Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lots of cooking lately! Lovely dinner rolls...

This is an 11 year old picture of my kids making rolls with my grandmother. My grandmother's rolls, which were HER grandmother's rolls, are wonderful. But they have shortening, and I didn't have shortening, so I didn't make them...

I have said for 6 mos or more that I wanted to get back to making bread. Now, I say "back"... and mean way back. Right after I graduated from college (1987 to save you the higher math), I lived with my aunt and uncle in the DC area. I didn't pay them any rent, to my eternal gratitude, so I took to making homemade bread several times a week, with an occasional cake thrown in, just to be able to contribute. I really enjoyed the process, and, of course, the product, but I haven't made any outside of using my bread machine in... well, that long. I even bought bowls in Uganda to proof bread in. But have I proofed bread? Nope.

So yesterday, I made yeast rolls. Real, honest to goodness, knead it, rise it, punch it down, yeast rolls. And they were a big hit! These didn't taste as good this morning as they did at dinner - somehow they were a little bit tough after reheating in the toaster oven, but I think they would be ok in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Only there aren't any more to test! BUT, the hot out of the oven ones were VERY good, and it was only about a 2-2 1/2 hr process, not 4-5 like some are. I also like that there's no shortening or butter in the recipe. So I'll share the recipe, which is from an old issue of Cooking Light (don't know which issue, I just have the page):


2 tsp sugar
1 pkg dry yeast
1 12oz can fat free evaporated milk, warmed to 100-110 degrees
3-4 c all purpose flour, divided
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp salt
cooking spray
1 tsp cornmeal
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled (optional)
poppy seeds (optional)

1. Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl and let stand 5 min.

2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Add 3 cups of flour and the egg to the milk mixture, stirring. [NOTE: the recipe says "stir til smooth", but this was quite thick, so I just stirred until the flour was all incorporated.] Cover and let stand 15 min.

3a. Recipe says "add 3/4 c flour and salt; stir until soft dough forms." NO WAY this was happening with the thickness of the dough already. So here's what I did instead:

3b. Put dough on a floured smooth surface. Add 1/4c flour mixed with the salt. Knead, adding flour a tbsp at a time, until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 min. (Dough will be a bit tacky, but not sticky.) I used MAYBE 1/2 cup. Max.

4. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough ball in the bowl, turn to coat, cover and put in a warm place for 40 min or until doubled. [My oven has a "bread proof" selection, so I used that, and it took about an hour.] Punch dough down, cover, and rest for 5 min [the dough, not you!].

5. The recipe says to divide into 16 equal portions. I made 22. You can shape these in a ball, a spiral, a knot... however you like. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 20 min or until doubled in size.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. OPTIONAL - brush with butter and top with poppy seeds. [I didn't do this.]

7. Recipe says 20 min, but mine barely took 10. They should be golden brown and sound hollow when you tap them.

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