When it comes to rolls, I’ve got a bit of a dilemma. Do I make them light and fluffy… or dense and filling?
My Mimi always made them light and fluffy, like little pillows of air. Therefore, that’s the way my biological family likes them.
And it’s the ONLY way they like them. Some of them won’t even waste their precious carb allowance on anything less.
When Mimi was making them, it wasn’t a problem. Cause she made them exactly the same way every time. And my family was happy.
As Mimi got older, she realized that in order to keep the family from going into a deep depression, she would need to pass on the art of producing perfect, airy rolls.
That’s where I come into the picture.
With a bit of practice, I perfected the art of leavened bread that has been risen higher than the sun at high noon.
Then I met the love of my life. Who happens to like his rolls with a little more density.
So when I make rolls for my mother’s side of the family, I allow for an extra rising. But when I make rolls for my love, I cut one of the risings out and make a B-line to the oven.
And this is how I do it:
Warm 2 cups water and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan just until sugar is dissolved.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Now, you’re gonna need lots of flour, so you may as well drag the whole canister out.
Add 2 cups of flour in 1/2 cup increments.
Whisk it up real good.
Then add one package of yeast with the last of the flour.
Whisk it in and let it set till it becomes bubbly. About 5-10 min.
Then add 4 TBL oil, pinch salt and 1 egg. Whisk until well combined.
Add one cup flour in 1/2 cup increments. At this point, you may need to relieve the whisk of it’s duties and bring in a good sturdy spoon. Mix in another 1 1/2 cup flour a little at a time. At this point, the dough should be getting harder to mix. That’s when you know you need to turn it out and knead it.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour on a clean surface. Knead by folding dough over on itself, picking up little bits of flour each time.
The key is to never dump large amounts of flour on the dough.
Just sprinklings that can be well incorporated. Otherwise, your dough could have dry balls of flour hidden in the dough even after it’s been baked. Or you may get too much flour at once… the dough will start to break apart and separate and you will just have a big mess of flour and tough dough.
Don’t ask me how I know this.
Add another 1/4 cup flour. Knead.
Add another 1/4 cup flour. Knead.
Continue if needed until the dough doesn’t pick up any more flour. (I didn’t add any more to mine.)
Put dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat.
Cover with the latest issue of Cattle Connection. If you don’t get Cattle Connection, any ol’ newspaper will probably work just fine.
Now, find the warmest spot in your house where no animals or kids can get and let your dough rise for one hour or until double in size.
When you poke it with your finger and it doesn’t spring back, it’s ready!
Then punch it down. I know it’s hard, but it’s for the best. If you can’t bring yourself to do it, your kids will be happy to help.
This is the point where I have to decide if they will be light and airy or dense and filling.
For light and airy, I let rise, covered another 30-40 minutes. If I want them dense and filling, I skip this step and let them rest, covered 10 minutes.
Once they have either risen again or rested shortly, I pinch off a hunk of dough and form it into a sort of ball, smoothing the top and leaving the underside a bit unsightly.
Then I put them in a greased 9 x 13 pan…
…and let them rise, covered with the newspaper for 30 minutes.
Then I put them in a preheated 375 oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Top with butter.
Serve warm. Enjoy!