet. I used 4 1/2 cups of flour and thought the dough seemed OK, but once it had risen it was wet and sticky (too wet to cover the buns with a towel to rise again). But they taste great. I’ll just have to try again.
NADMarch 16, 2010
thank you for sharing this beautiful recipe but please i have a question what is the exact amonut of flour 3 1/2 or 4 1/2? thank you
CinPMay 16, 2010
Wow. Just made these… first time making dinner rolls. At first, I wasn’t convinced about being able to pinch the corners back to create decent shapes but man do these look great and taste even better! Can’t wait to try out the cinnamon raisin english muffin recipe from this site! 🙂
RachelJuly 22, 2010
These are officially my new roll recipe. These are great for a lot of things, I even used them as hot dog buns (and they were fantastic, far better than the store bought kind). Thanks so much for sharing!
FrancesApril 3, 2011
Hi Nicole, this was my first time making a yeast bread. My rolls came out a little heavy and not really fluffy on the inside. Of course the only thing I can relate to is store bought rolls and maybe I shouldn’t be relating to them! Maybe I played too much with when forming the balls – any idea? The taste was fabulous though and I didn’t even mind the texture. Will try again as I know it takes time to be good at making home made bread. Also, i just love your blog …. So many great things to try!
hollyJune 22, 2011
To any readers: If you’ve googled yourself sick, kneaded yourself weary and waited for eternity to find a burger bun/roll recipe that isn’t dense or thick or stubbornly stagnant, look no further. this is it!!!! My dough wouldn’t stop growing. I kneaded by hand and felt the strength and elasticity of the dough was incredible. The buns are super soft as promised, light and airy without being substanceless. Thank you!!!!!!
EmilyJuly 12, 2011
This is the most amazing recipe. It went perfectly with my pulled pork for the 4th of July…and the dough would not stop growing. I ended up using half sour cream and half yogurt because I ran out of plain greek yogurt — it still turned out perfectly. I used the other half of the dough to make cinnamon rolls, which turned out beautifully. I filled them with a filling of butter, cinnamon and cocoa (the proportions from Dorie’s cinnamon raisin bread). I glazed them with a frosting of melted butter and confectionary sugar — I highly recommend using any leftovers for cinnamon rolls…we devoured them in no time! thank you so much for the recipe!!
Jenny C.August 24, 2011
I am planning on making these today because they look so yummy. I was wondering, however, if anyone has tried the recipe with wheat flour? I was thinking half wheat/half white, just to make them a little bit healthier.
foodiebakerNovember 29, 2011
I’m new so I don’t know if I need to do this but I took your recipe and adapted it a little and the recipe’s on my site! Am I supposed to wait for your approval or something? Sorry if I did something wrong!
MelodieJanuary 1, 2012
Question:Why is the oven turned on so early in the process?You don’t let them rise in a 375 degree oven do you?
MelodieJanuary 1, 2012
Emily where can I find a recipe for Dorie’s cinnamon raisin bread filling?Sounds wonderful!
JennyJanuary 4, 2012
hi, thanks for posting this delicious looking bread. I have a question concerning the role of eggs in making soft pillowy breads. some recipes call for eggs to make the dough extra soft and some without in order to achieve the same outcome. Based on your knowledge, what do u think is the role of egg in recipes for soft and fluffy buns and rolls?
JadieMay 16, 2012
These rolls are delicious! I just made them and even just the smell of them baking is unbelievable! I ended up having to use about 1/2 cup more flour but that could’ve been because the store was out of greek yogurt and I ended up using plain non-fat yogurt. They are soft and light on the inside and have a tiny bit of tang. No surprise yet another wonderful recipe from this site. Thank you Nicole for sharing!
CatalinaMay 24, 2012
I’ve done this recipe twice and both turned out soooo goood!! Thank you!!
GGFebruary 27, 2013
I love your recipe. It’s easy, and has made my time soo easy. It’s now in the oven and it’s my first try! wish me luck!
GeetaApril 22, 2013
These bun recipe is the best recipe…….I made mine today n it was a big success. It is so fluffy inside……..melted butter n jam yummooooooo….divine..
I used 4 cups of white flour. Can we use whole meal flour to do it too……
Thanks to the author……..the buns feel like been bought from bakery…..superb….
GeetaApril 22, 2013
And I used a Bread machine to do it…..and baked other in oven…..
Rachel RinehimerMay 2, 2013
Oh my goodness….thank you so much for this recipe!!!
I have spent tons of time (and have wasted tons of ingredients) in my search for a soft, chewy sandwich roll recipe that uses yogurt–and these rolls are PERFECT!!
I only had vanilla yogurt in the fridge, but I decided to take the chance and use it anyway (why not, right?!)—so I halved the amount of honey (I was a little worried that the rolls would end up tasting like vanilla, but they didn’t at all!). I also substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour for one of the cups of white flour, and I added 1 teaspoon of vital wheat gluten as an aid for the whole wheat flour.
These rolls came out with that perfect soft, chewy texture that I love, and my house smelled delicious while they were baking. I didn’t even wait for them to cool down, but ate one right away (with hard salami, cheese, and lots of mayo) for my lunch. It was scrumptious! 🙂
Thanks again for sharing this recipe! Your instructions were so clear and easy to follow, and I can see a lot of these rolls in my future (but first, I must go to the grocery store and buy some plain yogurt! LOL)!! 🙂
God Bless 🙂
RabiyaJanuary 8, 2017
Just made these today. I have made different breads and rolls before. I found I needed the maximum amount of flour and quite a few tablespoons of oil. It was still sticky but manageable. Rose great no problem, and baked beautifully. My little one is already eating a piece. Great results just needed to tweak the measurements.