Daddy’s Thanksgiving Tradition

100% whole wheat rolls

Before I was born, Dad began the tradition of baking bred on Thanksgiving morning. He developed his whole wheat rolls recipe while in grad school, but that sweet moist bread quickly became every person’s favorite dish on the holiday table.  


100% whole wheat rolls


As I grew, I started following Dad into the kitchen, asking to help measure flour or shape the dough. A year or two later, Dad allowed me to stir and knead the dough—no easy task for a seven-year-old girl’s tiny muscles!


100% whole wheat rolls


The last two years, Dad named himself the Thanksgiving sous chef and handed me the title of head chef and breadmaker. While he chopped and cooked just as many ingredients and dishes as I did, it meant a lot that he would put me in charge of his recipe.


100% whole wheat rolls


Although I don’t feel right sharing the official Thanksgiving rolls recipe we’ll make tomorrow morning (it is my dad’s, after all!), I will give you my second favorite. They turn out just as moist, and they disappear just as quickly!


100% whole wheat rolls


100% Whole Wheat Rolls

modified from this recipe

makes 12 rolls

These taste delicious warm out of the oven, or even at room temperature as a post-feast snack before bed! Store in an airtight container on the counter for 4-5 days.

¾ c. + 2 tbsp warm water (100-110°)

2 tsp yeast

2½ c. whole wheat flour, divided (plus more for kneading)

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp honey

2 tsp molasses

  1. Mix the yeast and warm water together in a small bowl, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 1½ cups of flour and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast mixture and remaining ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon, adding more flour as necessary, until a dough forms and is only slightly tacky.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured dry surface, and flour your hands. Knead in more of the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. It should bounce back when you press your finger into it.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball. Coat a bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and place the dough inside, rolling it around to coat all of the sides with the oil. Cover the top with a clean towel, and set in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes until doubled in size.
  5. Lightly coat a 9” round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. On a clean, floured surface, punch the dough down until it’s approximately the same size as before it rose. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls, and place in the prepared pan. Cover the top with the towel, and let the rolls rise in a warm place for 30 min or until doubled in size.
  6. While the rolls rise, preheat the oven to 350°. Uncover the rolls, and bake at 350° for 25-30 min or until the tops are golden and the rolls sound hollow when tapped. Cool in the pan for 5 min before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.


100% whole wheat rolls



November 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Satisfying Sides.


  1. snati001 replied:

    Such a sweet story! Seems like your dad has the perfect whole-wheat roll recipe.

    • foods for the soul replied:

      Thank you for your kind comment! He definitely does. They’re so good that we make them for Christmas and Easter too!

  2. Brittany replied:

    These rolls look amazing! I love the simplicity of the ingredients too! SO YUM!

    • foods for the soul replied:

      Thanks! I know they aren’t quite vegan from the honey, but a little brown sugar substitution instead and they’d be vegan-friendly!

  3. cityhippyfarmgirl replied:

    Home made bread is always a winner isn’t it 🙂

    • foods for the soul replied:

      Yes!! And the house always smells so good while it bakes, which makes the bread even better!

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