If you aren’t Mormon or have never lived in Utah, the name of these rolls is likely baffling, but stick with me here. Sorry if this is disappointing, but the rolls have nothing to do with large predators. They are, however, the much talked about, fondly devoured rolls served at The Lion House in Salt Lake City. The Lion House is the kind of place you reserve in advance for special occasions and having a recipe published in one of their cookbooks is the highest honor a Mormon chef can earn. (Just to be clear, we aren’t talking about shredded carrots in green jello, this is the highbrow cooking of Mormondom.) My grandmother, by the way, had two recipes published in their cookbooks. Not to brag or anything. But I digress, the rolls, that’s where we were, right? The thing is, I have a tad bit of a prejudice against white bread so even though these rolls are touted as “the best ever” I just couldn’t leave them be. I subbed in some white whole wheat flour (AKA whole wheat pastry flour) and crossed my fingers. They ended up being just as airy and delicious, but slightly more substantial. If you didn’t know there was whole wheat in there you probably wouldn’t even notice. For all you whole wheat haters out there, let this be your gateway bread.
Whole Wheat Lion House Rolls
Adapted from Lion House Classics
Yield: 1 to 1 1/2 dozen rolls
- 2 C warm water
- 2/3 C nonfat dry milk powder
- 2 TBSP dry yeast
- 1/4 C sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/3 C butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 egg
- 2 C white whole wheat flour
- 2 – 2 1/2 C all purpose flour
- Additional butter for brushing the dough and finished rolls
- Combine water and milk powder; stir until milk dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter egg, and whole wheat flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are moistened. Add 2 cups all purpose flour until moistened. Slowly add more flour until the dough is soft and not overly sticky.
- Scrape dough off the sides of the bowl and gather into a ball. Pour about one Tablespoon of oil all around the sides of the bowl. Turn dough over in the bowl so it is covered in oil. Cover and let double in size, about 45 minutes.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle that is approximately 18″ long, 8″ wide, and 1/4″ thick. If you have no concept of measurements, you may even use a ruler, like I did. (Disclaimer: Using a ruler does not guarantee your dough will be a perfect rectangle. Mine never are despite the pure desires of my heart.) Brush the dough with melted butter. Using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut dough in half to make two strips about 4″ wide. Make cuts through strips of dough every 2.” When you’re done slicing and dicing, you should have 18 pieces of dough.
- Starting with one of the short ends, roll the dough up with the butter on the inside Place roll on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Cover lightly and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake at 375 degrees for15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter. If you’re feeling particularly reckless, serve with even more butter inside.