I love these rolls. My toddler does, too. She would eat nothing but these rolls if given the choice. They're great fresh out of the oven, and they're great the day after for sandwiches. My husband eats them for breakfast with jam. If there were any leftover, I bet our dogs would snarf them down too.
If your butter is frozen, I start by warming up the milk and water in the microwave. Usually it ends up being way too warm. So then I add the butter all at once, but cut into tablespoon pieces. By the time the butter is mostly melted, the rest of the liquid is to the right temperature.
Turn your mixer on fairly high and beat everything together for a minute.
Here's the first cup going in.
Here's what it looked like after the second addition. It was still too moist, if you can see. It's supposed to be pulling away from the sides of the bowl and in one big clump, but it's not.
The state of the dough will depend on what your weather is like. If your air is dry, your dough will need less flour. If your air is humid, like it is here today, you'll need more flour. I added extra flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough looked right. I ended up adding probably an extra 1/3 to 1/2 c. of flour. But again, add it slowly. You might not need that much, and you definitely don't want to add in too much flour right away or your dough will get too heavy and it won't rise well.
And be careful where you put it. Sometimes I put my dough in the oven, only to forget about it. Then I end up preheating my oven for something else. Usually I rescue it in time but that's just an accident waiting to happen. If you do put your dough in the oven, write yourself a Post-It or something to remember!
Once the dough has risen, punch it down and decide what shape your rolls are going to be in. I'm personally fond of the plan old round Parker House rolls, just because they're easier to eat as leftovers, but you could do any shape--cloverleaf, braid, knot, whatever. My great-aunt likes to make them into a pac-man shape; she flattens them out into fat pancakes, sticks a pat of butter right in the middle, and then folds them over.
After you've made all your rolls, cover the pans and let the dough rise.
Here's a confession. Sometimes the rolls don't rise a lot. This could be because I'm fond of using quick-rise yeast. Maybe the milk mixture was too hot. Maybe the dough didn't get beaten long enough. Maybe I forgot to add my egg until the very end or got impatient and added too much flour at once and it messed the dough up. Sometimes my kitchen is just too cold (in the winter), even with the oven on. Who knows. But the great thing about this recipe is that the rolls still rise while they bake, and they're still fluffy. This is one of those recipes that you can guarantee is foolproof.
Then sprinkle them with salt. Today I'm using Hawaiian pink salt. It can really hold up to the rolls, and gives you a little crunch.
Recipe: Sweet 'n Easy Dinner Rolls
3 3/4 c. flour
1 package yeast
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt
Combine 2 c. flour and yeast in a mixing bowl.
In a measuring cup, warm water, milk, and butter. Butter should be mostly melted; the mixture's temperature should be slightly warmer than your body.
Add milk mixture to flour and yeast. Also add the sugar, honey, and egg. Mix on high for a minute.
Add salt and 1 c. of the flour. Mix on medium until flour is incorporated.
Add remaining 3/4 c. of flour. Mix on medium until flour is incorporated. Beat until dough is soft and elastic.
Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise until double in size.
Once dough has risen, punch down and shape into rolls. Butter baking pan and place rolls into the pan.
Cover the pan of rolls and allow to rise.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Once rolls are risen, brush with butter and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.
Optional: Brush tops with more butter. Dig in!