Really Crusty Rolls | A Bread Machine Recipe

Really Crusty Rolls

Who can resist a freshly-baked yeast roll with a thin, crisp, crackly, crumbly crust surrounding soft and chewy bread? I can’t either.  Show me the marshmallow-soft butter, and I’m good for dinner.

However, these come with a warning. Crumbs may be considerable as you slice or tear these rolls, but I have a solution. See the picture below for a special slotted cutting board designed to catch the crumbs. It also makes a convenient cooling rack and/or serving tray. Google them to see a variety of price ranges.

Really Crusty Rolls.jpg

The wooden box underneath the slats catches bread crumbs.

Perhaps you’ve tried the popular 5-minute no-knead bread recipes that come together without much elbow-grease (kneading) or actual time spent in the kitchen. I used to make them myself because I loved the crispy crust, soft interior, and superior flavor.  But they require advance planning as the whole process can take 8-12 hours.

The planning-ahead part is a deal killer for me.

So when I found this recipe in my all-time favorite bread machine cookbook, I was thrilled to make crusty yeast rolls from start to finish in approximately 3-1/2 hours. If you use a bread machine, the hands-on time is about the same as no-knead bread.

The secret is in the glaze–a cornstarch and water mixture, microwaved until thick and then cooled. For me, it’s easier than throwing water in my oven and/or using oven tiles or other special equipment in an effort to produce crusty bread.

I prefer to eat these rolls hot. Whatever isn’t eaten the first go-round gets a quick trip back into the oven just before dinner to re-crisp. Bake about 5 minutes in a 400 degree F oven. Turn off the oven and leave the rolls inside for another 5 minutes. Works great in a toaster oven, too, if you are only doing one or two.

Coming soon….Part Two: How to make bread bowls with this recipe.

Really Crusty Rolls | A Bread Machine Recipe
Recipe type: Bread
Serves: 8 rolls
Cook time:
Total time:
Crusty dinner rolls with a soft interior. Cornstarch glaze is the secret.
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1-1/2 cup bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • ¼ cup water + ½ teaspoon cornstarch mixed in 2 cup pyrex container and heated in microwave for 20 seconds on HIGH or until thick.
  1. Heat 1 cup tap water in the microwave on HIGH for 1 minute. Pour into bread machine pan with the blade in place.
  2. Add olive oil, salt, sugar, flour, and yeast to the pan. Select the dough cycle. After 5 minutes, check the dough. It should stick to the side and pull away. Add flour ,1 tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky, or add water 1 tablespoon at a time if dough is too dry (dough slaps against the side)
  3. When dough cycle has finished and bread has risen to double the original size, remove the dough onto a floured surface.
  4. For dinner rolls divide dough in half (2 pieces), then cut each half in half (4 pieces) and finally, divide each of those pieces in half again resulting in 8 rolls. Form into balls.
  5. Cover a cookie baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Lightly scatter cornmeal over the sheet before placing the round dough balls onto the cookie sheet--evenly spaced from each other.
  6. Cover dough balls with a tea towel and set in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until risen almost double.
  7. Brush rolls with cooled cornstarch glaze. Use a serrated knife to make a small gash in the top, if desired, but it's not required.
  8. Bake in 375 degree pre-heated oven for 35 minutes until crust is crisp and brown.
To my fellow yogurt-makers: For a faux sourdough flavor, try substituting whey drained off yogurt to produce Greek yogurt for the water in this recipe.



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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Ro November 24, 2016 at 6:45 pm

I made these for Thanksgiving, with no changes to the recipe. They were a big hit! Easy, and perfect, tender and crusty, as promised.


Christine May 11, 2016 at 1:31 pm

Thank you for these wonderful bread recipes. I’ve only recently started making bread again and love making the dough in the breadmaker and baking in the oven. We were not fans of the bread baked in the breadmaker so this is exactly what I was looking for. These rolls were great! Next time I will use part whole wheat flour or 12-grain. Have you done that before?
Our favourite so far is the sunflower oatmeal bread – I skip the sunflowers and substitute Whole Wheat flour for part of the white flour. A very much loved bread here. Thank you for making breadmaking so easy!!!


Krista June 5, 2015 at 6:36 pm

I am making these for my mom. Do you have any freezing suggestions? Should I freeze after cooking, freeze before? If freezing before what about the glaze? I would like to make it as easy for her as possible? I am hoping it will be a taste of home (UK) for her.


Karine March 9, 2015 at 1:19 pm

I made these last night. They came out perfect and everyone loved them. Thank you for the recipe.


Judy February 13, 2015 at 4:16 pm

I have been trying out different recipes for crusty rolls, but they never turned out right. Now I will never have to look for one again!!! Thanks Paula for sharing. These rolls were just yummy and the crust on top was just like your picture!!! The cornstarch mixture, as well as the entire recipe was a bomb!!!


thebakingathome April 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm

They are great, no mistakes in measurements! Really nice trick the cornstarch! Thanks for adding this recipe in one of my favorites of bread making! Real tasty rolls!


Susan March 12, 2014 at 10:50 am

Thank you, Paula! We’re going to use them for pulled pork sandwiches tonight. They’re in the oven now and smell amazing! Thank you so much for your recipes. I’m new to bread machines and I’m learning a lot on your site.


Susan March 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

I made the glaze with 1/4 cup of water and then realized there are no units on it implying it should be 1/4 teaspoon but that doesn’t seem like enough water. Should it be cup or teaspoon? Anyone know?


Paula March 12, 2014 at 10:14 am

Hi Susan,
My mistake–which I have corrected. You were right to assume 1/4 CUP of water. Hope your rolls turn out to your liking.


Jocelyn March 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm

These are great rolls! I made mine by hand using whey in place of the water. In order to get the nice crust, the rolls definitely need close to 35 minutes, which I initially thought would be too long a baking time. Thank you for sharing this recipe.


Margaret February 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm

made these tonite. So good. I brushed mine with butter and it only took 20 minutes.


Andrea February 13, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I just took these out of the oven. It’s a snow day here and I was looking for a roll to go with the soups (clam chowder and also beef vegetable) I have simmering. Wish I could include a picture but I don’t know if that’s an option. Yes, I took pictures because they are beautiful 🙂 So happy with how they came out!! They look really good, they are crusty on the outside, soft on the inside… and they taste AMAZING. I always come back to your site for bread recipes. Thank you for another fantastic recipe!


Paula February 16, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Thanks for the testimonial Andrea!


Beaner January 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm

My bread machine directions say to put in the yeast first,then flour, etc. ending with the liquid. I’ve noticed your recipes, including this one, start with the liquid and end with the yeast. Does it matter which way I put the ingredients in? Thanks for helping out a novice. I made my first loaf of bread using the combined bread machine and oven. It came out great!


Paula January 31, 2014 at 7:22 am

Hi Beaner,
You ask a very interesting question. I generally say to follow the directions for your particular bread machine as far as the order of ingredients. All of machines have specified the flour, then the yeast last. I can’t imagine doing otherwise if you are using the timer because you don’t want your yeast to get wet. If not using the timer, I can’t imagine why it would matter. Glad your loaf came out good. May you have many more happy bread-making experiences.


Ashley February 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Yes it matters! You do not want the yeast to get wet initially in a bread machine.


KAPP902 January 28, 2014 at 3:06 pm

I’m also making these today. So far so good 🙂 however I didn’t have cornmeal so I’m doing without. The cornstarch / water slurry is very interesting. Can’t wait to eat these with my soup. I love this blog. Thank you so much for doing this.


diane January 28, 2014 at 11:05 am

making them today Tuesday jan 28/13 never heard of using cornstarn and water like that idea thanks


Suzanne January 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Nice rolls, and I love the tip on using cornstarch with water who knew? Thanks for sharing these I must try this out soon.


Arthur in the Garden! January 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Wow! I love bread and this recipe looks easy and tempting!


SimplySusan January 26, 2014 at 8:03 am

Would be so good with soup but makes me wonder if you have a good bread machine recipe for bread bowls.


Betty January 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm

What an interesting method for making a nice crust! We love crusty rolls, and this sounds like an easy way to make them. They’d be great with all of the soups we’ve been having in this cold weather! 🙂


Marilyn January 25, 2014 at 6:19 pm

These look and sound so good! I can’t wait to try them.


Lisa January 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm

woo, HOO!! I’m running to the kitchen to start this now! I don’t normally save my whey but just did a batch of yogurt and did! I love the thought of the crusty exterior!!! Is the 1 tsp of yeast true? Very excited ! Thank you!!!


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