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!
Table of contents
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- Delicious. 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.)
- Easy. 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.
- Versatile. Perfect for sandwiches, dinner, and just about anything else.
It only took me a million different tries to get this recipe right. 😉 I really hope you like them.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
You’ll need the following for these crusty, chewy rolls:
- active sourdough starter
- bread flour
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- 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. Not necessary, but will make this recipe a breeze. 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!
Step One: prep your starter
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.
Step Two: mix 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.
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.
Step three: knead
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.
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.
Step Four: shape
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.
Step Five: the second rise
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’re looking for a warm place for the 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!
Step six: bake with steam
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.
🥫 Storage instructions
This recipe will keep well at room temperature for three days, tightly wrapped and 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.
Yes! I rarely do, because I find they’re a little fluffier with it. But it will work perfectly fine. Your rising times will be more like 4 hours each.
You can reduce the water a bit and use all-purpose. They won’t be as chewy though.
You probably used a different brand of flour, or measured it differently. Add some more flour.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- Always shape rolls by pinching the bottoms. Smashing them down will make them dense and ugly.
- Don’t skip the steam! It’s the magic that makes these so good!
📘 Related Recipes
- Sourdough Burger Buns are softer but still delicious.
- Bread machine sourdough is the easiest way to get an authentic sourdough loaf.
- Or if you are after a more open crumb loaf, try my artisan sourdough tutorial.
🍽 Serve it with
These are great with Sunday dinner. Try these too:
- Oven Roasted Chicken with butter and herb
- Cheddar scalloped potatoes
- Broccoli salad
- Brown sugar apple pie
🍅 make it along with me
Follow along step by step. The slides will turn every 7 seconds, or you can click ahead.
📖 Here’s the recipe
Crusty Sourdough Rolls
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
200 thoughts on “The Best-Ever Crusty Sourdough Rolls (Easy Recipe!)”
What temperature is warm is that like 200 degrees? If i wanted to freeze them then reheat.
for reheating yes 200 is great!
Hi Katie, So you think I could shape the rolls and then refrigerate them overnight, remove from the refrigerator, let warm-up and rise, and then bake them?
I only have Active Dry yeast on hand, which needs to be dissolved in water first. Should I use an additional amount of water to dissolve or use some of the 185g of water. I don’t want to affect the autolyze. Will dissolving in, say, 20g of water affect the dough or should I just add a bit more flour if too wet?
hey carol, use some of the 185g of water. the autolyse will still be fine 🙂
Thanks! Still trying to understand hydration and ratio thing. My starter is about 80% hydration. Do you use a 100% hydration starter? How will my 80% affect my rolls?
Thanks for your help!
Thank you for this stellar recipe! It’s a keeper. The rolls look professional. Next time, I will add a pinch more salt. I use kosher salt and wasn’t sure if the recipe was for table salt or kosher. 😋
So happy you enjoyed it Allison! :). (I use table salt, I’ll update the recipe!)
My husband likes a larger roll to make sammies. It’s hard to tell how large these rolls get. Can I portion the dough into 6 pieces? What would the baking time be? Thanks! The recipe looks amazing!
Hi carol, I actually eat these with sandwiches but they’re a little small. I think 6 would be good! I think at least 20 minutes 🙂
Thank you for responding so quickly! Just out of the oven, looking and smelling fantastic! Pulled them out at 17 minutes. Can’t wait to try one! Thanks again!
I did everything according to the directions except I proofed it overnight in the fridge on the first proof. Then on the second proof I left it out at room temp, covered, for 2ish hours. They came out perfect! Super yummy.
Best roll recipe ever!!! I have tried countless recipes and this one hits it out of the ballpark. Doubled the recipe with no problems. Although kneading in the yeast and salt seems weird after letting the dough sit, just do it! Amazing texture – just the right amount of chewy and tender
aw thank you SO very much! we love them too! so thankful you let me know you enjoy them 🙂
I followed your recipe to the letter, and these rolls are perfection! Seriously bakery quality. The texture and flavor are spot on! We had them for dinner with cauliflower and potato leek soup. So good. Will be making on a regular basis.
I meant to post 5 stars. Not sure why it jumped to 4.
thank you amanda! so happy you liked them!
Hi, what sort of yeast should you use for the recipe? Can I use quick easy bake yeast?
I am not a baker but have packed into the high country with Sailor most of my life. I usually just add my starter to whatever I am making be it pancakes, biscuits, dumplings. I pretty much put all your listed ingredients in a can with Sailor, took off on horseback to a trout stream, fondled everything before bedding down for the night. In the early morning waiting for my cowboy coffee I did some more touchy stuff with the dough, grained the critters and buried the Dutch ovens in the smoldering coals of the campfire. Might have been gone a couple of hours. Came back to camp with a mess of Goldens that were rolled in polenta and fried in bacon fat. Popped the lids of them ol’ cast iron pots to the best rolls I ever made. Don’t know who to blame for the results. Me, you, or Sailor! Two horses, one yeller pup, and an this ol’ boy ate Em gone-gone before noon! Thank you young lady. Gonna have to do the dance again!!!~kw
Since 1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg. sodium, the whole recipe contains at least 3450 mg sodium and the 8 rolls contain at least 430 mg each. Your nutrition information is drastically incorrect. If I cut the salt to 1/2 tsp, will the flavor still be any good?
hi marsha- i’ve updated the nutrition info, it wasn’t pulling in the salt for some reason. i would personally find them bland with only 1/2 teaspoon of salt but if you are accustomed to lower sodium foods you might find it acceptable.
Best sourdough dinner rolls! They where great with lasagna night and for our Easter dinner. I have an addiction with sourdough recipes. I name my starter – Henrietta 🙂 So far the recipes I have tried on this website have been winners. Keep them coming.
I’ve not made this yet, firstly I wondered if you can make without adding ANY yeast? I’ve got a great starter (very proud) and my body isn’t a fan of yeast. Please can you advise?
yes, you can absolutely make them without yeast. they aren’t quite as fluffy inside, but still delicious. MUCH longer rise times, obviously 🙂
Can I get your starter recipe for these sourdough rolls.
hi cecile! if you search my site for homemade sourdough startr you’ll see my process! if you don’t want to wait, i recommend buying some from king arthur flour, it’s around 6 dollars last time i checked and gets you off to a good start right away!
I’ve been wanting to try sourdough rolls and your recipe was the first I made. They are so good! Easy to make, puffed up nicely, and taste delicious. I’ve been making various sourdough things since last summer, and my husband declared that these rolls are his favorite. Thank you.
These have been my go to for using up discard. I also usual use all purpose flour and flour the tops and score immediately before baking. Turns out great every time, and they freeze well! Just heat frozen rolls in a 350° oven for about 15 minutes and you get a nice crunchy crust and soft, fluffy interior. Thanks for the great recipe!
suzanne thank YOU for the tip about reheating in the oven straight from frozen. i will be doing that with my sourdough rolls from now on! 🙂
These are really yummy! Comes together quickly and the dough is so easy to work with when forming the rolls. I ended up baking mine for about 25 minutes to get that golden crusty top. They disappeared quickly so I’m making more today. I’m thinking of making them a little bit bigger and making them into mini soup bread bowls. 🙂
This is my go to recipe and quite often I double it to be sure we are well stocked since these tend to disappear!
I was wondering, how do they fair if I were to place them in the fridge overnight instead of the 60-90 portion?
These look delicious! Should the starter be active or could you use discard? Thanks!
you’ll want active starter! 🙂
Oops. I had it in my head to use discard. I made these for dinner tonight. They were a bit dense, but we loved them. Do you think that was because I used discard? I will definitely make them again. This is my second recipe of yours that is a keeper!
hi yvonne! yes you’ll definitely want an active starter next time! (or use 3x the yeast). 🙂
I should have followed the printed instructions instead of the tutorial section, as the tutorial did not mention flouring the tops or scoring the rolls before the final rise. Wish I had seen that.
That said, these are awesome; great rise and great flavor. I have tried other sourdough roll recipes and this is my keeper.
Also, a big thank you for providing nutrition information on this recipe 🙂
hi wendy! i’m so glad you liked the rolls! i will add what you mentioned to the main post 🙂
I am going to try this for Thanksgiving!
One question, what is the difference between discard and starter?
I will feed my starter the evening before so it’s full. I usually take out a 1/2 cup to put back in the fridge, then I use what is left to bake.
hi kimbelery you’ll want to use the bubbly, room temperature starter for this one 🙂