These are my mom’s AWESOME rolls. They are famous in our family, and she does such a fantastic job baking them that we beg her to make these little pillows of yummy goodness. (We also beg her to make them because they take so freaking long to rise!) But sometimes nothing beats one of my mom’s homemade rolls, and my kids LOVE them, too, so I carve out a bit of time on a Saturday or holiday and make them. And the smiles I get – oh! the smiles.
When I asked my mom for permission to use her recipe for my blog, she was kind enough not to laugh at me and said, “It’s not my recipe. I got it from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.” Oh. And all this time I thought it was some take-it-to-the-grave, secret family recipe. Ha!
Here’s the recipe (and you can take it to the grave and keep it secret if you want):
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 c milk, scalded
1/4 c shortening
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 c flour + 2 more cups of flour
And here’s a play by play on how it all goes down, and some tips and tricks learned through trial and error:
First, set your oven to warm (170-190*). (Do this now, cuz I promise you’ll forget.)
Dissolve yeast in warm water:
While yeast is dissolving, add milk to a medium pan and set it on medium heat. (Using a medium pan helps the milk to cool faster later.)
Scalding milk is cooking it right below the boiling point. You want to catch it before it boils. You’ll know the milk is ready when there are tiny bubbles along the sides of the pan, and a thin skin grows across the top of the milk.
When the milk mixture is luke warm, add it to the bowl of flour.
*Now the recipe says to use beaters to mix, but I use a large spoon because my rolls were turning out wrong. Too many holes because of too much air in the over-mixing.
Once you’ve incorporated the milk and flour, add yeast and egg and stir.
This is about the time that you need to use your hands to mix. It helps to scoop from the bottom where all the flour is hiding. Again, don’t knead too much - just enough to mix the flour in.
The dough will be sticky:
Place the dough in the large, greased bowl. Turn the dough so it gets the grease on it.
Now, if you are making the rolls tomorrow, cover the dough with a lid or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough.
If you’re making the rolls today, cover the rolls with a thin cup towel and put it on the stove. (The warmed oven will help it rise.) Let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
2 hours later…
Now punch down the dough (this is always my favorite part).
**If you are making the rolls tomorrow, and it’s tomorrow, 1st preheat the oven to warm. Punch the dough down. Continue with the next step:
Lightly flour your (clean) counter or a cutting board. Put dough on floured surface and shape them as desired. We make our rolls into ball shapes.
Place the balls on the greased cookie sheet. Cover them again with the thin cup towel, place them on the still warm stove, and let the dough rise until it doubles in size – about 30-45 minutes.
**If the dough was refrigerated from yesterday, allow 1 hour 15 minutes of rise time.
45 minutes later:
If you can remember to (cuz often I don’t), heat your oven to 400* about 5 minutes before the dough rising timer goes off.
Bake the rolls at 400* for 12-15 minutes.
13 minutes later:
Add butter to the tops of the warm rolls.
Here’s the finished product:
Luckily I have a few in the freezer. (Remember on Steel Magnolias when Darryl Hannah says she wants to make something that freezes beautifully? I love that movie!) These yummy rolls “freeze beautifully.” So you can make a bunch, eat some, and eat some later. (Like tomorrow.)