I was tipped off to the deliciousness of these oatmeal dinner rolls over close to 20 years ago, by a friend while living in Germany. We have them nearly every Thanksgiving and Christmas. For many years, this was my “assigned” contribution to potlucks and get-togethers with friends. They indeed are a favorite!
When I first tasted these rolls in my American friend’s dining room, I remember telling her,
“Wow! These Germans make the BEST rolls!”
I soon found out that she made them, not the German bakery. Impressive!! Of course, she gave me her recipe and I started making them after Mark and I got married.
These rolls actually caused me a little grief in the past. When we lived in TX, I made these same rolls for friends. That sealed the deal, EVERY Thanksgiving (which we always spent with friends), I was assigned to make rolls. Not just any rolls but these rolls. And lots of them! One year, I believe I made 6 batches for a big potluck. These rolls were the request so I complied. I’d guesstimate that I’ve made these over 100 times. They are that good!
I’ve even taught a group of ladies to make bread with these rolls. Hindsight tells me that might not have been the best thing to do as there is something a little different about this recipe than most.
Two Tips for Making Oatmeal Dinner Rolls
- Yeast Proofing Temperature – You will need to make sure your cooked oatmeal is at the right temperature before you add your yeast. If you’ve made bread before, you know that if your yeast comes into contact with too hot or too cold of a liquid (for proofing) it will either be killed or not activate. I definitely suggest you use a meat thermometer or infrared thermometer and test for your oatmeal mixture to be around 105°F. You can try to determine by touch, but precision is a lifesaver with this recipe. Years ago, when I taught a group of girlfriends how to make these rolls, I got out my meat thermometer. One of my girlfriends threw her hands up in the air and said, “No way! This is too complicated!” We joked about it at the time. While it may seem overkill, a thermometer is the guaranteed way to ensure your yeast is proofed correctly.
- Flour Amount – I have 4 1/2 cups of flour in this recipe, but this can vary widely depending on the humidity in the air, your flour moisture content, how much water the oatmeal absorbed when you cooked it, etc. Your dough should be sticker and lighter. It should be harder to handle and shape into rolls. I find it’s best to dust your work surface with flour, dump your risen dough, cut it into 15 pieces of dough, and shape each ball. Add any flour needed to help me properly shape them into rolls.
Your rolls should expand quite a bit so be sure to give them plenty of time to rise the 2nd time before you bake them!
With those two key tips…let’s get to these rolls.
Oatmeal Dinner Rolls Recipe
- 2 ⅓ c. water divided
- 1 c. oatmeal quick cooking
- 3 tbsp. butter
- ⅓ c. brown sugar packed
- 3 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 ½ c. all-purpose flour plus more if needed
- 2 tbsp butter for tops of baked rolls
- In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil
- Add the oatmeal and butter to the boiling water. Cook for 1 minute.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the remaining ⅓ cup of cold water & sugar to the cooked oatmeal.
- Cool the oatmeal mixture to lukewarm or between 105℉ and 115°F.
- Add the yeast to the warm oatmeal mixture. Let the yeast activate until slightly bubbly.
- Add the salt and 4 cups of flour to your proofed yeast. Mix until smooth. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. The dough should be slightly sticky.
- Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, and turn to grease top the of the loaf.
- Cover and let the dough rise for about an hour, or until doubled.
- Shape your dough into 15 rolls and place them in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Cover and let the dough rise for a 2nd time until it is doubled (about 45 minutes).
- Bake at 350° F for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Once you remove the rolls from the oven, brush them with butter.