January: Do-It-All Dough

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Do-It-All Dough

This flexible enriched dough will become the most trusted recipe in your bread repertoire. Luxuriously rich with milk, butter, an egg, and just a dash of sugar, the Do-It-All Dough can become the tender base for both Almond Cream Rolls and Garlic Herb Clover Rolls.

4.7 from 9 reviews
Do-It-All Dough
Makes enough for 12 rolls
  • 3¾ cups (469 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (24 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (9 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk
  • ½ cup (120 grams) water
  • ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg (50 grams), room temperature
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, ½ cup (120 grams) water, and butter over medium heat until an instant- read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed until combined. Add egg, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour, beating just until a shaggy dough comes together and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 6 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape dough hook and sides of bowl. Add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if dough is too sticky. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round.
  4. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft- free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.


A Closer Look…


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.

2. In a saucepan, heat milk, water, and butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C).

3. Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed until combined. Add egg, beating until combined.

4. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour, beating just until a shaggy dough comes together and stopping to scrape sides of bowl with a silicon spatula or bowl scraper.

5. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 6 to 7 minutes, stopping to scrape dough hook and sides of bowl, as needed.

6. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a smooth round by cupping the dough and gently dragging it toward you. Repeat this process several times until the dough is smooth and taut.

Mixing Your Dough

First, a little science behind our mixing method.

We use the paddle attachment to incorporate ingredients to decrease kneading time. We beat it at low speed with the paddle because 6 to 7 minutes with a sticky dough can be hard work on a stand mixer. Once that’s done, we switch to the dough hook attachment for kneading and the final addition of flour.

The dough will still be very sticky after incorporating the first two additions of flour. Then comes the delicate act of adding just enough of the remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour to create the proper dough consistency. Because absorbent flour is highly sensitive to moisture—even the humidity in the air—you’ll find that adding an exact amount of flour to create the perfect dough will vary from time to time. Sometimes you’ll add 3 tablespoons of flour, other times the full ¼ cup. Be cognizant of your dough’s stickiness after adding each tablespoon of flour. If the dough is not sticky enough, it will be hard to roll it out and create rolls. You are looking for the dough to be tacky but not stick to your fingers when touched.

Testing for Proper Gluten Development

There are number of ways to test your enriched dough to see if it has been properly kneaded. We teach you how to use your senses (sight, sound, and touch) to be able to tell if it’s ready.

The Sound Test: Don’t just use your eyes! The sound of the dough will also indicate its gluten development. The dough will slap or knock against the sides of the bowl as a sign that the dough is close to being properly kneaded.

The Windowpane Test: Pinch or cut—but don’t tear, because this damages the gluten strands—a small, golf ball-size piece of dough. Then gently and slowly pull and rotate the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent. If it fails to hold during the stretch, give your dough another minute of work and then test again. If it is too hard to stretch, it’s been overmixed. (See tip on overmixing and overproofing for more information.)

Testing for Proofing

Like testing for gluten development, checking for proper fermentation of your dough can be achieved with a couple of tests. Here are two foolproof ways to know you’ve expertly fermented your dough.

Doubled in Size: First, shape the dough into a smooth round; it’ll be easier to tell when the dough has doubled in size and it’s a good way to make sure the dough has been evenly kneaded in the mixer. It’s best to use a straight-sided container like a plastic tub or a tall-sided bowl. If you have a large container that has measurements on the sides, like an 8-cup measuring cup, that works great. If not, measure the height of the dough, double it and mark it with a piece of tape to know when the dough is doubled in size.

The Finger Dent Test: After your dough has rested for 40 minutes to 1 hour, lightly flour the surface of the dough, and gently press your finger about ½ inch into the surface. If your dough has properly fermented, you should be able to watch the dough spring back slightly but still show an indentation. If the dent disappears, the dough is underproofed and needs more time. If the indentation stays completely, you’ve overproofed the dough. (See tip on overmixing and overproofing for more information.) Apply this method for the rise right before the shaping to ensure your dough has the perfect flavor and texture.

If you overmix or overproof the dough, don’t throw it away or give up! Make a note so you remember for next time. It takes practice! You can still use the dough; just be prepared for it to be harder to work with. Overmixed dough will be harder to roll out, and overproofed dough will be denser after baking.


Next articleFebruary: The Ultimate Brownies


    • Hi Kelly! You can use buttermilk, but keep in mind that because it is thicker you may have to adjust the flour content. You may not need the last 1/4 cup of flour we call for. Also, please keep in mind that your dough will be more golden brown than ours are in photo because buttermilk has a higher fat content. Happy baking!

  1. Our son has Celiac’s and I use your 1 to 1 for all my baking with Baking Powder, (coffee cakes, cookies, pancakes etc) but have never been successful making yeast dough with it. Can I try substituting the gluten free 1 to 1 in this recipe? I assume the gluten is essential to proper rising, since ai have failed thus far….

    • Hi! Bob’s Red Mill does not recommend using their 1-1 Gluten-Free Flour for yeasted doughs. However, you can use their Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour (in the red bag instead of the blue) for yeasted doughs instead: https://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-flour.html. Please note that you will have to add xanthan gum to the mix if using this flour. The flour bag provides directions on the back for how much xanthan gum to use per cup of flour. Here is a link to Bob’s xanthan gum: https://www.bobsredmill.com/xanthan-gum.html. We have not tested this recipe with anything except Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour, so we can’t speak to the results of making this recipe with the gluten-free flour and gum. We hope this helps!

  2. I do not have and cannot in the near future afford a stand mixer. I would greatly appreciate the inclusion of directions for kneading by hand.

    • You can make this dough by hand. Just follow the recipe steps as is, but for the portion where you mix your flour to form a shaggy dough, mix with a wooden spoon rather than your hands since it will be hot. Once you’ve formed your shaggy dough, knead your dough on the counter rather than in a bowl. Take it slow and be patient, it is easy to over-knead your dough when doing it by head. Slowly add your flour bit by bit, using the last 1/4 cup of flour to dust with. We can’t speak to how long you will need to knead since we have only tested this recipe in a stand mixer, so look for some visual signs that your dough is ready. You will feel it tighten and it will get elastic, and you will feel it getting stronger and look smoother. Once you get to this point, use the windowpane test for proper gluten development (tips for that are included in the lesson). Please keep in mind that all of our recipes for the Better Baking Academy were tested with a stand mixer, and you will at least need a hand mixer for some of them (like frostings and meringues). We hope this helps!

  3. Thanks much for the lesson I have learn quite a bit. I will be try it on hand. My question is how to save the dough if you make it a week or two ahead of tme. I will also like to know if the baked goods can be freeze ?

    • Hi Tessa! We’re thrilled that you’re enjoying the lesson. We do not recommend setting the dough aside for more than 24 hours because your dough will be over proofed, or if you freeze it unbaked it could kill the yeast. We do, however, have a few tips for you on how to make it ahead overnight, and how to freeze once baked:

      Overnight (you have two ways to do this):
      – After the first rise, punch down your dough and cover it back up. Place in your refrigerator overnight. The next day when you’re ready to pick back up, proceed with the rest of the recipe steps as normal.
      – Shape your dough and place in the prepared pan that it will be baked in. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Before baking, set out the pan with the dough at room temperature for 30 minutes, and bake as directed. Please note that your bake time might increase by 5 minutes or so.

      To freeze:
      Only freeze once your rolls are baked through and then completely cooled. If you freeze while they are still warm, the crust outside will get mushy. Wrap the rolls tightly in plastic wrap, then in a layer of foil. The day before you want to serve them, put in the fridge overnight (still covered). Then, unwrap them, place them on your counter, and let them come to room temperature. Cover with foil (to prevent excess browning), place in the oven, and reheat at 350 degrees until fragrant and the interior reaches 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. It is okay to freeze the clover rolls after you have brushed them with cheese and herbs/olive oil, but we recommend making the frosting for the almond rolls before serving rather than freezing and reheating them with the frosting on.

      We hope this helps!

  4. Can’t wait to get started with these two tasty recipes. Do you have other suggestions for using this enriched Do-It-All Dough?

    • Hi Hilarie! You can do just about anything with this dough, you can switch up the fillings however you’d like to make classic cinnamon rolls, jam-filled rolls, etc. And for the savory option they can be just about any kind of dinner roll you’d like!

    • Hey Jennette,

      This recipe was formulated and tested in a low-altitude location (hi, from Birmingham, Alabama!). However, the only thing you need to be conscious of is the proofing time and how dry your dough is. At the higher altitudes, bread rises up to 25% to 50% faster. So check your dough with the dent test after about 20 to 3o minutes in, just to be safe. Also, the low moisture environment might make for a drier bread, so you may have to add less flour toward the end of mixing. Just be sure to use our guide (Mixing Your Dough, specifically) to help you tell if your dough needs more flour. Happy baking!

  5. Hello! I Just Opened and started with the course and i have 2 questions: why do you always go for kosher salt instead of salt? And why always dry yeast instead of fresh yeast? Sorry if these questions sound stupid but I am german and maybe I don’t know obvious american ways of baking. Thanks for answering ♥️

    • Hey Stephanie,

      In America, we don’t have easy access to fresh yeast, or cake yeast as we call it here. Instant and active dry yeast are what we mostly have to work with. We recommend you use the active dry yeast, as that is what we tested with and we can’t be certain how the dough will react to fresh yeast–or how to convert the measurement of comparable fresh yeast to dried yeast. But, lucky you! With cake yeast, we’re sure you’re able to making a real authentic Kugelhopf.

      We like using Kosher salt because the commercial table salt made in America is often iodized, leaving a slightly bitter taste. Kosher salt also has larger salt crystals, making it easier to see when we’re mixing it into the dough (and keeping us from the occasional over salting!). It’s heavier than traditional salt so, one teaspoon Kosher salt should become 1/2 teaspoon regular salt.

      We hope this helps. Happy baking!

  6. Is it possible to use INSTANT YEAST in these recipes? Is there a benefit to Active Dry that i just don’t know of? thank you

    • Hey Claire,

      We opted for Active Dry Yeast because it is the most common yeast available in grocery stores. We wanted this recipe to be as accessible as possible to readers. However, instant yeast will work fine in this recipe. You can use the same amount of instant yeast to active dry yeast and everything else in the recipe will stay exactly the same. Hope this helps. Happy baking!

    • Hey Suzie,

      Yes, you can probably make this with skim milk instead of whole, but keep in mind that the fat content in your milk is what helps make this a tender, enriched dough. So using skim milk may compromise texture and taste of your final dough. But it will still rise and bake normally, just be slightly less rich.

  7. Excellent detailed instructions. Clear and concise. I am so excited about these awesome baking lessons. Hopefully they will have a lesson on making milk bread!
    Thanks again!

  8. I would like to print the entire lesson. Can you provide a way to do that?

    And thanks for the directions without a stand mixer.

    • Hey Rosemarie,

      We use Kosher salt which is a larger crystal size than table salt, so it shouldn’t be as salty as one tablespoon of fine grain salt would be. We weighed our salt (9 grams) to be roughly 1.8% to 2% of the actual weight of the dough. This is standard for many bread dough recipes. Plus, the salt in our dough helps it to not overferment, increases shelf life, and helps give our crust color. We hope this helps! Happy baking!

  9. Well written instruction, but I have a question about the yeast, followed the directions accurately, warmed my milk mixture to 127 and I still see some of the yeast kernels in my dough after an hour rising. The dough has barely risen. Any idea? Looks like they yeast hasn’t dissolved and bloomed.

    • Hey Pam,

      Oh no! Our first place to start is to double check that your yeast hasn’t expired. You can always check to see if your yeast is still in good shape by blooming some of the yeast: Dissolve your yeast in lukewarm milk or water (100F/38C to 110F/43C) with about 1 teaspoon sugar. After 10 minutes, the mixture should be foaming as the yeast begins to consume the sugar and release bubbles of carbo dioxide. If there’s no bubbling even after 20 minutes, the yeast has expired. The other thing to check would be the temperature of your proofing area. If it’s too cold, under that 78F/26C to 82F/28C happy place, the yeast in the dough might not be able to proof. Please let us know if you continue to have issues and we’ll help you troubleshoot this further! Happy baking!

    • I also had the same problem. Mine didn’t rise and I left them longer than the expected time only to find when testing with the directions I over proofed them. Also why is the temperature for the milk so high when normal temperature is between 105 to 110. Did I kill my yeast.

  10. We are permently moving to our home in Hawaii do I need to make any adjustments for being at sea level or the warm weather?

  11. I found the dough to be dry and too salty for a sweet bread, which is what I made with it. It didn’t rise as well as I might have liked, as I have always found better success with first proofing dry yeast with sugar and warm liquid independently from other ingredients, letting it ferment for 15-20 minutes by itself, then adding the yeast mixture to other ingredients, vs adding yeast to the flour and salt, then adding warm fluids and sugar, as the recipe called for. Oh well, it will get eaten. And I agree with the commentary about cake yeast, as it is the best, but currently very difficult to find in the Midwest US, although it was readily available years ago. A real shame, because it mixes beautifully and makes a lovely dough.

  12. I appreciated your comments about the flour to salt ratio and how different salts have different weight.tablespoon. I make the almond creme rolls and used exactly 9 grams of salt, and thought it was a tad too salty. I do quite a bit of yeast baking and think the dough is excellent for the dinner rolls, but would use slightly less salt and add a little more sugar for sweet roll dough. Other than that, the texture of the baked product was outstanding.

  13. Thanks for this excellent recipe. Quick question – why don’t you activate the yeast? My dough rose, but not as much as I’ve had in other recipes. My house might have been a little cool (mid-60s?), but I’m wondering if the yeast treatment was also part of the equation.

    • Hey Margot,

      The yeast does get hydrated and activated when the warm liquid ingredients are added to the dry ingredients. So even though the yeast is already mixed in with the flour and other dry ingredients, it still gets activated once the warm liquid is added. However, the cool home temperature would definitely affect the rise. If you’re looking for a way to proof your dough in a warmer environment without cranking up the thermostat, turn on your oven’s light and let the dough proof inside the oven with the light on. The heat from the light will be gentle enough to get the bread proofing at that ideal 75F temperature. We hope this helps. Happy baking!

      • Thanks for the feedback! Now if only I had an oven light! Baking in an old 1950s Thermador oven – it’s adorable but primitive. 😉

  14. I used my bread machine on the dough setting for this recipe. The dough came out great. I made 12 regular round dinner rolls and used the butter/herb/cheese topping on them. They came out very nice. Freeze well. Reheat well. And even make a great sandwich.

  15. I finally made this dough and decided to make the Clover Rolls last night. Let me just say that those rolls were the best I have ever had anywhere!! My husband and son couldn’t stop eating them. We finished the entire batch, deciding to have those for dinner!! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe.

  16. Is the oven temp for a conventional oven or a convection oven? I made mine without the fan because I was unsure but my rolls took almost twice the time to bake. They came out great though! Made 3/4 almond and 1/4 cinnamon for the coworkers with nut allergies. They all seemed to like them and they all disappeared so I am a happy baker.

    • Hey Sharon,

      We tested these recipes in a conventional oven (so, not a convection oven). Typically, convection ovens will just cook your baked goods slightly faster, and you’ll need to check your baked goods about 5 to 10 minutes earlier than the usual bake time called for. If your buns took a longer time in the oven, it might have been due to how quickly your oven heats up (normally a preheated oven takes a bit longer to get to its ideal temp, despite when it tells you it’s ready) or you might want to check to see if the oven temperature needs to be recalibrated. A great way to check this is to place an oven thermometer in your oven, set it to 350F, and see how long your oven takes to get to that temperature (a great way to gauge how long it actually takes you oven to preheat) and if it even reaches that temperature (it might stop short of getting to the true 350F which means your oven temperature is off a bit). If you’re oven runs cool, it could explain the increased bake time. Either way, we’re happy to hear the recipe turned out so well! We hope this helps. Happy baking!

  17. I had great fun making the savory herb rolls today and my family is enjoying them right now. Thank you for the great idea of an online baking academy. Your website is very easy to navigate and all your tips and teaching preceding the recipes were very helpful. I just printed out the recipes to put in a notebook and the printing process was perfect. Thank you again for providing this great adventure; I have invited family to join me in it.

  18. Hi! I’m very excited to test this recipe, but wanted to make a sweeter version of it (we, Brazilians, have an extremelly sweet tooth!). Can I add more sugar to it? If I do, what other adjustments will be needed?

    • Hey Julia,

      You can add a couple tablespoons of granulated sugar to this to sweeten, but we caution you on adding too much, as it will cause the bread to potentially burn in the oven. Keep an eye on it, and know that you may have to pull it a little early before it goes the full bake time called for.

  19. Just tried out this dough to make Zoe’s Raspberry Swirl bread. It turned out great after baking and I got so many compliments on the texture of the bread. I had a bit of a hard time getting the dough to be less sticky and ended up adding the full 1/4cup and 2 extra tablespoons to combat the stickiness. I don’t know whether the wetness of the dough has to do with the climate I’m in- I live on an island with 80% humidity and low altitude as I’m close to sea level. Also I had to keep Kneading the bread with the stand mixer for a lot longer than 7 minutes, it was about 20-30 mins before the dough was able to be stretched into a thin and translucent piece. I wonder if the extra kneading time has to do with my climate as well. I can’t wait to try out this dough again to make cinnamon rolls or some garlic knots! Great recipe!

    • Hi Kinza!

      Eggs are approximately 10% fat and 12% protein. To make a substitution, I would recommend increasing the butter from 76 to 81 grams (about 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon) and the milk from 120 to 165 grams (about 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons). Hope this helps!

  20. My question/comment is in regards to sour dough starter. It is probably buried in other comments but didn’t read all of them. I have a really good starter that a local bakery gave me. Some recipes call for BOTH sour dough starter and regular yeast. I have seen some that insist it should be the rapid yeast rather than regular yeast. Also, if I take a cup of sour dough starter for a recipe, how much flour/water did I add back in…this is another area of confusion. I have read that sour dough is actually good for our gut health. I am trying to come up with a recipe that is part whole wheat, has sour dough starter and I can add different seeds etc. to make it even more healthy and delicious. I would love for it to be the Dutch oven baking and it would be great to have a recipe I can use in my bread machine. I LOVE a good bread and I am kind of snobby about it. It really does make the meal some time to soak of the goodness of sauces, etc. or in lieu of sucking my thumb when I want food comfort. 🙂 Thank you for reading this long post!

  21. Made these yesterday and it was basically a failure even though they looked beautiful. I should have read through comments beforehand. I’m an experienced baker and knew that 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt for 3.75 C of flour was too much, but I told myself to trust the recipe. It was overwhelmingly salty. 🙁 I also felt like the filling was super dry and probably should not have had the all-purpose flour in it. The almond flavor was almost completely non-existent – next time I will at least double the amount of almond extract, maybe triple or quadruple. I’m planning on making again in the future because I think these have great potential. I’m looking at this one as a learning experience.

    • Hi Julie,

      Thank you for the thorough notes on the recipe! Salt is definitely a tricky ingredient, and we recommend measuring by weight because of the discrepancy between types and brands. For example, Morton Kosher salt (4.8 g/ tsp) can weigh almost twice as much Diamond Crystal Kosher salt (2.8 g/tsp), and Morton table salt weighs even more at 6 g/tsp! And because our taste buds pick up on salt so readily, the differences can be intense. We also recommend measuring all ingredient by weight due to the variances in measuring cups and spoons, and the individual differences between how bakers measure these ingredients. We do hope that your recipe comes out perfect next time around! Keep us posted and happy baking!


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