Didn’t Quite Cut the BBQ: Whole-Wheat Rolls

We REALLY like hamburgers (Full disclosure?  We just really like meat!  What you won’t see in these pictures is the “side” of steak and seared tuna, but they were definitely in the meal mix)!

Appropriately enough, the Fourth of July is quite the hamburger holiday!  Accordingly, there was even a new acquisition:  a “baby” grill who came to be known as Charlie the Char Broyler.   Unfortunately, there was also rain, quite a bit of rain!  We abandoned riverside picnic plans, but nothing could rain on our burger parade, not even the… rain?

Plan B:  Charlie stayed put, and we used the big brother grill at the end of the deck…oh yeah, and a wet t-shirt contest?!?

What I made for the holiday BBQ was not what I envisioned, but so it is sometimes when you hover around ovens.  I meant to offer a hamburger roll, but what I wrapped in a patriotic blue place mat was really just an overgrown, grainy dinner roll.  I loaded it with locally sourced beef all the same!  As one of us said, “these are good,” and I chimed in unison, “they’re just not hamburger rolls.”

Do with them what you will!       

Not-A-Burger Roll


1 ¼ cup local whole milk, warmed to about 110 degrees F
12 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for brushing on the rolls
2 large (local/free-range) egg yolks, lightly beaten

1 large (local/free-range) egg, lightly beaten

2¼ cups local, unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 cups local, whole-wheat bread flour plus extra for dusting the counter
2 Tablespoons raw sugar

1 envelope instant active dry yeast
1½ teaspoons table salt

*Organic oats for a final touch


Whisk milk, butter, yolks and egg together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Mix flours, sugar, yeast and salt together in a bowl.

Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to incorporate until the dough comes together.

Continue to stir the dough until well combined, adding additional flour if the dough is too sticky.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place (ie:  my apartment on July 4th) until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Line a rimmed baking stone with parchment paper and set aside.

Turn the dough onto the floured surface.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces.

Stretch each piece to form a rectangle about 18 inches long and roughly 1-2 inches wide.

Use a bench scraper to cut each length of dough into 6-12 pieces, depending on how you want to use the rolls.

Cover the pieces loosely with plastic wrap to prevent drying while shaping the rolls.

With a cupped palm, roll each dough piece into a smooth, tight ball and loosely cover them with plastic.

Arrange the rolls on the baking stone, about ½ inch apart.

*I refrigerated the formed rolls overnight due to a change of plans and let them come to room temperature before baking them.  I wouldn’t recommend that process, as it seemed to deflate the rolls.

Butter the surfaces and sprinkle with oats.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Unwrap rolls and brush with melted butter.

Bake until golden, 20-25 minutes.

Cool rolls for 10 minutes before serving.

The rolls crossed a bridge (a big deal in Pittsburgh) to join the festivity preparations.  The fruits were looking quite patriotic!

Beef and blue cheese and grilling in the rain.

America roll + lettuce + local tomato + avocado + grilled onions + organic mayo… shiiiet, who knows after that?!?!  It was time to dig in!

I proved to Mike I am a seasoned veteran of hamburgers by loading my fixins on the bottom bun and weighing them into place with the beef itself.  C’mon!  I didn’t grow up the daughter of a cattleman for nothing!

(and a roll?!?)

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