Hello there! This is my first recipe post from the My Vegan Thanksgiving series I will be doing. Let’s start with dinner rolls. Everyone’s favorite, right? Right!
These rolls are reminiscent of the Hawaiian sweet rolls that I used to adore before becoming vegan. So, obviously, my rolls had a lot to live up to. And they do not disappoint! Even my [rather picky] boyfriend likes them and actually said “They remind me of the Hawaiian sweet rolls,” without me saying a word!
Be forewarned, this recipe does require a little bit of pre-planning. You will need to refrigerate a can of coconut milk at least overnight in the fridge or for about an hour in the freezer. Overall, it should take about 3 hours from start to finish (including rising time). But, leave a bit of extra time in case they don’t rise fast enough.
Ingredient break down
1 can of coconut milk (chilled overnight in the fridge or for about an hour in the freezer)
2 tbsp coconut oil (extra virgin, unrefined)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar (Why organic?)
3/4 cup water
3 tsp active dry yeast
3 cups flour + extra for kneading (I used King Arthur’s bread flour)
2 tsp baking powder
2-3 tbsp vegan butter (Smart Balance with flaxseed oil or Earth Balance)
Start by shaking your can of chilled coconut milk, to make sure it hasn’t separated. Pour about 1/4 of the milk into a large bowl (you will end up putting all of your dough in this bowl) and the rest of it into another medium-sized, deep bowl.
To the smaller amount of coconut milk, add coconut oil, sugar and water. Warm for about 30 seconds to a minute in the microwave, until it’s about the temperature of bath water. You don’t want it too hot. Add the yeast and set aside.
On high, whip up the rest of the coconut milk with a hand mixer. It should become slightly fluffy, but won’t make peaks like whipped cream. Set aside.
To the yeast mixture, add 3 cups of flour and baking powder, stir gently with a flat spatula. Fold in the whipped coconut milk until just combined. Don’t overmix!
Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled. (I made my rolls while doing laundry, so I just put them on top of the dryer.)
Get your baking dish ready
Using smart balance (with flaxseed oil) or earth balance vegan butter, grease the bottom and sides of the baking dish really well. I used a 10×14 glass lasagna dish, but you can probably use a 9×13.
Sprinkle a generous amount of flour on your kneading surface. Grab the dough (the best you can) and pry it away from the bowl’s edges (it will be pretty sticky and wet).
Plop it down on the floured surface and work in some more flour to make it more manageable. But, don’t dry it out too much. It will be kind of a pain to roll the dough, but it will be well worth it! Note: I probably added another 3/4 cup to 1 cup of flour when I was kneading and rolling the balls of dough.
Roll the dough gently with both hands so that it forms a ball that’s just a little bit bigger than a golf ball. Place into your baking dish. This recipe should make about 24 rolls.
Once they are all rolled, cover again with plastic wrap or the same towel and let rise in a warm place for another 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush a small amount of vegan butter on top (it shouldn’t be melted completely). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
After they’re done, you can either brush the tops and sides with more vegan butter or not. Doing this makes it so 1) the rolls come out of the pan easier and 2) the tops don’t dry out and become hard.
Now, wait. Yes, wait. Let them rest for at least 30 minutes, the longer the better. There is a lot of chemistry stuff going inside those buns and you don’t want to disrupt that, no matter how hungry you are!
Using a flat spatula, gently release the rolls from the dish after they have cooled. To get them out in one piece, lay a clean towel on the top, grab the sides of the dish (with the towel) and flip. Pull the rolls apart and serve! They don’t need any additional butter but feel free to add some more!
They don’t need any additional butter but feel free to add some more!