If you’re a grad or hosting a grad party, chances are you’re looking for some fabulous party food ideas. And really, who could say no to a tray full of soft, homemade bread rolls, all cooked together with a creamy bacon and jalapeño dip? A little bit of prep beforehand, and you’ll have an amazing dish that you can put straight on the table and let everyone dig into. Even better, you can prep and freeze the rolls ahead of time, meaning it’ll only take a couple of minutes to put together, plus 15 minutes in the oven on the big day.

Dough balls with bacon jalapeno dip

Ingredients

Dough Balls:
— 5 cups strong white bread flour

— 1 tablespoon salt

— 2 tablespoons castor sugar or superfine sugar

— 4 teaspoons instant yeast

— 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, softened

— 1 cup + 2/3 cup warm, full-fat milk

— olive oil for kneading

— 1 tablespoon melted butter (for brushing on rolls)

Bacon Jalapeño Dip:
— 10 bacon strips

— 3 jalapeños, chopped

— 2 scallions, chopped

— 1 1/4 cups cream cheese

— ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream

— 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

— 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

— 2 cups firmly packed mature cheddar cheese, grated

— ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To Serve:
— 1/2 jalapeño, sliced thinly

— 1 scallion, chopped finely

Dough balls with bacon jalapeno dip

Directions:

1. Place flour in a large bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl, and the instant yeast to the other side (yeast and salt don’t like to be in direct contact). Add in butter and three quarters of the milk.

2. Mix the dough together with one hand, adding in more milk, a bit at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl and you have a soft and slightly sticky dough. You may not need all the milk.

3. Lightly oil your work surface with a little olive oil, then turn your dough out onto the surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. It will be sticky at first, but will get smoother as you work.

4. Clean and dry your bowl, wipe it with a little olive oil and place your dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm room for one hour.

5. Place an upturned bowl (approx. 8 x 5 inches) in the middle of a 17 x 12-inch baking tray. Lightly brush the outside of the bowl with a little olive oil or cooking spray. Place aside.

6. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air back out of it by folding it in onto itself repeatedly. Divide the dough into small portions. You can do this by eye if you want a more rustic version. If you want to be precise, weigh your dough. 28 of the rolls should weigh 1 ounce, four should weigh 0.75 ounces and four should weigh 0.5 ounces. A few of the rolls are smaller to fit into the smaller spaces. Roll each portion into a ball. Make sure the tops are smooth by tucking any messy bits underneath. Arrange the dough balls in the tray, starting with the larger rolls on the outside and finishing with the smaller rolls in the spaces that are left. Cover in plastic wrap and leave to rise for another 30-40 minutes.

7. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and make your dip.

8. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the bacon. Cook for 5-6 minutes until golden and crispy. Add chopped jalapeños and scallions to the pan with the bacon and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and allow to cool, then chop the bacon using scissors.

9. Put aside a few bits of cooked bacon and two tablespoons of cheddar. Add the rest of the chopped bacon and jalapeños to the remaining dip ingredients. Mix until combined, then cover and refrigerate until the bread has finished rising.

10. Once your dough has risen, carefully remove the bowl from the center of your dough ball pan and spoon the dip into the center. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese and brush the rolls with melted butter. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the buns and dip are golden.

11. Take out of the oven and leave to cool for five minutes. Sprinkle reserved bacon over the top. Garnish with jalapeños slices and chopped scallions before serving.

Note: To make this recipe ahead of time, cook the dough balls in the oven for 10 minutes (without the dip, but with an ovenproof bowl in the center). Then, take the bread out of the oven, cool, cover and freeze. On the day of your party, take the bread out of the freezer (no need to defrost), add the freshly prepared dip and cook for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees F.

step-1-dough-balls

Place flour in a large bowl. Add salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the instant yeast to the other side. Add in the butter and about three quarters of the milk. Mix the dough together with one hand, adding in more milk, a bit at a time until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl and you have a soft (but not really sticky) dough. You may not need all the milk.

step-2

Lightly oil your work surface with a little olive oil, then turn your dough out onto the surface and knead for 5-10 minutes.

step-3-doughballs

Place your dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and then place in a warm room for one hour to rise. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air back out of it by folding it in on itself repeatedly. Divide up the dough into small portions. You can do this by eye if you want a more rustic version. If you want to be precise, weigh your dough.

doughballs

Arrange the dough balls on a baking sheet, starting with the larger rolls on the outside and finishing with the smaller rolls in the spaces that are left. Cover in plastic wrap and leave to rise for another 30-40 mins.

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Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add in the bacon. Cook for 5-6 minutes until golden and crispy. Add the chopped jalapeños and scallions to the pan with the bacon and cook for a further minute. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Then, chop the bacon using scissors.

dip-doughballs

Put aside a few bits of cooked bacon and two tablespoon of cheddar, then mix the chopped bacon and jalapeños with the rest of the other dip ingredients. Mix until combined, then cover and refrigerate until the bread has finished rising.

dip-gif-2

Once your dough has risen, carefully remove the bowl from the center of your dough ball pan, and pour the dip into the center. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese, and brush the rolls with melted butter. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the buns and dip are golden. Take out of the oven and let cool for five minutes. Sprinkle on the reserved bacon and garnish with jalapeño slices and chopped scallions.

Dough balls with bacon jalapeno dip

Now, dig in!

What’s the best thing you ever had at a grad party? Let us know in the comments below!