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The Best-Ever Crusty Sourdough Rolls (Easy Recipe!)

These simple sourdough rolls are perfect for dinner or making sandwiches.  If you are not ready for artisan loaves, give these a try!  They freeze well too.

Learn how to make crusty and chewy sourdough rolls using a small amount of yeast and a special steam technique in your oven. These are great as dinner rolls and a simple way to use your sourdough starter!

sourdough rolls in wooden bowl

These rolls are a reader favorite. They are not authentic, artisan-style sourdough. But these crusty rolls are delicious, beautiful, and foolproof.

(If you’re looking for a similar roll made with yeast, try bread machine crusty rolls.)

There is a time and a place for artisan sourdough involving many tools with French names. This is not it. This recipe is for when you just want some really good rolls. They have a crisp crust, soft interior, and good flavor. There is a slight sourdough tang, but it is totally undetectable by my kids. More of just a depth of flavor.

It only took me a million different tries to get this recipe right. 😉 I really hope you like them.

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”X65DbYTS” upload-date=”2020-01-26T00:00:00.000Z” name=”Crusty Sourdough Rolls” description=”An easy technique plus a little steam in your oven yields crispy, crusty sourdough rolls. Perfect to serve with dinner or to make for sandwiches. They can be made with yeast or without yeast, and freeze beautifully. A must for every sourdough baker.” player-type=”collapse” override-embed=”false”]

Helpful tools and ingredients:

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bread flour, water, sugar, and sourdough starter on counter
  • A kitchen scale: I highly recommend weighing the ingredients if you have a digital scale. If you don’t, I’ve included volume measurements as well. This is especially important with sourdough recipes since the volume can vary wildly depending on how much air is in your starter.
  • Bread flour: Bread flour is important to get a crusty, chewy texture. If you are using all-purpose flour, the texture won’t be quite the same, and you’ll need to use a little more flour. (I recommend King Arthur bread flour for all my bread recipes.)
  • A bread machine. You only need a basic one, since all it will do is knead and rise the dough.
  • Instant yeast. It’s the best for home bakers.
  • Parchment paper that lays flat on the baking sheet. Much easier to deal with!

Tips for succes

bubbly sourdough starter in mixing bowl

Are you unfamiliar with the world of sourdough? Visit the beginner’s guide to sourdough baking, or get started with a sourdough starter of your own from scratch

Make sure your sourdough starter is active, bubbly, and recently fed. The better your starter, the better your rolls. Even though these use a small amount of yeast, they still rely on the starter.

Most sourdough starter is a thick, pourable liquid the consistency of pancake batter. If yours is thicker or thinner, you will need to adjust the amount of water, so start with a lesser amount and add more slowly if needed.

How to make sourdough rolls

The full printable recipe is below

Mixing the dough

If you are used to baking artisan sourdough, the dough will probably seem very dry to you. Since we are forming it into rolls, it needs to keep its shape. So the texture is more like traditional bread dough. If you add too much water, you will have flat rolls.

slightly dry dough for sourdough rolls in mixing bowl
After mixing the flour, sugar, starter, salt, and water, the dough will take brief rest, known as autolyse. Cover it with a towel and let it sit on the counter for about thirty minutes.

After the autolyze period, we will knead in the salt and yeast. I like to put the salt and yeast in a little dish on top of the towel so I don’t forget about them.

Options for kneading

You can knead this dough by hand, with a stand mixer, or using a bread machine on the dough cycle.

To knead by hand

Fold the dough in the half, then punch it down. Stretch it out again, fold, and punch. Repeat this process for at least five minutes, until the dough is stretchy and smooth. You should be able to pull it flat without tearing it.

3 images showing the hand kneading process for sourdough rolls

Kneading with a stand mixer

Place the dough in your mixer bowl with the dough hook and let it run on low for five to ten minutes.

Bread machine method

Simply add everything in the bucket and select the dough cycle. When the machine beeps, you’ll have a risen dough that’s ready to shape. I use this method the most.

Shaping and rising

You’ll want a sharp knife to divide the dough into eight equal pieces. If you want the rolls exactly equal, use a digital scale and measure in grams.

Make sure you do not smash the dough down to try to smooth it out. Pinch the bottom of the dough until the top has a smooth, round top. Don’t handle it too much, just pinch and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

After shaping, dust flour on top and slash with a lame or a serrated knife.

image showing sourdough divided and shaped into rolls

These rolls will complete their second rise in about forty-five minutes to one hour. They will not double in size, but will look quite puffy. If you’ree looking for a warm place for dough to rise, try turning your oven on for a minute, then turning it off and tucking the rolls in there. Just be sure to remove them before you preheat!

How to add steam to your oven

This is one of the keys to a great oven spring. Don’t be afraid of this process.

Set up your oven like this, with a metal-rimmed baking sheet on a lower rack. (Do not use glass, or it will shatter!)

Let the oven preheat with the baking sheet on the lower rack. You’ll pour water on just before you place the rolls inside, which will create steam. This will make the rolls rise nice and high with a beautiful crust.

Storing the rolls

Sourdough rolls will keep well at room temperature for three days, tightly wrapped just hanging out on the counter.

They also freeze very well. After they’ve cool to room temperature, pack them up in a freezer bag and they will keep fine for at least a month.

To reheat rolls without drying them out, defrost for a minute or so in the microwave at the defrost setting. Then wrap them in foil and place them in a warm (not hot!) oven for 5-10 minutes.

Looking for more sourdough recipes?

Grab this pretty recipe printable by clicking the image: it will open in a new tab for you to print

Full recipe:

4.59 from 91 votes

Crusty Sourdough Rolls

Print Recipe
These simple sourdough rolls are perfect for dinner or making sandwiches.  If you are not ready for artisan loaves, give these a try!  They freeze well too.
Prep Time:40 mins
Cook Time:18 mins
rising time:2 hrs
Total Time:2 hrs 58 mins
Click here to grab a free seasonal e-cookbook!

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces active sourdough starter 1 1/4 cups/ 200 grams
  • 13 ounces bread flour 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups/ 370 grams
  • 6.5 oz water 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon/ 185 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients except salt and yeast. Combine the starter, flour, water, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir well, using your hands if needed to incorporate all ingredients. The mixture may look dry but will feel slightly sticky to the touch. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for thirty minutes.
    sourdough dough in mixing bowl
  • Knead in the salt and yeast. Add the salt and yeast on top of the dough, and knead until smooth, stretchy, and elastic. (If using a bread machine, set it on the dough cycle. For a stand mixer, set it on low about 5 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead for about 10 minutes.) Check the consistency of the dough after a few minutes of kneading.  It may seem sticky, but should clear the sides of the bowl and should not be too difficult to work with.  If it seems very wet, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time.
  • The first rise. When the dough is kneaded, cover it and put in in a warm place to rise between 60-90 minutes, until nearly doubled in size.
    dough after first rise in bread machine
  • Shape the rolls. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter or a cutting board. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or oil and flour. Dust the top of the parchment with cornmeal. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, either by dividing into half, then quarters, then eighths, or by. using a kitchen scale. Shape the pieces into rolls by pinching the bottoms. Place on the cornmeal dusted parchment. Rub the tops with flour. Slash, if desired, using a lame or sharp knife.
    shaped sourdough rolls on parchment
  • The second rise. Cover the rolls with heavily greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45-60 minuts, until puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Place one rack in the center, and one in the lower middle area. Place an empty baking sheet on the lower rack to get hot while the oven preheats.
    fully risen sourdough rolls
  • Bake with steam. When the oven has heated and the rolls have risen, pour one cup of water on the hot baking sheet to create steam. (It may buckle, this is ok.). Place the rolls inside and bake for 17-21 minutes, until browned outside. Cool rolls on wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

Start with the lesser amount of flour and increase it if the dough is too wet.  (If you are using all purpose flour, you will need the greater amount of flour, or even a little more.)
Divide into 12 pieces for smaller dinner roll sized servings. Bake 17-19 minutes. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: crusty sourdough rolls, sourdough dinner rolls, sourdough rolls
Servings: 8 rolls
Calories: 170kcal
Author: Katie Shaw
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @heartscontentfarmhouse so I can see!

Happy baking!

signature with strawberries

160 thoughts on “The Best-Ever Crusty Sourdough Rolls (Easy Recipe!)”

  1. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe again and again. I bake the rolls about 2/3 of the time, cool them, and then freeze them. When I want to use the frozen rolls, I thaw them, and then finish the baking. They taste completely fresh, and my house smells amazing. Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Fed starter before I went to bed. Mixed in bread machine next morning and had warm bread rolls for lunch. Too easy. Will be having these for Christmas lunch. Thanks so much for your efforts.

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    So great! My first attempt at rolls and they were exactly what I wanted for my butternut squash soup! So easy and fun – the dough handles beautifully for shaping. Keep it coming!

    Reply
  4. My rolls are second rising now, and look beautiful. I was confused about the measurements given in ounces and cups. Can you give the metric measurements? I find them more consistent and accurate. TIA!

    Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I made these with half whole wheat flour, half bread flour – and loved them! Can I make them into two baguettes, do you think, instead of rolls? I am looking for an easy baguette recipe but each one I find requires so much time and an over night! Thank you for the recipe.

    Reply
  6. 5 stars
    My family really enjoyed these rolls. Great flavor and texture. Dough was a little stiff, but rose nicely and baked with just a ramekin of water for steam in small oven as my big one was in use for two loaves of sourdough bread! Thanks for a great recipe for my left-over leaven. Will definitely be using again.

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    This is by far the best & easiest sourdough roll recipe. Tonight was my 4th repeat of the recipe. The only change up I did this time was add ice rather than water to the bottom sheet pan. I’d read about doing this with other rustic breads. WOW! It totally increased the crust factor on the roll!

    Reply
    • 5 stars
      I made these for the second time yesterday. Not disappointed with the flavor either time!
      I use ice cubes as well. I heat up a Dutch oven, place my parchment paper and rolls in the Dutch oven then drop four ice cubes under the paper and cover. I baked them for ten minutes then removed the dinner and finished baking them. I also brushed the rolls with butter at the end of baking. They do take longer to bake this way but I believe it’s worth it.
      I love this recipe. The bread flavor is amazing!

      Reply
  8. 5 stars
    Love this recipe!!! Used my starter and this made 4 fantastic mini sub sized buns. Excellent crust and chewy crumb. Thanks for expanding my sourdough repetoire.

    Reply
  9. 5 stars
    Katie…I made these yesterday! Ooh lah lah! They turned out magnificent! Such an easy to follow recipe that produced a high rise bun! Gosh…these are probably the best and most successful buns I have ever baked from scratch. Wish I could share a pic with you but no option to attach, but if there was I am sure it would fill your inbox with a ton of happy baker’s results! Thank you for sharing this recipe and awesome step by step instructions and tutorial!

    Reply
  10. 5 stars
    I started my sourdough adventure back in April and these rolls are my go to recipe! My familiy is thoroughly addicted to them and everyone I’ve shared them with raves about them. They are easy to make and freeze really well. Thank you!

    Reply
  11. I’m excited to try this recipe, but a question. Im looking to make crusty chewy larger rolls to make prime rib subs. Could I shape 4 elongated rolls rather than 8 smaller Ines? Would it change time or temp much?

    Thank you for your help.

    Reply
  12. 5 stars
    I made these at the start of my Covid sourdough adventure and I keep coming back to them! The taste is terrific and the crust is perfect! I went a bit crazy and made too much and froze a bunch and boy, they are just as good out of the freezer.

    Reply
  13. 5 stars
    Absolutely fantastic recipe! My rolls looked like we picked them up from the bakery and tasted even better. My husband loved them so much he asked me to bake these again instead of the weekly sandwich loaf. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

    Reply
  14. 4 stars
    Hey Katie:
    Tried your rolls (and your website) for the first time. Taste was excellent, texture was what I was looking for, but I didn’t quite get the crispness that I wanted. I used a baking sheet with water per your directions, but I did notice that the water evaporated fairly early during baking. Would more water help? Any other possibilities? Thanks very much for a keeper recipe.

    Reply
  15. 4 stars
    Good recipe but some of the details in the printable recipe do not tally with what is in the earlier tutorial especially the timings

    Reply
    • 5 stars
      Worked beautifully for me! Thank you for this great recipe. The only thing I did differently is heat up a baking tray in the oven and then slide the parchment paper with the rolls on it for that lil bit extra spring.

      Reply

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