Kinds of Bread Rolls


Bread rolls are personally portioned servings that frequently accompany lunch and dinner meals. They come in various shapes and sizes and are made of different flours and grains. Roll recipes use yeast to leaven them, unlike biscuits or muffins that rise by adding baking powder or baking soda to the recipe.

Bread Roll Ingredients

  • Just like loaves of bread, rolls are made from different flours and grains. White or bread flour is the type used for most commercially produced rolls. Rolls are also made from whole wheat flour or whole grain flour. Light, multigrain rolls contain small, cracked pieces of whole grains, such as oats, corn, rice millet, wheat, barley, rye and flaxseed. Heavy multigrain varieties have higher densities of whole grains and heavier textures. Rolls are often lightly sweetened with pure cane sugar, corn syrup or honey or with artificial sugar substitutes.

Common Roll Shapes

  • The most prevalent roll shape is round. It is the easiest to make, as it only requires shaping the dough into disks and placing them on baking sheets or into muffin tins to rise. Cloverleaf rolls are another common roll shape made by placing three equal-size balls into the bottom of muffin tins. As they rise, the three balls join together to form a cloverleaf pattern on the top of the roll and, when eaten, the roll easily breaks into three parts. A Kaiser roll is made with the same technique but requires five balls and larger muffin tins. The finished roll has a flower petal pattern on its surface. Crescent rolls are formed from triangles of flattened dough rolled up and shaped into semicircles.

Regional Rolls

  • The Parker House Hotel in Boston created Parker House rolls. They are made by folding over rectangular dough pieces and lining them up barely touching to rise. If they are artistically placed on a baking sheet, they look like breaking ocean waves when they are fully risen and baked. The fan-tan roll has roots in New England. Five discs of dough are placed standing on their sides in muffin tins. When they rise, a decorative fan pattern emerges on their tops.

Twists and Knots

  • Twisted rolls are formed by taking two, long strips of dough and gently twisting them together before rising. To make knotted rolls, take a long rope of dough and tie one or two knots in it prior to rising. If you omit the knot tying, you will end up with a long roll that resembles a soft breadstick.

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