It calls for the simplest of ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, milk, eggs and butter. The butter is actually an update of mine, as the original did call for shortening. I think she’d be OK with it. This recipe also calls for “scalding” the milk. I had to look up exactly how to scald and found it can be done quite easily in the microwave. The reason behind scalding milk in baking is that the whey protein in milk can weaken gluten, causing dough not to rise properly. The scalding deactivates the protein. (source: The Kitchn)
Is this the perfect roll recipe? Probably not, but I’ve really no idea. I don’t have much experience baking rolls save for these only a handful of times. Are they delicious? Um, yes. Are they simple enough that a novice baker can manage? I’d say most definitely yes. The key I’ve found in my foray into bread making is adding a dusting of flour, a little at a time, as you knead. And stop as soon as the dough is not sticky anymore. It will kind of feel like Play-Doh. Pleasant, soft and smooth.
After the first rise on these, the dough is very easy to deflate and divide evenly into 8 log-shaped pieces. No more flour is required. A dough scraper or knife will do the work of cutting.
The pleasant surprise I discovered on this round of baking my grandma’s rolls is that they can in fact be made ahead. Once they’ve been cut into roll-sized pieces, place them on a sheet pan in the freezer for a few hours. Once they have been frozen completely, remove them from the pan and transfer them to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. When you are ready to bake, place them about 1/2-inch apart in a well-greased baking dish (a pie plate or a Corning Ware dish work well). Cover the dish of rolls loosely with a towel and put them in a warm place. Mine took 3 hours to rise this morning. After baking, they tasted fresh as could be and delicious with a little butter on top.
I am a firm believer in keeping family recipes alive and passed down. Especially at the holidays.
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 2 packets quick-rise yeast
- 2 c. milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm (80 - 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 6 c. all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
- 3 t. salt
- Place milk in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Microwave for 4 minutes. Place in refrigerator and allow to cool to between 80 - 110 degrees.
- Melt butter and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 6 cups of flour and salt.
- In a very large bowl, place the sugar and yeast. Pour the cooled milk into the bowl and whisk. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Beat the 2 eggs into the melted butter. Add to the yeast mixture, along with half the flour. Stir well. Add the other half of flour and stir until dough begins to come together.
- Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and sprinkle surface of dough with a little more flour. Begin to knead dough, adding just a small amount of flour as you are kneading to keep the dough from sticking to the counter or your hands. I kneaded the dough for approximately 6 minutes.
- Place the dough into a clean bowl. Pour a bit of oil over the dough and turn so all sides are coated.
- Place the dough bowl in a warm spot and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Gently push down on the dough to deflate. Place on clean counter and evenly divide dough into 8 log-shaped pieces, using a bench scraper or large, heavy knife.
- Cut each dough log into four equal pieces, giving you 32 rolls. Gently cup each roll in your hand to "plump" them up a bit in the center.
- If baking right away, place the rolls in well-greased baking dishes, spaced about 1/2-inch apart. Place dishes in a warm spot and cover loosely with a towel. Allow rolls to rise in baking dishes for 60 minutes more.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 16 - 20 minutes. Watch closely in the last few minutes to make sure tops don't over-brown.
- If freezing, place the unbaked rolls on a sheet pan and freeze for a few hours. Transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and store until ready to bake, up to four weeks.
- Take dough out of freezer and place in well-greased baking dishes as described above. Allow to rise in a warm place for 3 hours and bake as directed.