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These no-knead dinner rolls couldn't be easier: Just mix together a few ingredients, and let them rise. / Photo by Julia Gartland/The New York Times

The smell of homemade bread on Thanksgiving Day is a joy, and it's easy to achieve if you mix a batch of these no-knead rolls. The dough takes time to rise but is mostly hands-off, slowly developing its structure so that the finished buns have beautiful, crisp, golden crusts and airy, steam-filled centers.

 

No-Knead Dinner Rolls

These no-knead rolls couldn't be easier: Just mix together a few ingredients, and let them rise. The dough rises slowly for a long time, because the dough needs to gain strength as it rises, which contributes to its structure after baking. The rolls that emerge from the oven have a golden crust that's lightly crisp and a soft interior that is best served fresh.

Yield: 9 rolls

Total time: 45 minutes, plus rising

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2/3 cup whole milk, plus 1 to 3 tablespoons, if needed

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan

2 large eggs

1. In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, yeast and salt until combined. In a small saucepan, heat 2/3 cup milk over medium-low until it's just warm to the touch (about 95 degrees), 1 to 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons butter, and heat until melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat. If it is much warmer than 95 degrees, let cool briefly before continuing.

2. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the eggs just until combined. Gradually whisk the eggs into the milk mixture, then pour into the bowl with the flour. Using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, stir the dough until it's uniformly combined. If it seems dry or isn't coming together, stir in more milk 1 tablespoon at a time (up to 3 tablespoons) to bring it together. (This milk does not need to be heated.) The dough should be sticky.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

4. Grease a 9- by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Divide the dough into 9 even pieces, and round each into a tight ball. Place the rolls evenly spaced into the prepared pan. (They will not be touching. There will be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch between each roll.)

5. Cover the pan with greased plastic wrap, and let rolls rise until they nearly double in size, 35 to 45 minutes: They will now touch inside the pan and look puffy and risen. Toward the end of the rise time, heat the oven to 375 degrees.

6. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a small pot over medium heat or in a small dish in a microwave. Remove the plastic wrap from the rolls, and brush the tops of the rolls generously with about half the butter. Bake until the rolls are golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes. Halfway through baking, brush the surface of the rolls with more butter and rotate the pan.

7. When the rolls come out of the oven, brush them with the remaining butter. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving warm.

Tip: The rolls can be made through Step 4 and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Cover the pan tightly with greased plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Remove the rolls from the fridge to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.

By Erin Jeanne McDowell

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