Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sweet 'n Easy Dinner Rolls

What is the one thing that can make an everyday meal seem special? Hot, fresh rolls! That yeasty, doughy smell that I'm sure most people associate with a grandma's house on a holiday makes me hungry just thinking about it. But you can bring that smell to your own kitchen whenever you want with this easy roll recipe.

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.

Like any bread recipe, this one starts out with flour and yeast.
Warm milk, water, and butter. As with the naan, you don't want this mixture to get too hot or you'll kill your yeast. You want it to be just a little warmer than your body.

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.
Pour your just-the-right-temperature mix into the bowl with your flour and yeast. Pour in some sugar and a touch of honey, too. The sugar and honey are there for sweetness and for something for the yeast to eat.

And don't forget to add an egg here. Sometimes I forget and have to add it later. Oops.

Turn your mixer on fairly high and beat everything together for a minute.

Add some salt and add the rest of the flour a cup at a time.

Here's the first cup going in.
Here's the dough after the first cup is mixed in.
Let the mixer beat the dough around until all the flour is absorbed and the bread is elastic.

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.

It should look like this. This is right.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm area to let the dough rise.

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.

Butter or use cooking spray on whatever pan you're using. You want to make sure your rolls don't stick.

Shape your rolls and put them in your pan. To make the simple Parker House (round), smooth out the top of the dough ball. Make a circle with your thumb and middle finger, and push the dough ball through. Pinch the bottom of the dough ball to seal.
Put your rolls in your pan of choice. I'm using a cake pan for mine; I like how they rise up and touch each other, so you get the crisp top, the soft sides and middle, and the buttery bottom.

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.

After your dough is ready and your oven preheated, butter the tops of your rolls.
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.

Pop the rolls in the oven and standby for that fresh bread smell.
Here they are after about 7 minutes. I told you they rose a lot in the oven.

When they're golden brown, you can either brush the tops with butter again or serve them with a pat of melting butter in the middle. Try to wait a few minutes so you don't burn your fingers and tongue...but I'd understand if you can't make it that long. They're that good.

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 egg

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!

No comments:

Post a Comment