I had a bake off this week in search of an easy yet tasty dinner roll recipe. I eliminated any recipe that called for evaporate or dry milk because dry milk is not a common pantry ingredient and is surprisingly expensive. The decision of which recipes to try was a difficult one for they all were similar. The ingredients list had slight variations such as 1 teaspoon of salt versus a 1/2 teaspoon of salt or 3 tablespoons sugar versus 1/2 cup. A couple called for buttermilk and butter versus water and oil. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” rang true in the quest for a tender delicious dinner roll champion. I burned my arm pulling the tray out of the oven because I did not expect them to be so heavy. These dinner rolls were just as delicious as any bakery would produce.
Now the crucial part when making breads is the yeast. Most recipes are based on the belief that we are all seasoned bakers and therefore do not tell us that the water must be warm (between 110 and 115 degrees) to activate the yeast. This can be achieved without a thermometer. My friend Juanita taught me the correct temperature is usually about as hot as you can stand to touch. If the water is too hot the yeast will die and you end up with squished soggy dense rock hard bread. Water that is too cold takes longer to rise or does not activate the yeast at all.
When forming the dough into loaves or balls always flatten the dough slightly then roll up. For a loaf of bread flatten the dough to twice the size of the width and slightly shorter than the length of the pan then roll up long side to long side, tucking the ends under before putting the loaf in the pan. For rolls, grab a piece of dough a little larger than a golf ball. Flatten slightly. Roll up width-wise and then lengthwise forming a ball.
Makes 35-45 rolls (2 1/2 – 3 inches)
Pinch of sugar
2 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
6-7 cups flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
Mix the sugar and water until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over warm water; let sit 2 minutes then stir to dissolve. Let sit in a draft free place for about 5 minutes until the mixtures is foamy.
Meanwhile, whisk eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, oil, and salt together in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture; whisk to combine.
To measure flour, spoon flour into measuring cup leveling off with a knife. Stir in 3 cups of flour with a wooden spoon. Add more flour 1/2 cup at a time. When the dough becomes too stiff to stir, turn out onto a floured surface and knead by hand. Fold dough over. Using the heel of your hand push down and away. Repeat kneading for about 10 minutes, adding flour a little at time if dough is too sticky to work with. Place dough in a bowl coated with non-stick spray. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm draft free place until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough with your fist and gather into a ball. With floured hands, shape pieces of dough (slightly larger than a golf ball) into balls. Place about 1/2-inch apart on greased baking sheets (or non-stick baking sheets). Cover roll with a towel and let rise again until doubled in size about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Bake rolls 25-30 minutes, or until golden. Brush hot rolls with melted butter.
After brushing rolls with butter add any of the following toppings.
-Grated Parmesan cheese.
-Sage leaves, slivered.
-Garlic powder and salt.