Culinary SOS: Sally Lunn rolls from Kentucky

Flavorful Sally Lunn rolls, adapted from Rye in Louisville, Ky. Read the recipe »
Flavorful Sally Lunn rolls, adapted from Rye in Louisville, Ky. Read the recipe »
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
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Los Angeles Times

Dear SOS: I recently returned from a trip to Louisville, Ky., and dined at a new restaurant called Rye. They make the most divine Sally Lunn rolls. They were one of the highlights of our dining experience — truly life-changing. Any chance you could persuade them to submit their recipe to your readers?

Sarah McKinney

San Bruno, Calif.

Dear Sarah: Rich and buttery, yet oh-so-light in texture, these rolls are bound to steal the show at any dinner party. Rye was happy to share its Sally Lunn roll recipe, which we’ve adapted below.

Rye’s Sally Lunn rolls


Total time: 1 hour, 45 minutes, plus rising times

Servings: Makes about 1½ dozen rolls

Note: Adapted from Rye in Louisville, Ky.

1 Yukon Gold potato

1 1/4 cups (5 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons plus 2½ teaspoons (1 ounce) sugar

1/4 cup plus 2½ tablespoons (½ stick plus 2½ tablespoons) butter, divided

1/2 cup plus 3½ tablespoons milk

1 egg

2 egg yolks

1 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (6¼ ounces) bread flour

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided

1. Boil the potato in a medium pot until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel the potato and mash. Measure one-half cup (2 2/3 ounces) mashed potato and set aside (save the rest for another use).

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, yeast and sugar. Set aside

3. In a small saucepan, melt one-fourth cup plus one-half tablespoon butter. In a blender, combine the melted butter, milk and mashed potato, and blend until smooth.

4. Add the potato mixture to the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Set aside for 30 minutes to give the yeast time to activate.

5. If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook attachment. Add the whole egg and one yolk, and mix until combined, then add the bread flour and 1¼ teaspoons salt, scraping down the bowl as needed until the ingredients are combined to form the dough.

If mixing by hand, beat in the egg and 1 yolk using a hand mixer, then add the bread flour and 1¼ teaspoons salt, mixing by hand with a spoon or spatula until the ingredients are combined to form a dough.


6. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl, and lightly oil the top of the dough, then cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside until it doubles in size, about 30 minutes.

7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and portion the dough out into 1½ dozen balls, each weighing about 1¼ ounces.

8. Roll the portions into balls and place on a lightly oiled parchment-lined baking sheet (6 rows, 3 rolls each).

9. Very lightly brush the tops of the rolls with oil and gently cover with a layer of plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

10. When the rolls are almost ready, heat the oven to 375 degrees.

11. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over low heat just until melted. Place the butter in a small bowl and beat in the remaining egg yolk. Gently brush the tops of the risen rolls with the butter mixture, then sprinkle over the remaining three-fourths teaspoon coarse sea salt.

12. Bake the rolls until golden brown and completely set, about 20 minutes.

13. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

Each of 18 rolls: 135 calories; 3 grams protein; 18 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 43 mg cholesterol; 2 grams sugar; 234 mg sodium.