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Crusty French Bread Rolls

Crusty French Bread Rolls are chewy, crusty, and soft and fluffy on the inside. These rolls are so delicious when they are hot out of the oven and are the perfect staple on your dinner table!

The French rolls are stacked and one is halved with a cube of butter.

Easy French bread rolls

If you love bread recipes, check out my easy olive and herb focaccia, or these delicious pull apart rosemary garlic dinner rolls.

There’s this restaurant in Massachusetts called Bertucci’s and they have these super crusty bread rolls that are undeniably the best rolls you’ve ever had. They are crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, and they are served piping hot in a little basket. It’s a great way to get the family around the table.

French bread rolls are my favorite thing to make on the weekends. They go great with basically any kind of meal you are making! These rolls take a little but of time, but that’s what the weekend is for- taking it slow and easy!

These crusty French bread rolls are perfect for sopping up red wine pasta sauce or penne alla vodka sauce! They can be pulled in half easily and are just SO good when they are fresh out of the oven!

With the holidays coming up, I want you to have the best, most delicious food on your table, so I’ve been developing this recipe for months! I have perfected these bread rolls so they are light and fluffy on the inside, but crispy and crunchy on the outside. Their flavor is so well developed thanks to their extended rising time and resting time in the fridge. All good things take time.

The French bread roll dough is placed in an well oiled bowl so it can rise.

Crusty bread rolls recipe ingredients

  • Water- The water needs to be about 110 degrees so it’s warm enough to activate the yeast but not too hot or it will kill the yeast.
  • Yeast- I use active dry yeast, but if you don’t have a lot of time you can opt for quick rising yeast.
  • Honey- Honey helps feed and activate the yeast in these bread rolls.
  • All-purpose flour- Unbleached flour makes these rolls flavorful fluffy.
  • Salt- Salt is used to better flavor the bread rolls.
The French bread rolls are divided to make small bread rolls before they are baked.

Chef’s tips

Make them your own

You can switch up the flavor of these rolls easily with fresh herbs! You can add fresh thyme or rosemary to the rolls to flavor them even more. Roasted garlic is also another great option!

Make them ahead of time

These rolls need to be refrigerated for 4 hours before they are baked, but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in advance before they are baked.

Alternatively, you can bake these ahead of time before you serve them. These rolls stay good for 2-3 days in an airtight container on the counter.

The French bread rolls are shaped and placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet before baking.

Use fresh yeast

This recipe relies on the yeast to do it’s job, so make sure the yeast is fresh and still alive. The yeast should get foamy when it is proofed. If there is no foam, toss it and buy new, fresh yeast.

Make these even faster

I have made these French rolls so many different ways to understand every step of the process. You can make these rolls using quick rise yeast instead of acitve dry yeast.

If you decide to use quick rising yeast, the bread will rise in half the instructed time. You can refrigerate the bread rolls for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

The French bread rolls are stacked onto of eachother on parchment paper.

How to make French bread rolls

  1. Proof the yeast. Add 110 degree water, honey, and the yeast to a mixing bowl and mix it. Allow the mixture to proof for about 10 minutes. The yeast will get foamy.
  2. Add the ingredients. Combine the flour and salt to the water mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix the mixture and kneed for about 8 minutes to activate the gluten. The dough will be sticky.
  3. Allow the boule to rise, a couple of times. Place the boule in a well-oiled bowl and place a damp kitchen towel over the top of the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free area (like inside a turned-off microwave) and allow the bread to rise for 45 minutes. Fold the dough into itself on all four edges of the dough. Cover the bowl with the towel and allow it to rise again for 30-45 minutes.
  4. Shape the rolls. Scatter flour on a flat work surface, then dump the dough onto it. Divide the dough into 4 equal sections. Divide the dough again in half into equal pieces. Fold the four edges of the dough under itself, then smooth the bottom and place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or a 9 X 9 baking dish (whatever fits easier in your fridge).
  5. Refrigerate the French bread rolls. Place the rolls in the fridge and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days.
  6. Bake the rolls. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. While the oven preheats, take the rolls out of the fridge and place them on the counter so they have time to warm up. Flick a little water onto the top of the bread rolls by wetting the tips of your fingers and flicking. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 400 degrees, then continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, until the tops are golden.
The French rolls are halved and buttered on top of a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Why refrigerate these bread rolls

Placing the dough in the refrigerator allows the yeast to slow down the fermentation process and better develop the flavor. This step is not necessary and is time-consuming, but it really does add a whole lot of flavor to the rolls!

The French bread rolls are stacked on parchment paper.

Italian dishes to serve with these crusty French bread rolls

The French bread rolls are broken in half and butter is placed between the bread.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay in touch! I love to see your creations! Tag me at #SeaSaltSavorings to show me what you’ve made!

The French bread rolls are stacked onto of eachother on parchment paper.

Crusty French Bread Rolls

Sea Salt Savorings
Crusty French Bread Rolls are chewy, crusty, and soft and fluffy on the inside. These rolls are so delicious when they are hot out of the oven and are the perfect staple on your dinner table!
4.98 from 42 votes
Prep Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rise time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, bread
Cuisine American, French
Servings 8 rolls
Calories 145 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup water 110 degrees
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast see notes for using quick rise
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Proof the yeast. Add 110 degree water, honey, and the yeast to a mixing bowl and mix it. Allow the mixture to proof for about 10 minutes. The yeast will get foamy.
  • Add the ingredients. Combine the flour and salt to the water mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix the mixture and kneed for about 8 minutes to activate the gluten. The dough will be sticky.
  • Allow the boule to rise, a couple of times. Place the boule in a well-oiled bowl and place a damp kitchen towel over the top of the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free area (like inside a turned-off microwave) and allow the bread to rise for 45 minutes. Fold the dough into itself on all four edges of the dough. Cover the bowl with the towel and allow it to rise again for 30-45 minutes.
  • Shape the rolls. Scatter flour on a flat work surface, then dump the dough onto it. Divide the dough into four equal sections. Divide the dough again in half into equal pieces. Fold the four edges of the dough under itself, then smooth the bottom and place it on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or a 9 X 9 baking dish (whatever fits easier in your fridge).
  • Refrigerate the French bread rolls. Place the rolls in the fridge and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 2 days.
  • Bake the rolls. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. While the oven preheats, take the rolls out of the fridge and place them on the counter so they have time to warm up. Flick a little water onto the top of the bread rolls by wetting the tips of your fingers and flicking. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 400 degrees, then continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, until the tops are golden.

Notes

If you are using quick-rise yeast, cut the rise time in half.  There is no need to proof the yeast, simply combine everything into the mixing bowl and mix to create the boule.

Nutrition

Calories: 145kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 4gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 293mgPotassium: 46mgFiber: 1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin C: 0.004mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t believe there are no reviews on this recipe.. IT IS AMAZING!! I have made these at least once a week since I found it- they are a family favorite. Super easy to make. I have tried many roll recipes, none were quite right- but this is perfect! (and just like Bertucci’s!)

  2. Madeleine says:

    5 stars
    Dear Sherry,

    Thank you for this recipe. The rolls came out perfectly.

  3. 5 stars
    Favorite dinner roll recipe! So good! I let them ferment out of the fridge for an extra 45 minutes to get them extra big and fluffy

  4. Why do you have to refrigerate the dough? Does it change anything? Just curious.

    1. Seasalt Savorings says:

      Refrigerating dough is a common technique used in baking, known as cold fermentation. Here’s why it’s often recommended:

      Flavor Development: As the dough chills, yeast continues to ferment the dough but at a slower pace, giving more time for the flavors to develop. This extended fermentation period allows the yeast and bacteria to produce more of the byproducts that give bread its complex, yeasty, slightly tangy flavor.

      Texture Improvement: The slow fermentation process also improves the texture of the bread, making it lighter and more tender. It allows the gluten in the dough to relax, which can make the dough easier to shape and handle.

      Convenience: Another benefit of refrigerating the dough is that it can provide more flexibility with your baking schedule. You can prepare the dough when you have time, let it rise in the refrigerator for a certain period (as the recipe suggested, it could be up to 2 days), and then bake it when you’re ready.

      Better Crust Formation: Chilled dough often results in a better crust after baking as the contrast between the cold dough and the hot oven creates a rapid burst of steam, leading to a nice crust.

      In the case of our recipe, the cold fermentation process is being used primarily to improve flavor and texture, and provide a better crust. You can refrigerate the dough for 4 hours or up to 2 days, which gives you flexibility in terms of when you want to bake the rolls. The longer you leave the dough in the fridge, the more the flavor will develop, but even a short period in the fridge will still make a difference.

  5. 5 stars
    Perfect! I’ve made these twice, and I put the dough in the fridge to rest before shaping. Once I’m ready to bake I roll out 8 rolls and put them on 2 rows of a perforated French bread loaf pan that I’ve lined with parchment. It’s hard to cover so I let it rise uncovered in my microwave with a pyrex measuring cup of hot boiled water to keep it moist and warm.

  6. would you have the nutrition/cals per batch?

    1. Sea Salt Savorings says:

      I updated the nutrition, hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Made these for the first time today. Delicious. Will make again and let the dough develop longer. A New favorite. used my baking stones to cook them so only took about 20 minutes. Also my oven doesn’t go up to 500 but 480 was great for 10 minutes and then 400 for.10 minutes. Also I used 1&1/4 cup of all purpose flour and 1&1/4 Cup of bread flour. Had to add about 1 tablespoon to the flour as it was too dry while kneading in my mixture.

  8. 4 stars
    Mixed the dough yesterday and baked them last night after Church. They are so good! I posted pictures of them on my Facebook and after someone asked I posted a link to your recipe. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!