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Crusty Rolls

THANKS to Clancy Strock's article mentioning Milwaukee bakeries in a past Reminisce, I was reminded that I, too, missed those hard-to-find, airy, crispy rolls! Years ago, I begged family members living in Chicago to try to find the recipe. My sister-in-law sent me a handwritten recipe, and now I can make these rolls for myself. -Charles Steers, Anaheim, California
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 10 min.
  • Makes
    2 dozen


  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • Cornmeal


  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add shortening, sugar, salt and 1 cup flour; beat until smooth. Add egg whites; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes (dough will be stiff). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • Punch dough down; divide into 24 pieces and shape into balls. Sprinkle greased baking sheets with cornmeal. Place rolls 2 in. apart on baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Place a large shallow pan filled with boiling water on lowest rack in oven. Bake rolls on middle rack at 425° for 10-11 minutes or until golden brown.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 90 calories, 1g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 102mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 3g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch.
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  • dirtswife
    Feb 26, 2019

    I followed the recipe as written but used bread flour (using the least amount of flour shown) because that's what I like to use for most of my bread. I did decide to make 12 instead of 24, so that boosted the cook time to about 20 minutes. I also wasn't thrilled with how pale they were on the bottom so I flipped them over and cooked an additional 5 minutes that way. They came out crusty, so I was happy with that. It was a nice tasting roll and I would probably make them again, but would increase the number of rolls to 18. Twelve rolls were just a bit too large for a crusty dinner roll.

  • Clanmars
    Mar 22, 2016

    This was an easy bake but as I used olive oil for shortening and of course egg whites the mix was very wet and sticky hence the use of my stand mixer and not mixed by hand. The second rising needed nearly an hour but this was not a problem and definitely only 12 the next time and not 24! Open texture with a good crust (boiling water to create steam should not be forgotten) superb flavour and ideal for me; rock hard rolls are not to my taste but these were just right. Watch the bake time, if it needs longer then do so.

  • mjbracken
    Feb 21, 2016

    I agree with SnnysAng103 -- this recipe should only be for a dozen. These rolls are no bigger than a silver dollar and while they taste FANTASTIC, they never browned or even turned golden. And....there was no crust. Really disappointed. I'll keep looking for a recipe for hard rolls.

  • Timothy1971
    Feb 7, 2015

    These were very easy to make and very delicious my son loved them I should have cooked them a bit longer to make them crispy but overall one of my favorite roll recipies !

  • SnnysAngl03
    Dec 4, 2014

    Recipe is fantastic! Except it should really only yield 12 rolls. I made the 24 and theyre tiny. Way too small.

  • Tahill
    Nov 3, 2013

    I have been looking for a great recipe for homemade rolls for years. This is perfect! It will be the one I make from now on. Great taste , tender and easy to make.

  • kleescraga
    Jan 15, 2012

    Searching for a recipe for hard rolls for sandwiches, I came across this one which I tried to adapt by making larger rolls: 6 large ovals, then brushing with water and sprinkling with Kosher salt after the second rise. I achieved half my purpose, the tops were nice and crusty, but the bottoms were soft. The inside was soft and very tasty. I will definitely make them again, perhaps turning them during baking.