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Sweet Molasses Brown Bread Rolls Recipe

Molasses Brown Bread Rolls are soft and tender. Molasses and a bit of honey give this easy brown bread recipe a mild sweetness. Topped with our special butter makes them unforgettable!

A roll sits next to a rolled pulled apart and buttered next to a jar of butter and in front of a basket of rolls.

Molasses Brown Bread Rolls recipe is an easy bread roll to make.

The combination of molasses and honey adds just a hint of sweetness to these brown bread rolls. A touch of cocoa gives this bread a depth of flavor but by no means a chocolate flavor.

This Homemade Brown Bread has been compared to the bread served at Outback and Cheesecake Factory restaurants.

There’s a reason that we go to those restaurants, and the memory of their Brown Bread Rolls with honey butter is a big one! This recipe, in my humble opinion, resembles that bread that we gorge on.

This recipe is more bread than sweet and the perfect balance to a savory meal.

Sweet Molasses Brown Bread Rolls

Molasses Brown Bread Recipe Ingredients

  • Dry Yeast – Active, Instant, or Rapid Rise
  • Egg – Makes this bread richer and acts as a binder for the ingredients
  • Honey – Adds sweetness to this brown bread recipe. We use local but use what you have available to you.
  • Molasses – Adds sweetness to these rolls and also aids in keeping the bread moist. The varieties are explained below.
  • Cocoa – Adds a deep richness to the flavor without the actual taste of chocolate. We use Dutch-processed cocoa.
  • Brown Sugar – Either light or dark varieties will work just fine.
  • Flour – We used whole wheat and all-purpose flour in this recipe. Using just whole wheat would have made these rolls dense. The combination of the two flours kept our Molasses Brown Bread soft and tender.
  • Salt – We like using fine sea salt in our bread recipes. The granules are small and will not sink to the bottom of our dry ingredients like the coarser varieties.
  • Garnish – The tops of these rolls can be dusted with a light sprinkle of cornmeal or oats. It can be skipped altogether as well
Sweet Molasses Brown Bread Rolls

What’s the best variety of molasses to use?

Molasses is a liquid and will add moisture and a darker hue to Brown Bread. There are basically three varieties of molasses. You can use what you prefer. Here are the differences.

  1. Light molasses – lighter in flavor and hue. Perfect for baking and candies.
  2. Dark molasses – stronger in flavor and darker hue. Can be used interchangeably with light molasses. Often used for gingersnap recipes.
  3. Blackstrap molasses – very dark in hue and has a strong flavor with a bitterness to it. Often used in barbecue or baked bean recipe. (source)

How to make Brown Bread

  1. Combine dry yeast with warm water and let it rest until it blooms in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Note: if you use instant yeast, rapid rise, or active yeast, you don’t have to wait.
  2. Add the egg, honey, molasses, all-purpose flour, cocoa, brown sugar, salt, to the yeast mixture. Mix together using the paddle attachment.
  3. Change the paddle attachment to the dough hook attachment on the mixer.
  4. With the mixer on low, gradually add 1 cup of whole wheat flour and mix until combined. Gradually add the other cup of whole wheat flour until the dough starts to ball and leaves the sides of the bowl. Beat on low for 7 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary.
    • This is a stiff dough but it will bake up soft and tender.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it’s tight and smooth 4 to 5 times.
  6. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl, turning once to oil both sides of the dough ball. Cover and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, 90 minutes.
  7. Punch down the dough and form 16 rolls. Place them on a greased 9X13 inch baking dish and allow them to rise again for 1 hour.
  8. Brush the tops with melted butter and dust with cornmeal or oats. (optional)
  9. Bake

If you’re going to use the Brown Sugar Honey Butter, you can make it before or while you’re making your rolls.

Bread can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or frozen wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

How to make Brown Sugar Honey Butter

  1. Whip a stick of butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the brown sugar and honey. Continue beating until well blended.
  3. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. Brown sugar honey butter and also be frozen. We like to roll ours in a piece of plastic wrap in the shape of a tube and freeze it so it can be sliced for serving.

We LOVE baking bread! You can find all of our bread recipes here!

Pin it!

Two photo collage for Pinterest. The top photo is of several rolls and the bottom photo is of a roll split in half and spread with butter.

We really enjoyed these rolls, and even though I bake a lot of bread it reminded me that I need to make rolls more often.

Oh and that butter would be delicious on pancakes or waffles too. I’m just drooling thinking about it.

If you like this recipe, we would appreciate your comment and a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review!

Close up shot of a brown bread roll split in half and spread with butter. A whole roll and jar of butter sit in the background.
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5 from 9 votes

Sweet Molasses Brown Bread Rolls Recipe

Molasses Brown Bread Rolls are soft and tender. Molasses and a bit of honey give this easy brown bread recipe a mild sweetness. Topped with our special butter makes them unforgettable.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 22 mins
Proofing time 2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 7 mins
Servings 16
Author Hostess At Heart

Ingredients

Bread Dough

  • 4 tsps active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water 110 degrees F
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp cocoa I used dutch processed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • cups all-purpose flour plus ½ if needed
  • cups whole wheat flour
  • Cornmeal optional

Brown sugar butter

  • 8 tbsp salted butter 1 stick
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar light or dark
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions

Molasses Brown Bread

  • Combine warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Add the egg, honey, molasses, whole wheat flour, cocoa, brown sugar, salt, to the yeast mixture. Mix together using the paddle attachment until combined.
  • Change the beater to the dough hook. Add one cup of the all-purpose flour and mix on low until combined. Gradually add another ½ to ¾ cup of all-purpose flour until dough starts to ball and leaves the sides of the bowl. Beat on low for 7 minutes, adding additional flour if necessary.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until tight and smooth, 4 to 5 times. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl, turning once to oil both sides of the dough ball. Cover the dough and allow to rise until doubled in size, 90 minutes.
  • Punch down dough and form 16 rolls. Place in a greased 9X13 inch pan and allow to rise again for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cornflour or oats (optional)
  • Bake for 22 minutes.

Brown Sugar Honey Butter

  • Add the stick of butter to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until the butter is light and fluffy.
  • Add the brown sugar and honey to the butter. Continue beating until smooth.

Notes

Adapted from Itsalwaysautumn.com
Nutritional value doesn’t include brown sugar butter.

Nutrition

Calories: 163kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 175mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 16IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.
Tried this recipe? That’s awesome!Mention @hostessatheart or tag #hostessatheart!
Recipe Rating




Colleen

Friday 27th of August 2021

Yum made today! Instead of rolls I made a round loaf. As my husband said "deliciousness"! Thanks for sharing!

Julie Menghini

Saturday 28th of August 2021

Thanks for letting me know, Colleen! I've got to give that a try!

Katherine

Saturday 10th of July 2021

Ugh - I made these last night and I couldn't get my dough to rise at all. I was using brand new yeast. And advice about what I might have done wrong? The flavor was nice but they were as hard as a rock.

Julie Menghini

Saturday 10th of July 2021

Did you let it rise twice, Katherine? I've never had that issue myself or heard of others either. You may want to use less flour. I just made a couple of tweaks to the recipe based on your comment. It makes sense to use less flour sometimes because of humidity and temperature. Add the wheat flour first and start with a smaller amount and then the all-purpose flour and only add additional if your dough isn't releasing from the sides. I hope you will give it another try Katherine. These rolls are delicious.

Mahy

Friday 5th of February 2021

I've got to make a big batch of these because I do have a feeling that they won't last long. They certainly look absolutely amazing!

Julie Menghini

Saturday 6th of February 2021

Thank you, Mahy! They do go quickly in my house!

Beth Sachs

Friday 5th of February 2021

Absolutely delicious straight out of the oven spread with salted butter! Yummy

Julie Menghini

Saturday 6th of February 2021

Thank you, Beth!

Lisa

Friday 5th of February 2021

I've got a nearly full jar of molasses (I just made a BBQ sauce) and now I need to make these delicious buns. They look perfect to go with a bowl of soup or savory braise,

Julie Menghini

Saturday 6th of February 2021

I agree! Thank you, Lisa!