Use roasted malts in dark breads like pumpernickel and dark rye.
Use roasted malts in dark breads like pumpernickel and dark rye.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which puts me in the mood for a big hearty meal with family—one of those traditional meals with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and, of course, piping hot dinner rolls.  My family is of Russian descent so our favorites are dark breads. I’d love to share with you one of our favorite recipes, Pumpernickel Dinner Rolls, that I reformulated using two Briess malts—Briess Rye Malt and Briess Dark Chocolate Malt. Besides adding flavor and color, Rye Malt keeps these dinner rolls surprisingly light—just the right texture to accompany a hearty meal. And I really like the flavor Dark Chocolate Malt delivers in place of cocoa powder.

Baking is my passion, so I’m always looking for ways to use specialty malts as an ingredient. In my work with commercial bakeries and our own R&D projects here at Briess, I’ve discovered that roasted malts can be used in many baked goods for additional or unique flavor and color, and not just for improved fermentation. Malt also tends to make for a nicer, softer crumb in yeast-raised breads. And it improves browning and extends shelf life.

There are many ways to formulate malt into the foods you make, especially in baked goods like these dinner rolls. So get out your grinders and here we go.

See how the flours are slightly coarse? I milled both malts for the same length of time.

I have found that milling the malt into a slightly coarser flour enhances the overall flavor and texture of the roll. A standard coffee grinder works great.  Mill ¼ cup to ½ cup of whole kernel malt for 30-45 seconds.  This gives you malt flour similar to stone-ground whole wheat flour, which is perfect for this recipe.

Pumpernickel Dinner Rolls


1 ½ cups—Warm Milk (110ºF)

2 ½ cups—Bread Flour

1 ½ tbsp—Vegetable Oil

1 cup—Briess Rye Malt Flour

3 tbsp—Molasses

1/3 cup—Corn Meal

2 tsp—Active Dry Yeast

2 tbsp—Briess Dark Chocolate Malt Flour

1 tsp—Salt


  1. In stand mixer bowl combine milk, oil,  molasses, and yeast. Stir well and set aside until it starts foaming. This activates the yeast and gives the dough a head start in the proofing process.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and blend thoroughly. You want even distribution of all ingredients.
  3. On low speed, slowly add dry ingredients to the yeast mixture.
  4. Mix until all dry components are incorporated and the dough is formed (do not over-work the dough).
  5. Knead until the dough has a smooth consistency and is no longer sticky.
  6. Form the dough into a large ball and place in a lightly oiled container. Cover and let rise until it doubles in size (about 1 hour).
  7. Remove dough from bowl and lightly degas.  Pat the dough into a ½-inch thick rectangle.  Roll the dough as if for a jelly roll.  Then seal the end of the roll with your fingertips to eliminate any keyholes during second rising.
  8. Cut the rolled dough into uniform pieces approximately 1-inch wide. Roll into balls, brush with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp. water),  cover, and let rise until double (about 1 hour).
  9. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 35 minutes.

Enjoy with lots of butter or use them to soak up that Thanksgiving gravy.