PERFECTLY EASY DINNER ROLLS
Every Thanksgiving I get nervous about the rolls. Will they rise too soon? Will they rise at all? Will they bake evenly, or will that one in the middle still be doughy while surrounded by a too-done crust on top? All these questions and more plague my brain. But usually, everything turns out just fine, because I use this recipe!
The key to these rolls is mixing them up and chilling them first. They can be chilled anywhere from 2 hours up to 4 days! That's the nice thing about it - you don't have to do all of the work all at once. In case you are afraid of making bread (like I used to be), I will be providing plenty of tips with this recipe. It took me years to get my nerve up to baking rolls for company, and this is the recipe that gave me my confidence! Every year I host Thanksgiving dinner, and I usually bake the rolls. Everyone seems to love them, including myself. They are sweet, warm, and tasty!
I just made these "test" rolls tonight. I like to use what my family doesn't eat for stuffing crumbs - YUM!!!
PERFECTLY EASY DINNER ROLLS
- 1 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees) (I just guess about this - I'll tell you later)
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4-4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Additional melted butter (optional)
Makes two dozen rolls
- Combine the warm water and yeast in a large bowl. Let the mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. I always do the sugar, eggs and salt first, butter last, in case it's too warm for the yeast. The best thing to do with this recipe is melt the butter and let it cool before beginning, but if you're in a pinch, put it in the microwave but don't melt completely - about 15 seconds. This way it won't be too hot. The key is not to kill your yeast's magic rising powers. I know - I've killed mine a few times.
- Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (some flour may not be needed).
- Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days.
- Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan. turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured board (or counter). Divide dough into 24 equal-size pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball; place balls in even rows in the prepared pan. Cover and let dough balls rise until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. I always turn it on right when I get the dough from the 'fridge so I can set them on top of the warm oven to rise.
- Bake until rolls are golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Brush warm rolls with melted butter, if desired (plus, it makes them pretty). Break rolls apart to serve (I just use a knife and cut along the roll lines).
Secret #1: Don't get your water too hot. It can kill the yeast. I just use hot water from my faucet, but never let it get scalding. Warm water, that's all you need.
Secret #2: Like I said, don't let your butter be too hot.
Secret #3: I use a kneading hook with my mixer to mix the flour. I like defined arm muscles, but stirring that much by hand is just ridiculous.
Secret #4: Don't add too much flour - you want the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl and off your kneading hook. If 4 cups is enough, leave it at that. NEVER add more than 4 1/2.
Secret #5: Don't add too much flour on your counter when rolling it out. You want enough that it won't stick, and you don't want to knead it at all - you already did that in step #3.
Secret #6: You can pat or roll your dough - rolling makes it more even - shape it into a rectangle and partition evenly 5 marks down and 3 across with a knife. Don't make this harder than it needs to be - if you get confused when you start rolling up the dough balls and some are not as big as others, pinch off excess to add to others and just plop it in the pan. It doesn't matter if they are lumpy and not perfect rolls, they will still be super tasty. You don't want to handle your bread too much, you'll beat it to death.
Secret #7: Spray the opposite side of a piece of plastic wrap to cover the rolls while they rise. When they get as tall as the pan, bake them. Don't let them wait, they will fall.
Secret #8: Don't keep opening the oven door to check them while baking. Leave them ALONE!!! This will ensure that middle roll the even baking it so deserves. I do always check that middle roll with a knife at 15 minutes. If not done, bake the other 5 and then take it out.
Please don't be discouraged by all these "do's and don'ts". I just wish someone had told me all of this at once, it would have at least saved me from killing my yeast!!!