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Recipe of the week: How to make Hawaiian rolls with tropical wheat beer

Addie Broyles,
Tropical wheat beer adds a punch of flavor to these Hawaiian-style sweet yeast rolls. The recipe is from Lori Rice’s new book, “Beer Bread.” [Contributed by Lori Rice]

Beer and bread go together like chicken wings and the Super Bowl.

This homemade spin on King’s Hawaiian rolls, the softest, sweetest bread you’ll find in just about every grocery store in America, uses a tropical wheat beer to add that hint of floral flavor. The recipe is from a new book called “Beer Bread” by Lori Rice that comes out the first week of February.

Rice offers suggestions of fruity wheat beer options that you could use, and Texans can add Shiner’s prickly pear or peach beers to the list.

The dough has to rise for about two hours and then another 30 minutes after you’ve formed the rolls, but they bake in just more than 20 minutes. You could serve them warm and with butter on your Super Bowl buffet, or you could use them as a base for buttery ham-and-cheese sliders or turkey-Swiss sliders with cranberry sauce.

RELATED: So much butter: The very best Hawaiian roll slider for a holiday party

How to make a slider using turkey, Swiss and cranberry sauce

A tip on cutting the dough into 12 equal pieces: You can use a baking scale to make sure each ball is about 2 1/2 ounces, or you can cut the ball of dough in half, and then continue to cut each part in half until you have 12 pieces.

If you have any extras, tear them apart and freeze in a zip-top freezer bag. That way, if you only want one or two rolls, you can pull them out to thaw individually.

Tropical Wheat Hawaiian-Style Rolls

Homemade Hawaiian-style rolls often use pineapple juice to create that pillowy texture and hint of tropical sweetness we are familiar with from the store-bought version. This recipe incorporates a similar idea, but in the form of beer. A tropical-flavored wheat beer creates a punch of flavor, giving the rolls their characteristic sweetness. I like to use a passion fruit wheat beer, but pineapple or guava are great choices, too. Some options: Kona Brewing Company Wailua Wheat, Maui Brewing Company Pineapple Mana Wheat or SanTan Brewery Mr. Pineapple.

— Lori Rice

3 3/4 cups (450 grams) all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4 ounces) active dry yeast

3/4 cup (6 ounces) tropical wheat beer

1/3  cup sugar

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons powdered milk

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Egg wash

Add the flour and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn the mixer to low and pour in the beer. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed and mix until a dough begins to form. Mix in the sugar and then the melted butter and milk powder. Mix in the eggs and then add the salt.

The dough will be sticky, so scrape the sides as needed with a rubber spatula. Allow the mixer to knead the dough for a full 15 minutes. At this point, a dough ball will form in the middle of the bowl. The dough will still be sticky but will pull away from the bowl when encouraged.

Use floured hands to handle it and turn the dough ball out onto a floured surface. Knead by hand for about 30 more seconds and form the dough into a ball. Transfer the dough to a bowl that has been greased with butter or cooking oil. Cover it and let it proof until it has doubled in size, at least 2 hours. You want it to be nice and puffy.

Grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan with butter. (I sometimes use a slightly shorter pan, 9 inches by 11 inches, so that the rolls bake closely together like the store-bought ones, but either is fine.)

Punch down the dough. Turn it back out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough back into a ball and cut it into 12 equal pieces, about 2 1/2 ounces each. Roll the pieces into balls. Place the balls in the prepared pan.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Set the baking dish on the stove and let the dough proof for 30 more minutes. Brush the rolls with egg wash and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re golden brown and the center of the rolls reaches 190 degrees. Makes 12 rolls.

— From “Beer Bread: Brew-Infused Breads, Rolls, Biscuits, Muffins, and More” by Lori Rice (Countryman Press, $24.95)