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Refrigerator Rolls – Never Be Without Bread Again

It was one of those weekends where I really didn’t want to leave the house. We’d been out and about on Saturday morning and I was ready for a weekend of writing, reading and cooking. As I started to make a split pea and ham soup I realised that we didn’t have any decent bread in the house to go with the soup. I decided I’d rather make some bread rolls from scratch than to head out again on what was really an unnecessary journey. I’m not saying that making bread is necessarily hard but it is time consuming and the fact that weighing, kneading, proving and baking was preferable to a 10 minutes dash to the shops says volumes.

But what bread to make? I’ve been trying to resist jumping straight on the internet any time I need a recipe as I have perfectly good resources on my bookshelf that could do with being utilised more. So I took a look to see what I had in the way of bread recipes. Surprisingly, for the number of cookbooks I have, not many of them contain recipes for traditional loaves or rolls. Rather than adapt a pide or focaccia recipe, I turned to a quirky little cookbook that’s been sitting on my shelves for nearly 20 years. The Australian National Trust Recipe Book. It’s not a flashy affair, containing recipes contributed by members as a fund-raising exercise for the Trust, with that home published look of recipe books you often see schools and community groups compiling. Grouped into sections that really have no rhyme nor reason, it’s a melting pot of recipes, many with eccentric names such as ‘Cockeye Cake’, ‘First Cook A Chook’, ‘Allergy Banana’, and ‘Cabbage Scramble’.

In the Cakes section was a recipe for Refrigerator Rolls, which was the type of simple recipe I was after. They are called Refrigerator Rolls with the idea being that you keep the dough in the fridge during the course of the week and portion off the amount of dough you require for rolls, each day. I had no space for that so rolled all of the dough and froze the rolls I wasn’t going to be using in the next day or so. You can read my tips on freezing and waking the dough up at the end.

Australian National Trust Refrigerator Rolls

Refrigerator Rolls


  • 1 x 7g sachet dry active yeast
  • 2 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 1 cup hot water 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3  1/2  – 4 cups plain (all purpose) flour (white/wholemeal or a mix)
  • 1 egg, beaten


  1. Combine 1 cup hot water, salt, butter and sugar in a large bowl and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved and butter is melted. Set aside and allow to cool to lukewarm.
  2. Add yeast to small bowl with 2 tbsp lukewarm water, stir and set aside to activate and froth for a few minutes.
  3. Add yeast mixture to melted butter mixture and stir gently. Add egg and 2 cups of flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to add flour to the mixture until you have an easy to handle but not sticky dough. (I’m suggesting also giving it a short knead in the bowl to making sure the dough is well combined)

A) Refrigerate for Later

  • Oil top of dough and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in fridge for 2 – 3 days and use as required. Punch down dough if it rises too much.
  • To use, cut off as much as needed and shape into rolls the size of a mandarin (clementine).
  • Brush with melted butter, place on a tray and cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled
  • Bake in oven preheated to 210c for 12 – 15 minutes until lightly browned and depending on size of the roll.

B) Use Immediately

  • Oil top of dough and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for and hour until dough has doubled.
  • Punch down dough and portion and shape into rolls the size of a mandarin (clementine).
  • Brush with melted butter, place on a tray and allow to rise for a few minutes
  • Bake in oven preheated to 210c for 12 – 15 minutes until lightly browned and depending on size of the roll.

C) Freeze for Later Use

  • Oil top of dough and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for and hour until dough has doubled.
  • Punch down dough and portion, shape into roll sthe size of a mandarin (clementine) and place onto a tray.
  • Place tray in freezer and once rolls are frozen, wrap individually in plastic wrap.
  • When you are ready to use:
  • Remove rolls from freezer, unwrap and sit on a plate or tray to defrost and wake up the dough.
  • Defrosting will take several hours. I remove these in the morning before work and they are ready to bake in the evening.
  • Brush with melted butter and bake in oven preheated to 210c for 12 – 15 minutes until lightly browned and depending on size of the roll .

Makes approx 15


  • The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of sugar and though these rolls were delicious, they were a little too sweet. I have subsequently cut the sugar to 2 tbsp.
  • Many recipes suggest removing the bread from the freezer and defrosting in the fridge overnight or all day. The texture of the rolls isn’t as good and sometimes they come out like little bullets. Just put them on a tray or plate and cover on the bench and they will be fine. If it’s a sizzling 30c Brisbane day, a few hours will be enough otherwise you may come home and find your rolls have taken over the kitchen!
6 comments… add one
  • Elizabeth June 22, 2014, 1:59 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, because I’m single I like to make a dough, but have never froze one yet, so I will give it a go! I am fortunate enough to have a thermomix so most of the process is done for me, but I still do like to do a little of the kneading as I find it therapeutic 🙂
    Liz x

    • Fiona Ryan June 22, 2014, 5:30 pm

      You’re very welcome Liz. It’s nothing fancy and doesn’t really require much kneading so save the clean up on the Thermomix and use a bowl.

  • Mel @ The cook's notebook June 23, 2014, 9:24 am

    You need an Eat Your Books subscription to help you find the recipes you need in your cookbooks! I freeze little balls of pizza dough all the time – so easy. Defrosts on the bench in minutes.

    • Fiona Ryan June 23, 2014, 9:40 pm

      Yes, I should have taken up the lifetime subscription that was on offer for some amazingly cheap price sometime back. Perhaps they will do it again.

  • The Hungry Mum August 11, 2014, 8:39 pm

    have never made bread rolls but these looks os perfect & I van just imagine how wonderful they taste.

    • Fiona Ryan August 11, 2014, 9:09 pm

      I just made another batch on the weekend and froze them. They are so easy and there’s no kneading to it’s a good intro to bread making. Thanks for stopping by!

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