Garlic rolls (with bonus cinnamon roll recipe)

garlicrollsThese garlic rolls were a big hit when we hosted last week’s pasta dinner for Ben’s cross country team. This was basically the same recipe as the cinnamon rolls he took to a 6 a.m. practice the week before —  only instead of spreading the dough with butter and cinnamon sugar, I used a garlic butter with Italian spices and Parmesan.

It’s funny how after all these years I’ve finally gotten in the habit of making a weekly batch of bread dough at the exact same time that I’ve stopped eating bread except for one day a week.

I can make up a batch of cinnamon rolls on Friday and not be tempted, knowing I can have one the next day if I feel like it. Same with these garlic rolls. We served these last  Thursday night – the team does its carb loading two days before a race now for some reason – and for the first time ever after hosting a get-together, I didn’t find myself eating up all the leftover goodies during cleanup. However messy my weekly “cheat days” turn out to be, now that I’ve gotten this habit pretty well nailed down, I’m pretty much able to leave crap food lone the rest of the week.

Anyway, here’s the basic bread dough recipe (which we also use for pizza), followed by instructions for making it into garlic rolls (or cinnamon rolls).

Basic bread dough

2 T bulk yeast

2 T salt

¼ cup sugar

2 cups warm water

2 cups warm milk

½ cup oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

6-8 cups white flour (or more if dough is still too sticky)

  1. Mix yeast, salt, sugar, whole wheat flour and warmed liquids and let soak for 15 minutes or so. Then begin adding the white flour, a cup at a time, until mixture begins to form a dough that isn’t too sticky to work with your hands.
  2.  Knead dough, then let rise for an hour or so if possible and knead again before baking. (This sounds complicated, but it’s not. Dough is pretty forgiving; I sometimes put this in the fridge for a couple of days before using, while other times I bake it up almost immediately after making it. It’s never awful, and always WAY better than store-bought bread.)

To make garlic rolls


Roll out ¼ the bread dough, then spread or coat with the following sauce melted in a saucepan:

1 stick butter

½ cup Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon each: dried oregano and basil

Roll up dough, slice into 12 sections, and place circle-side up in greased baking dish. Spread or drizzle more of the garlic butter on the top of each roll. Bake at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes, then sprinkle with more Parmesan. Note: I’m notoriously imprecise on baking times so be sure to check periodically to see when rolls reach your preferred hue of golden brown.

To make cinnamon rolls


  1. Roll out ¼ the bread dough. Spread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  2. Roll up dough and cut into 12 sections, placing each circle-side up in greased baking dish. Butter the top of each roll and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Bake for around 20 minutes or to your desired degree of golden brown.
  4. If you like, top warm rolls with the following recipe for caramel icing.

Caramel icing

  1. Melt 1 stick butter in a saucepan with 1 cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Add ¼ cup milk and return to a boil, then remove from heat to cool.
  3. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and beat with an electric mixer.
  4. Spread frosting on tops of cinnamon rolls, saving the rest for another project or freezing for the following week’s batch of cinnamon rolls.
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