Karl’s Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe

I do not make dinner rolls very often, because several family members are avoiding carbs or white flour breads. Jan’s friends came to Stitches and I was making them a Brazilian seafood stew. Jan’s friends are not avoiding white bread and I decided that pull-apart rolls would go well with dinner.

Karl’s Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Karl’s Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

My mother, Claudia, made these rolls for special dinner. It is not, however, one that I copied out of her card file when I left home. I found one that was similar—I remember that her rolls used powdered milk and a lot of butter, as well as the way she buttered each roll—on the King Arthur Flour site. I did not want to make a massive number of rolls, so I divided the recipe in half—as well as a tweak or two.

The King Arthur recipe used potato flour. Potato starch does not have any gluten and adding it to wheat flour inhibits the formation of gluten bonds. Fewer gluten bonds makes for lighter rolls.

Karl’s Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls


2 cups AP flour
1 Tbs. potato starch
1 Tbs. sugar
½ tsp. salt

1¼ cup lukewarm milk (I use lactose free)

1 tsp. instant yeast
4 Tbs. butter, separate uses


1. Sift the flour, potato starch, sugar and salt into a medium bowl.

Tip: I sift the flour 5-6 time to get a good blending of the ingredients.

2. Put the milk in a large measuring cup and microwave it for one minute.

Tip: Depending on the strength of your microwave, this will make the milk warm, but not so hot as to kill the yeast.

3. Put the yeast in a small cup and add ¼ cup of the milk.

4. Stir the yeast into the milk and let it sit for five minutes.

Tip: After five minutes the surface of the milk should be fairly foamy.

Note: This is called proofing the yeast and gives it a head start before you add it to the flour.

5. Put two tablespoons of butter into the warm milk.

Tip: The heat of the milk will melt the butter.

6. Make a well in the flour and add the yeasted milk.

7. Use the buttered milk to rinse out all of the yeast from the cup into the flour.

8. Stir the milk into the flour until it forms a ragged dough—rough with some dry flour showing.

9. Turn the dough out onto a flat clean surface and knead it until it is smooth and slightly tacky, about 4-5 minutes.

Tip: A dough scrapper is a useful tool to keep the dough from sticking to the board at the beginning of the kneading process.

Note: Do not over-knead the dough, as it will produce a very dense roll.

10. Form the dough into a tight ball and return it to the bowl.

11. Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and set it in a warm place.

Tip: If it is Winter, you may start the oven for a few minutes to warm it up. However, do not make the oven too warm or it will start baking the dough.

Note: Yeast likes to grow in a slightly warm, damp environment.

12. Let the dough ball rise until it has doubled in size, about one hour.

13. Press the dough to deflate it, and transfer it the work surface.

14. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Tip: Use the doughscraper to divide the dough, first into quarters and then into eight pie wedges.

15. Push the point of the wedge into the dough and form it into a round smooth ball.

16. Lightly butter a 8″ round cake pan.

17. Melt the remaining butter and butter one of your hands.

18. Handle each ball of dough until it is buttered on all sides.

19. Space the dough balls around pan.

Tip: Seven around the edge and one in the center.

20. Set the pan in a warm spot and allow the rolls to rise for about an hour.

Tip: Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350° F.

21. Bake the rolls for 22-24 minutes,

Tip: Rotate the pan half way through the baking period.

Note: According to King Arthur, bake “…until they’re golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the center bun should register at least 190° F.”

22. Remove the buns from the oven, and free the edged of the buns from the pan with a butter knife.

23. Set a cooling rack on top of the pan and flip the rack and pan over together.

Tip: The rolls should easily drop out of the pan in a single cluster.

Note: The edges, where the rolls touch each other, are very loosely attached. You would like to keep them together until you are ready to serve the pull-apart rolls.

Optional: When I turned out my rolls the bottoms were very pale. I decided I wanted them to be at least a bit browned. I put them back in the oven—upside down on the cooling rack—for another five minutes.

24. Cover the rolls with a second cooling rack and flip the rolls and racks all together.

Tip: The allows you to turn the rolls upright without them falling apart into individual rolls.

25. Slide the rolls onto a plate and serve warm with butter on the side.

1 Comment

Filed under bread, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

One response to “ Karl’s Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

  1. Pingback: Karl’s Biscuits II | Jabberwocky Stew

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