whole food ~ well made

Rye dinner rolls with three variations at

Buttermilk Rye Dinner Rolls Three Ways

There’s much to love about a crusty loaf of artisan bread. I stash loaves {some homemade, many not} in the freezer to pull out for soup nights.

Warmed in the oven and served with pastured butter, any type of bread makes the whole meal more fulfilling. The girls think it’s a real treat to have bread at dinner.

But, truth be told, there are some occasions that call for something more tender and single-serving size. I’m talking about dinner rolls. Buttery with a soft crust to tear apart and dip into soup or sweep across the gravy on your plate.

Rye dinner rolls with three variations at

These buttermilk rye numbers from the trusty King Arthur Flour are one I revisit often. With my friend Chantay’s annual Halloween soup fest coming up on Monday night, I’ll be bringing these fresh-baked dinner rolls.

And I know they’ll complement most any type of soup.

Rye for Flavor

You may think of rye as being dense and heavy. In combination with whole wheat and all-purpose flour, these rolls are light and moist, just the way you’d want a dinner roll to be.

Also, there are different grinds of rye flour available now, many lighter and finer than what you’d think of as pumpernickel. {For this recipe, which uses four types of flour!–whole wheat, dark rye, all-purpose and potato flour–I use Bob’s Red Mill.}

Rye flour is coming back into favor for all kinds of baked goods, including desserts. The main reason is F.L.A.V.O.R! A dose of malty, nutty tastes blends beautifully with so many seasonings in fall’s soups, salads and side dishes.

Three Ways to Shape Dinner Rolls

This recipe illustrates how to turn a single batch of dough into a bread basket supply of dinner rolls. It’s a pro trick I learned interning at Amy’s Bread, an amazing NYC bakery years ago that lightens the load for the busy home baker during the holidays.

Rye dinner rolls with three variations at

When the dough is as easy to work with as this buttermilk rye, you can make any number of different shapes, adding toppings and fillings at your whim.

For this bread basket of dinner rolls, I made:

  • rounds topped with caraway and flake salt
  • spirals topped with poppy seeds
  • cloverleaf rolls with sesame seeds

Invite the kids to help shape and top these rolls. And don’t forget to have fun making them. This dough is easy to handle and totally forgiving.

Then, enjoy the moment of sharing them whether you’re having people over or being a guest. You’ll be celebrated for your generosity and ingenuity. {Don’t forget the butter.}

Rye dinner rolls with three variations at
Sesame seed clover leaf roll with rosemary butter.

I recommend making a double batch.


and become a forager

Rye dinner rolls with three variations at
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5 from 1 vote

Buttermilk Rye Dinner Rolls

I adapted this recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book to make a breadbasket variety of one dozen dinner rolls. The dough comes together quickly and makes an easy to handle dough for making shapes. Plan ahead for the two rising times.
Course Breads
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 dinner rolls
Author Lynne Curry


  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) buttermilk, lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons( 1.5 ounces) molasses
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (3.75 ounces) whole rye flour (pumpernickel)
  • 1 1/2 cups (6.4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons (1.25 ounces) potato flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water pastured
  • whole caraway seeds, flake salt (optional), poppy seeds, sesame seeds for topping


  • Combine the buttermilk, oil and molasses in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve it. Add the whole wheat flour, whole rye flour, all-purpose flour, potato flour and salt. Stir to form a rough dough.
  • Knead by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and soft, about 4 minutes.
  • Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until it is pillowy and slightly risen, about 1 1/2 hours.
  • Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (about 2 1/4 ounces each). Shape each piece as follows:
    For round rolls: Cup your hand over a piece of the dough. Use gentle pressure and a tight circular motion to roll the dough under your palm to form a ball and place in a muffin cup. 
    For spiral rolls: Roll a piece of dough into a 1/2-inch thick rope under your palms to about 6 inches long. Tightly coil the rope starting at one end to make a snail shape and place into a muffin cup.
    For clover leaf rolls: Divide each piece of dough further into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball between your palms. Place the three together and insert into one of the muffin cups.
  • Brush each of the rolls with the egg wash. Sprinkle on the seeds for topping as desired.
  • Lightly grease a piece of plastic wrap and cover the rolls. Let rise in a warm spot until puffed, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls until they are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. Kae

    These are very good! Soft crumb, stayed moist for over 5 days in our dry winter air. Plus I’m betting the buttermilk lactic acid is inhibiting mold.

    1. What good keepers! Thanks for writing, Kae.

  2. MLM Los Angeles

    5 stars
    First, an extra star for being able to skip to the recipe! I enjoyed the intro the first time but it was nice to skip down as I kept coming back to the recipe on my phone. I usually like to follow a recipe exactly the first time, but it’s COVID19 time and I had to make several substitutions. I used 1+1/4 cups bleached white flour, 1+1/4 cups upcycled rye flour from Tattersall Distillery, and 1/2 cup mashed-potato flakes. I also added 1/4 tsp each of ground caraway seeds to the dry ingredients instead of sprinkling any seeds on top, because I love the flavor but can’t handle the whole seeds. My dough came together nicely but was a little rough; I should have ground the potato flakes along with the spices! Still easy and fun to shape though the dark brown color was rather hilarious. They didn’t rise as well as yours, and I had no egg for the crust, but the results were tangy and dark and pumpernickely, with a tender crumb. When I finally get some proper unbleached bread flour I’m going to try this recipe again. And I won’t have to scroll past a whole story to do it!

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