Formula: Hawaiian Butter Rolls

This past weekend, my family put on a small open house for my daughter’s graduation from high school. Though we invited around 50 people, we had no more than 25 at one time, spread through the house and the backyard, so social distancing wasn’t too much of a problem.

For the main dish, I BBQ’d and braised pork butts. And instead of our regular rice or noodle offering that we have at our parties, I figured with me being an avid baker, I’d make bread for the party!

I made four different kinds (as shown in the picture): Baguettes, Sourdough Demis, Sourdough Rolls, and what I call Hawaiian Butter Rolls. These were definitely the hit of the party, and they were gone long before the other bread. So given their popularity at the party, I thought I’d share the formula.

These aren’t exactly like King’s Hawaiian rolls – I didn’t develop the recipe to mimic them. They’re more like a cross between brioche and Hawaiian rolls. But no matter, they’re absolutely delicious! And though there’s both sugar and pineapple juice in the recipe, the rolls aren’t overly sweet, but the pineapple juice makes them incredibly fragrant. Here’s the formula:

Overall Formula

Pineapple Juice35.00%
Total Percentage196.50%

I didn’t provide exact amounts because I calculate the amount of flour I’ll need based on my final yield. But it’s easy to calculate. If you want to make a dozen rolls scaled out to 100g apiece (or 1200g total dough weight), to figure out the flour for that, just divide the final dough weight by the total of the percentages or 1200 / 196.5% or about 611g. Once you have that, number, it’s easy to figure out the weights of the rest of the ingredients.


  1. Warm the milk – it should be around 80-90F
  2. Pineapple juice should be room temp.


  1. Mix the juice and milk along with the yeast and set aside until it forms a raft.
  2. Combine all ingredients together and mix until smooth with minimal gluten development. A mixer is probably a good thing to use for this. If you do use a mixer, mix on slow and make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets incorporated.
  3. Transfer the dough to a bulking container, then fold after 10 minutes, making sure you can feel the tension in the dough building.
  4. Fold twice more at 30-minute intervals, then let the dough rest and expand until almost doubled – you don’t want to take bulk fermentation too far with this.
  5. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then divide the dough into 100g pieces.
  6. Roll the pieces into tight balls and place them on a lightly oiled or buttered sheet pan, allowing for about 3/4″ to 1″ of space between them.
  7. Lightly press out the balls into about 3-3 1/2″ discs, then proof in a warm (not too warm lest the butter melts) environment until rolls are puffy (45 min to an hour). Don’t worry if they touch or come together.
  8. (optional) Before baking, if you want a shiny top, brush the rolls with egg wash.
  9. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until rolls are a deep golden brown.
  10. Brush with butter and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

What was great to see at the party was people halving the rolls and stuffing meat and cheese between the halves – I didn’t even have to provide instructions! And a few loved them so much, they asked to take a few home with them. Of course I obliged!

This bread is also great for hamburger buns! Simply press the discs out to about 3 1/2″ to 4″. You can also increase the weight of each to 110-115g apiece.

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