Lagniappe Bread Rolls

Melissa Martin (one of our 2020 Cooks of the Year) wanted to introduce more people to the types of Cajun dishes she grew up eating in the tiny town of Chauvin in Southwest Louisiana, so she opened a restaurant in New Orleans called Mosquito Supper Club. There, she serves a nightly menu that revolves around shrimp, oysters, crabs, and other coastal delicacies. Also on the table: these pillowy, slightly sweet lagniappe rolls. Lagniappe means "a little something extra" and Martin explains that in Louisiana, a break in the heat is called "lagniappe weather," meaning it's the perfect time to make bread because the dough can rise at a more tempered pace. That said, these rolls are easy to make no matter the season. "They remind me of my childhood. They are the rolls that are on my aunts' tables on Sunday." Martin says. "Everyone makes them slightly different, but the end product is the same." This recipe, along with many others, can be found in Martin's cookbook Mosquito Supper Club.

Melissa Martin’s Lagniappe Bread Rolls
Photo: Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry
Active Time:
35 mins
Stand Time:
5 mins
Rise Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Bake Time:
40 mins
Rest Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
2 dozen


  • 3 cups warm water (105°F to 110°F)

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast

  • ¼ cup leaf lard or 5 Tbsp. shortening, melted, plus more for greasing

  • 4 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided

  • 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour, plus more for work surface

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 1 teaspoon heavy whipping cream


  1. Place warm water in a large bowl; whisk in honey and yeast. Let stand 5 minutes.

  2. Add melted lard and 1 tablespoon of the sea salt to yeast mixture, and stir to combine. Add all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour. Using a rubber spatula, stir until dough comes together and forms a manageable ball.

  3. Turn dough out onto a surface heavily floured with whole-wheat flour. Knead 10 minutes, adding flour a little at a time as needed so the dough doesn't stick to the surface, about every 5 turns. Incorporate the least amount of flour that you need to manage the dough.

  4. Place dough in a large bowl greased with lard, and cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Set aside in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Watch that the dough does not rise too much and fall in on itself.

  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Don't overflour the surface, or you won't have any resistance when rolling the dough. You need resistance in order to give the dough shape. Divide dough into 20 to 24 balls, about 1 ½ ounces per ball. Use the sides of your hands flat on the surface with thumbs up, moving in a circular motion, to guide the dough ball toward your body. Don't use the palms of your hands, which will flatten the dough. Place dough balls, touching, in 2 greased (with lard) 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillets or 9-inch square pans or baking dishes. Set aside in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 20 minutes to 1 hour.

  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Stir together egg yolk, heavy cream, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

  7. Brush egg yolk mixture over rolls. Bake immediately in preheated oven until tops are golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with a clean dish towel, and let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Adapted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa M. Martin (Artisan Books) Copyright © 2020.

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