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Super soft sourdough dinner rolls

Super Soft Sourdough Rolls (with Tangzhong) Recipe

  • Author: Maurizio Leo
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 16 rolls
  • Category: Buns, Rolls
  • Cuisine: American


These super soft sourdough rolls are the perfect accompaniment to any dinner table (especially Thanksgiving!). They’re slightly buttery, a little sweet, ultra-tender, and the perfect counterpart for soups, stews, and any holiday meal.



  • 74g medium-protein bread flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 74g water
  • 30g ripe sourdough starter, 100% hydration


  • 41 grams medium-protein bread flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 166 grams whole milk

Main Dough

  • All the tangzhong
  • 328g medium-protein bread flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 148g high-protein bread flour (bread flour)
  • 95g butter, unsalted
  • 38g sugar, caster
  • 181g water
  • 11g salt
  • All the levain


  1. Prepare levain (Day One, 9:00 p.m.)
    Mix the following ingredients in a container and leave covered to ripen at about 77°F (25°C) for 12 hours overnight.
  2. Pre-cook flour (Day Two, 8:00 a.m.)
    To a medium saucepan, add the tangzhong flour and milk. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens and becomes like a paste, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Mix (9:00 a.m.)
    Cut the butter into 1/2″ pats. Set them on a plate to warm to room temperature. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the water, flour, ripe levain, sugar, tangzhong, and salt. Mix on low speed (STIR on a KitchenAid) for 1 to 2 minutes until the ingredients come together and no dry bits remain. Increase the mixer speed to medium (2 on a KitchenAid) and mix for 4 to 5 minutes until the dough starts to strengthen and clump around the dough hook. It won’t completely remove from the bottom of the bowl, and it will still be shaggy. Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the room temperature butter, one pat at a time, waiting to add each pat until the previous one is fully absorbed. Adding all the butter will take 5 to 8 minutes. After this time, mix on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes until the dough smooths and clings to the dough hook. In the end, the dough will still be very soft, and it will not completely remove from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a bulk fermentation container and cover.
  4. Bulk fermentation (9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.)
    Give the dough 3 sets of stretch and folds at 30-minute intervals, where the first set starts 30 minutes after the start of bulk fermentation.
  5. Chill dough (1:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.)
    Place the bulk fermentation container, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to make shaping easier.
  6. Shape (1:15 p.m.)
    Butter your pan. Divide the dough into sixteen 70g pieces (or fourteen 85g pieces for larger rolls) and shape each as a very tight ball. Place the balls in the buttered pan to proof.
  7. Proof (1:45 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.)
    Cover the pan with dough and let proof for 2 1/2 hours.
  8. Bake (4:15 p.m.)
    Preheat your oven to 400°F (220°C). Whisk together one egg and a splash of whole milk for the egg wash. When oven is preheated, brush on the egg wash and bake for 20 minutes. Then, rotate the pan 180° in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C). Bake for an additional 20 minutes until the tops are well-colored and the rolls have reached around 204°F (95°C). Remove from the oven and let cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes. Then knock the rolls out to cool on a wire rack. Let rest for 30 minutes, then enjoy.


Do ahead: you can prepare the tangzhong the night before. Cook the flour and milk as instructed and let cool to room temperature. Cover the tangzhong and keep in the fridge overnight. The next morning, take it out to let it warm some (to room temperature would be ideal) and proceed to add it during the mix as instructed.

Do ahead: you can prepare the dough and proof them overnight to bake the next day at any time. When chilling the dough, keep the covered bulk fermentation container in the fridge to retard the dough overnight. The next day, take the dough out, let it warm for 30 minutes, then continue with the Shape, Proof, and Bake steps. Alternatively,  shape the dough into small balls and place them into the proofing pan. Cover the pan and put it into the fridge overnight. The next day, take them out 3 to 4 hours before you want to bake them and proof them on the counter until puffy and ready to bake.

To make these rolls vegan, substitute the milk for a full-fat nut or oak milk, and instead of an egg, use a flax egg.

Keywords: Sourdough, rolls, buns, Thanksgiving, dinner rolls, bread, levain, Thanksgiving