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Sourdough Soft Wheat Rolls

Remember how I spent some time trying to get a good soft crumb with sweet sourdough? Well I applied that same science to getting a nice soft wheat roll. The secret is adding some sour cream. Yes, you can add potatoes and that works too but the outcome is a bit heavier than the sour cream which helps produce a soft light crumb. Everyone wants a soft roll with dinner at times, yes the crusty hard rolls are terrific too, but sometimes you just want a soft dinner roll…

So here you go:

Sourdough Soft Wheat Rolls

Make sure your Whole Wheat starter (You really have to use a whole wheat starter for this recipe) is fed very well the night before and make sure you have at least 1 lb of it for the next day. Feed it @ 100% hydration (leave it out at room temperature overnight after feeding it in the evening.

Then the next day (around 10:00am or time it yourself to arrive hot for the dinner table):

Mix together in a large mixing bowl or dough folding container:

  1. Whole Wheat Starter @ 100% – 16 oz/453g
  2. Water – 4 oz/113g
  3. Sour cream (nice thick regular fat kind)- 3 oz/85g
  4. Malt Syrup (or Honey) – 1 oz/28g
  5. Soft Butter- 2 oz/56g
  6. Sea salt- .4 oz/11g

You do not need to autolyse the dough because of the large amount of starter used, which was basically autolysed all night long. Mix all of the ingredients together and then add:

  1. All purpose flour- 15 oz/425g

Mix together into a soft dough but do not knead. This makes a very soft dough. Cover the dough and let it ferment 3.5 – 4 hours, folding the dough once each hour. Then weigh your dough and divide the amount into 12 pieces or however many you need. My rolls were 3.4 oz each and I made 12 rolls.

I placed the rolls into an oiled round casserole dish and made sure each roll was coated in the oil. I then covered the rolls and placed them into a dedicated refrigerator which is set at 46F. If you use your colder refrigerator, take the rolls out sooner and give them longer to warm up and proof before baking.

I left the rolls in the refrigerator for two hours and then warmed them up and proofed them for 1 hour. I set the dish of rolls into a pan containing hot water to speed up the proofing. Once the rolls are done proofing, slash the tops, then make sure the tops are oiled or spray with oil and bake at 425 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

I spread butter over the tops once the rolls were done baking. Serve hot with lots of butter!

This will make around  2 lbs 9 oz/1173g of dough at 64% hydration. It will make a dozen rolls approximately 3.4 oz/96g each.

Have fun baking everyone!

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  1. Beth Beth
    November 19, 2012    

    I would like to make these for Thanksgiving, but I’m trying to plan my timing with visiting multiple families during the day. Do you think it would work if I prepped and made the dough on Wednesday night, refrigerated overnight and then did the proofing and baking on Thursday morning?

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      November 20, 2012    

      Hi Beth, these have a large amount of starter to shorten the proofing time. Shorter time equals softer bread. You would do better with a dough that has a lesser amount of starter if you want to cool ferment it for a longer time.

  2. Mindy Spaid Mindy Spaid
    July 15, 2012    

    Do you weigh each of the ingredients? How can I make this with cups/tbls conversions? Is 15 ounces of flourapprox 2 cups? I can weigh larger I gradients, but my scale is not digital, so it makes it difficult for salt, etc.

    This looks delish! Thank you!


  3. Bee Lin Bee Lin
    April 5, 2011    

    Hi, I am trying out your recipe – how soft is soft? I can barely form my dough into balls. I live near the equator and it’s very humid here.

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      April 5, 2011    

      Hi Bee Lin, my dough was nice and soft. It may be that your whole wheat flour absorbed more liquid than mine did. Adjust the dough by feel, add more water if you need to. All flour is different and will absorb water at different rates.

      • Bee Lin Bee Lin
        April 6, 2011    

        Thanks for replying,actually it’s so soft it sticks everywhere and spreads out. Do you have a “pouring” picture of the dough?

  4. northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
    November 14, 2010    

    Hi Jennifer, your idea would work fine, you can interchange different starters with good results and feeding a white starter whole wheat to change it over, is one way to get a whole wheat starter. Have fun!

  5. Jennifer Jennifer
    November 12, 2010    

    I just had an idea in reference to my previous post. I was thinking that perhaps I could try this recipe, if I fed my AP 100% hydration starter with some whole wheat flour and water. Do you think that could work? I think that my starter could handle a high ratio feeding because it is pretty active. I think I could feed about 4 oz. of it with 6 oz. of whole wheat and 6 oz. of water, then maybe use it about 12 hours later or so for this recipe. I know it still would not be a 100% whole wheat starter, but perhaps the rolls would still have about the same texture using a 75% whole wheat starter. What do you think of that idea?

  6. Jennifer Jennifer
    November 12, 2010    

    These rolls look so yummy! Do you have any suggestions on how I could make something similar with a white sourdough starter. I just made my starter within the last two months and am searching all over the internet for ways that I can use it. I have found your site to be so informative. I learned a lot from the explanation of Baker’s Percentages and hydration conversion.

  7. Pat Pat
    October 10, 2010    

    did you use a pyrex dish? if you use a metal pan I would guess they would be not as soft on the bottom etc. Seems like apyrex dish would keep the bottoms insulated and not cook fast as they should?

    They sure look delish though

    • northwestsourdough northwestsourdough
      November 14, 2010    

      It was an enamel casserole dish and it worked great for the rolls.

  8. October 4, 2010    



    • October 4, 2010    

      Thanks Tony, they did turn out well, I plan on making them again soon. I am glad you enjoyed them.

  9. September 30, 2010    

    Thanks LeeYong, I hope to come up with lots more as it is what I like to do best, check back often, Teresa

  10. LeeYong LeeYong
    September 30, 2010    

    Hi Teresa,

    These soft rolls looks fantastic! I need to give them a try – my family loved your gingerbread cake! I’m always looking for new recipe for my starter and you do come up with great ones!

    All my best!

  11. September 30, 2010    

    Ciao ! They really look fantastic !!

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