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A halved and buttered thyme dinner roll.

Easy, No-Knead Dinner Rolls



  • This is yet another variation of my mother’s peasant bread. I love using my muffin tin to make rolls especially around the holidays — there’s something truly festive about passing a basket of rolls around the table.
  • If you love this recipe, you might love my cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs, which is all about easy bread baking and how to use every last crumb from the many loaves you bake. 
  • Yeast: You can buy both SAF instant yeast and Red Star active dry yeast in bulk from Amazon. After you open the pouches, transfer the yeast to an airtight container and store in the fridge or freezer, where they will last forever. If you are using the individual packets of yeast, go ahead and use the whole packet — each is 2.25 teaspoons, which is fine for this recipe. 
  • To make foolproof lukewarm water, boil some water — I use my teapot. Then, mix 1 1/2 cups cold water with 1/2 cup boiling water. This ratio of hot to cold water will be the perfect temperature for the yeast.
  • To can create a warm spot for your bread to rise: Turn your oven on; then turn it off after 1 minute — this will create just a slightly warm environment to get the bread rising nicely.
  • Butter: If you wish, you can melt a few tablespoons of butter and brush the tops of the just-baked rolls; then sprinkle with sea salt


  • 4 cups (512 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) instant yeast or active dry yeast, see notes above
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves or other herbs (a mix of rosemary, sage, and thyme is nice)
  • 2 cups (454 g) lukewarm water, see notes above
  • room temperature butter, about 2 tablespoons, plus more for brushing, if you wish, see notes above



  1. If you are using instant yeast: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, instant yeast, and fresh thyme leaves. Add the water. Mix until the flour is absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel or cloth bowl cover. Place in a warm spot to rise (see notes above) for 1.5 to 2 hours. 
  2. If you are using active dry yeast: In a small mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar into the water. Sprinkle the yeast over top. There is no need to stir it up. Let it stand for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and/or bubbling just a bit — this step will ensure that the yeast is active. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and thyme. When the yeast-water-sugar mixture is foamy, stir it up, and add it to the flour bowl. Mix until the flour is absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel or cloth bowl cover. (At this point, you can cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for 1 to 3 days.)
  3. Place in a warm spot to rise (see notes above) for 1.5 to 2 hours. Meanwhile, generously butter a 12-cup muffin pan, plus a few ramekins (2 to 4) if you wish… recently, for simplicity, I have just been baking 12 large dinner rolls in my muffin tin and not bothering with the ramekins.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Using two forks, punch down your dough, by pulling it from the sides — see video for guidance — and to the center. You want to loosen the dough entirely from the sides of the bowl. Take your two forks and divide the dough roughly into 6 portions. Then, using the two forks, scoop up half of each of these portions and plop each into a buttered muffin cup. Repeat with remaining dough. This won’t be pretty, but it doesn’t matter. Try your best to divide the dough equally, and if you have extra dough, bake it off in the buttered ramekins. Let the dough rise for about 17 to 20 minutes or until it has risen to just above the top of the muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375º and make for 10 to 15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and turn the rolls onto a cooling rack or directly into a bread basket. Pass the butter. (Note: If you wish to butter the tops of the rolls, do so in the muffin tin or on the cooling rack. A sprinkling of sea salt over top is a nice touch.)
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: no-knead, bread, rolls, dinner, thyme, peasant, thanksgiving, holidays