Quick and Easy Lucky Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

It was Thanksgiving day. We’d made a list, we’d checked it twiceCloverleaf rolls, ready for Thanksgiving Dinner.  We had our mis en place. We were rockin’ and getting ready for company. Around the time we were sliding the turkey in the oven Beth said, “We might be rockin’ but we aren’t rolling – you haven’t baked any bread. We don’t even have any rolls!” She was right. And we had some fans of Mike’s Bread coming over for Thanksgiving.

Anyone who has attended my baking classes or has visited sourdoughhome.com has heard me comment that “haste is the enemy of good bread”. Probably often. However, now we were down to the wire and SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE!” There weren’t any stores open in the area so buying some brown’n’serve rolls was not an option, even if we were willing to do that – we just don’t roll like that! And then, I remembered books and articles I’d read and well, sometimes, things just flow together.

James Beard has a delightful recipe for Parker House Rolls in his “Beard On Bread”. However, I didn’t want to make something as time consuming as Parker House Rolls. But that recipe makes wonderful rolls and I did remember a quick way to make cloverleaf rolls.

I grabbed “Beard on Bread” off my bookshelf, and started on a roll. These rolls are quick to make, especially of you use a mixer. Just a few minutes of interaction here and there. Despite being quick rolls, they are delicious rolls, better than you’ll find in most fancy restaurants.  However, being a relatively fast bread, they will stale quickly so eat them or freeze them quickly.

I started by mixing a sponge:

Volumetric Ingredient Gram Baker’s Percentage
1/2 Cup Warm Water 120 Grams 25%
2 Cups Warm Whole Milk 480 Grams 100%
1/2 Stick Butter 65 Grams 14%
2 TBSP Instant Dry Yeast 19 Grams 4%
1 TBSP Sugar 18 Grams 3.8*%
2 tsp Salt 9 Grams 2%
3 Cups All-purpose Flour 480 Grams 100%

I made sure that all the liquids were warm but under 100F(32C), added the solid ingredients, mixed until smooth, covered the bowl with a beautician’s processing cap and allowed the sponge to stand until it more or less doubled. In about an hour it was nice and foamy. Making a sponge really helps revitalize the yeast and develops the flavors of any bread – a straight dough just can’t compete!

While you can use low fat milk, skimmed milk margarine, soy milk or whole wheat flour, if you do that please don’t tell me they didn’t turn out well. Butter, whole milk and white flour give the best results for these rolls. Since I usually make these rolls for Thanksgiving day, I figure my guests can work off the excess calories shopping on Black Friday.

Once the sponge has doubled, add:

3 Cups All-purpose Flour 480 Grams 100%

Mix this in, then knead until the dough is nicely developed, smooth and very lively. This will be a soft dough. If you have trouble with wet dough, you might use a stand mixer for this, or use a dough knife to help you knead the dough.

I covered the dough and allowed it to rise again, probably The rolls in a greased muffin pan, formed and waiting.another hour or so.

When the dough had risen, I folded it down and cut it into 27 pieces for two ounce rolls. If I’d wanted to make one ounce rolls, I’d have cut it into 54 pieces. Next, I rolled the pieces into balls, and put each ball into a cupcake or muffin tin.

Brushing the rolls with butter Next, I brushed the tops with melted butter. In the picture, I used a cheap natural bristle brush from the local hardware store. We had a smaller one, but we couldn’t find it and it was time to butter the rolls.

Next, I used a clean pair of kitchen shears I’d dipped  in melted butter to cut each ball into 4 pieces. This is BY FAR the fastest way to make Using clean and buttered shears, cut the rolls in halfcloverleaf rolls. Of course, they are four leaf clovers, so these must be lucky rolls!

Next, I covered the rolls again, and allowed them to rise.

As they rose, I preheated the oven to about Then snip them into quarters375F.(190C) Once they were risen and the oven was ready, I baked the rolls for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them if you make smaller rolls – the smaller ones will bake faster!

If you like browner rolls you might kick up the temperature to 400 or 425F (205 or 220C). My guests are more interested in classic American golden rolls than a more European color.

Once they are baked, serve them quickly! Since breads made quickly and breads with lots of surface area tend to stale quickly,These rolls are ready for Thanksgiving dinner! these rolls have two strikes against them from the get go. They are great with with jam or ham, honey or gravy, or whatever you want to have these with – even Turkey and gravy!

They’ll pull apart easily and you and your guests will be delighted!

I’ve already been asked of you can make these with sourdough. Yes, but they won’t be as fast and they won’t be the same rolls – these rolls are pretty wonderful the way they are!

Best wishes to you and yours from all of us at BakeWithMike, Sourdoughhome and TheNewBurgundians

– Beth and Mike

© By Mike Avery, 2010, All Rights Reserved

6 thoughts on “Quick and Easy Lucky Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

  1. I am really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog readers have complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

    • So far, no. However, this is a low traffic site. All you can do is try out your site with different browsers. Also, there are some sites that will show you what your site looks like in different browsers, which is pretty cool. I think that http://www.websitesthatsuck.com has a pointer to that page in the parts of their site where they talk about how to improve your site. Despite the name, websites that suck is an excellent site and a great resource.

  2. I’m very happy to discover this great site. I want to to thank you for your time
    due to this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every part of it and i also have
    you saved to fav to check out new information in your site.

    • The only ingredients that need to be warmed are the water and milk. I heat the milk in a microwave. A minute should do it. If you don’t have, or would rather not use, a microwave you can warm the milk in a saucepan.

      We talk about dough temperature a good bit at our sister site, sourdoughhome.com in the article on “The Rule of 240“.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.