Dark and Soft Restaurant Dinner Rolls

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Recipe for Whole Grain Dark and Soft Restaurant Style Dinner Rolls. These rolls replicate the soft, sweet, deep chocolate-colored rolls served at various restaurants.


  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 1/4 cups traditional whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast


  1. Yield: 10 Large Rolls
  2. Baking Temperature: 350°F
  3. To Prepare the Dough: Combine all the dough ingredients, and mix and knead them -- by hand, by mixer, or bread machine -- until you have a medium soft, smooth dough. Cover and allow the dough to rise until it's quite puffy, though probably not doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  5. To Shape the Rolls: Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Divide the dough into 10 even pieces (about 4 ounces each), and shape the pieces into 5 X 2-inch oval rolls. Place the rolls on the prepared baking sheet, and allow them to rise, covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They won't have doubled in size, but will appear puffy; when you gently press your finger into one, the indentation will rebound quite slowly. Toward the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. To Bake the Rolls: Uncover and Bake the rolls until the bottoms appear slightly browned (you'll have to carefully pick one up to look) or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of a roll reads about 200°F, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven, and cool them on a rack.
  7. Nutritional Information per Serving (1/2 Roll, 52G): 13g whole grains; 141 calories; 3g fat; 4g protein; 20g complex carbohydrates; 6g sugar; 2g dietary fiber; 6mg cholesterol; 189mg sodium; 99mg potassium; 20RE vitamin A; 1mg vitamin C; 1mg iron; 9mg calcium; 71mg phosphorus.
  8. Baking Time: 25 to 30 Minutes