Vintage Recipe – Soft and Tender 4-H Dinner Rolls

This soft and tender 4-H dinner rolls recipe is over 60 years old and has been used by my family for many many years. Rumor has it my aunt got this recipe while in 4-H back in the 1960s.

This 4-H dinner rolls recipe is over 50 years old and is one of my very favorite recipes for white dinner rolls or buns (for you northerners).

If you’re looking for an oatmeal dinner roll recipe, this is the one I make every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and special occasions.

But back to these rolls…the texture is soft and tender. The flavor is perfect!  These rolls work wonderfully for sliders, peanut butter, and jelly sandwiches, or just to go along as a side for a meal.

This recipe has been baked by my family for many, many years.  Rumor has it my aunt got this recipe while in 4-H back in the 1960s.  The original recipe has been passed around my family was pretty scant on instructions.  If you click to view the recipe below, you’ll see the recipe as originally written up.

Today, I included my slightly updated version with more details on the methods.

A Few Notes for 4-H Dinner Rolls

Yeast – The original recipe did not specify whether to use active dry yeast or instant yeast, but we can surmise active dry yeast was the one originally used for the following reasons.

  1. Instant yeast came out in the 70s.
  2. The instructions state to dissolve the yeast in water, which is necessary for active dry yeast.

Flour – Regarding the flour, I suppose you could try subbing some whole wheat flour or bread flour in for the unbleached white flour.  We prefer the flavor and texture of unbleached white flour.

Mixer – If you have a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, you don’t have to knead by hand.  Or go for it by hand a get a mini-workout.

This is an enriched bread/roll recipe, which means it is a heavy dough and contains butter/lard, eggs, and/or sugar.  This results in a slightly wetter dough.

Once you’ve added the necessary flour and kneaded your bread dough, you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a moist towel and let it rise.

After your first rise, your dough should look like this…


Since it is heavier, it requires more time for rising (I generally allow double the time from what you’d normally find in an unenriched dough).  If you rush it and don’t let these rolls rise enough, they will not be as airy or light.

One last note – the original recipe did not call for an egg wash.  I prefer the shiny look and have included it in my instructions.  You can omit and they are just as delicious.

Vintage Recipe - Soft & Chewy 4-H Dinner Rolls

This soft and tender 4-H dinner rolls recipe is over 60 years old and has been used by my family for many many years. Rumor has it my aunt got this recipe while in 4-H back in the 1960s.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Bread
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread, enriched dough, rolls
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rising Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 12 Persons
Calories: 202kcal


Original Version

  • 1 pkg. yeast
  • ¼ c. lukewarm water
  • ½ c. milk
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. lard
  • 1 egg

Updated Version

  • 1 pkg active dry yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoon
  • ¼ c. warm water 105° to 110° degree
  • ½ c. scalded milk see directions below
  • 2 ¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. butter melted
  • 1 egg


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. cream, milk, or water


Original Version

  • Dissolve yeast in water. Scald milk and add sugar & salt, dissolve when cool. Add 1 cup of flour, lard, egg, and yeast mixture, add remaining flour and let rest. Knead, let rise until double. Punch down. Pan. Bake at 350°F.

Updated Version

  • Pour the milk into a microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 2 minutes to scald the milk. Add sugar and salt to the scalded milk and mix. Set aside.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water, and let set for at least 5 minutes to ensure the yeast is activated.
  • Once the milk mixture is cooled (no warmer than 115°F), add it to the yeast/water mixture.
  • Add 1 cup of the flour to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Mix in the melted butter and the egg.
  • Add the remaining flour (or enough so that the dough is not sticky). Knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Pour a small amount of oil into the bowl and turn the dough ball to coat it. Let the dough rest in the bottom of the bowl with the smooth side face up.
  • Cover the dough with a damp towel and let the dough rest for about 2 hours or until the dough has risen to be doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal portions. Shape the rolls and arrange them evenly into a greased 9-inch square pan.
  • Cover the rolls and let them rise for about one hour or until the rolls are doubled in size.
  • Once the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggwash ingredients together. Using a pastry brush, carefully coat the tops of the risen rolls with the eggwash.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 202kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 272mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g


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