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Delicious Pull-Apart Yeast Rolls

Updated on August 10, 2013

If you have read my previous article on the disaster that was my first attempt at making yeast rolls, you know how important this has been to me. I decided to take a break from it and try some easier bread recipes until I was feeling up to the task again. This weekend, I decided it was time. One can only run from something for so long until it is time to turn and face it head on.

Armed with SAF instant yeast and King Arthur’s unbleached all-purpose flour (my personal favorites) as my medium of choice, I began. The following recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Pull Apart Butter-Buns. The only thing I left out was the dry milk, and that was because I did not have any. Certainly, if you have dry milk, add it.


  • 3 1/2 cups (14.75 oz) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk


1. Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead with an electric mixer on medium for 7 minutes. The dough should be smooth.


  • Do not use more yeast than a recipe calls for in hopes that your dough will rise faster. While it may rise faster, the added yeast will release too much carbon dioxide and alcohol and your dough will fall rather than staying puffy and fluffy.

2. Place the dough ball into a greased container large enough for the dough to double inside. Place a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick spray on top. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free area for about 1 hour. This can take up to 1.5 hours, depending on the warmth of the rising spot. I put mine in the microwave (turned off), and it took about 65 minutes.

3. Near the end of the rise time, grease a 9 x 13 pan or two 8” or 9” round cake pans. I used Crisco for this.

4. After the first-rise, the dough should be very puffy. Gently punch/press it down. At this point, you may find it helpful to weigh the dough ball, especially if you have trouble eyeballing measurements. Mine weighed 800 grams. I was going to make 16 delicious rolls, so I simply divided the dough in half until I had 16 nearly same size balls. You could divide 800 by 16 and weigh each ball individually, but I do not think that is entirely necessary.


  • Work quickly through this process so the dough does not dry out. If you cannot do this quickly, keep all the dough under a piece of greased plastic wrap.
  • Use a silicone mat, if you have one, with a thin layer of shortening or butter on it.
  • Don’t use a knife on your silicone mat!
  • Grease your hands a little too. It makes the process less messy.

5. Once you have 16 same-ish size dough balls, flatten one out a little by pressing on it, then pull the edges together (see the King Arthur blog for pictures of this…I was covered in dough and Crisco at this point and did not want to touch my camera).

Sit the dough ball down on the tucked under part and gently roll it around on the silicon mat on its butt. Place it in the pan.

6. Each round cake pan gets 8 dough balls (7 around the sides—about 1/4” out from the sides, 1 in the middle). If you are using a 9 x 13 pan, just space the dough balls equally around the pan.

7. Cover with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise again for about 1 hour.


  • Do not allow the dough to over-rise. This is something I did not understand in the beginning. Yeast is alive and it is eating your dough. If you let it rise too long, the yeast will have eaten too much and put out too much carbon dioxide and alcohol (yes, alcohol) and when you go to bake your rolls, they will fall flat rather than being fluffy and beautiful.

8. Near the end of the rise time, your dough balls should have expanded and risen. They probably are touching each other. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.


  • Do not adjust the oven temperature unless you know your oven runs a little hot or a little cold compared to normal.
  • Do not put these rolls in until the oven temperature has reached 350 degrees. It seems like it would be faster, but it will only cause problems.

9. Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the pan(s). It may be touching the tops of the rolls. That is okay, just pull it off gently. If the wrap was greased, it should not cause the dough to tear.

10. Bake 22 to 24 minutes on the middle oven rack. Watch them towards the end and take them out when they have begun to brown on top.

11. Brush melted butter all over the hot rolls and allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, if you can stand it!

Eat the rolls!!!

Oh, yes, success!
Oh, yes, success!

Honey Butter

We like our rolls with honey butter. It is so simple.

  • ¼ c. butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Stir until blended.

Leftovers Idea

If there are any leftover rolls, have them for breakfast the next morning. Try this quick, easy breakfast sandwich:

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Split roll
  • Fry egg
  • Place fried egg on bottom half of roll. Top with smoked turkey deli meat and cheddar cheese. Leave the top off, but bake it also.
  • Bake about 5-8 minutes. Assemble sandwiches.

Talk about yummy! I think these would be good with a slice or two of avocado as well.

Thankfully, this time there were no mishaps; nothing caught on fire and the rolls tasted…well, delicious, stupendous, wonderful. Success!


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    • nurseleah profile image

      Leah Wells-Marshburn 5 years ago from West Virginia

      akirchner, that sounds like a great idea! I was too afraid to adapt the recipe since I had not been successful with a yeast roll recipe yet. Now that I know I can do it (shew!), I may try to play around with it. I hope you let us know how your adaptation works out.

    • nurseleah profile image

      Leah Wells-Marshburn 5 years ago from West Virginia

      real-memory, yes, I agree--baking with yeast can be a temperamental thing! I was reading this morning on the King Arthur Flour website, and they said that when you bake bread regularly, your kitchen will become colonized with wild yeast, which will make your yeast doughs more likely to rise fast and with ease. I had not heard that before, but I thought it was interesting. Plus, it's more reason for me to keep on baking breads! Definitely let me know how the recipe works for you. I was so happy to find a yeast roll recipe that worked out!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 5 years ago from Washington

      Oh my that looks like a keeper of a recipe and must try! I will probably add in some oat flour or some whole wheat just for fun to see if it works~ Super recipe with the holidays coming up!

    • profile image

      real-memory-imp 5 years ago

      Sounds wonderful! I'm going to try this recipe. I tried a good bread recipe a few days ago after reading a hub about it and it worked, pretty good (could have been better, but it was edible at least). Tried if a few times since and it's been a disaster. Baking bread has always been this way for me, up and down. I guess I'm doing something wrong, but it seems bread making is a much more 'temperamental' thing you you might think.

      Anyway, I'm going to give this a try. If it works, I'll let you know.