i don’t know which is more disturbing… finding a super moldy and gross loaf of forgotten bread in the back of the pantry or finding one that should be super moldy and gross because you realize it’s been months since you bought it. what do they put in that stuff to keep it from molding for soooooo long??? i have no idea, but every time this happens to me it reminds me that i love baking fresh bread that (if somehow forgotten) will begin to mold within 4-5 days. but it never lasts that long.
after tweaking and taking what i like from one recipe to the next, here’s what i’ve come up with for my favorite dough recipe. it works well formed into hamburger buns (or occasionally hot dog buns) but today i’m baking them in a pan as dinner rolls.
dinner rolls (a.k.a. “hot rolls”)
yield: 15 rolls
18 oz ap flour (about 4 cups)
2 tsp instant yeast (or one packet, if that’s what you buy)
2 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/3 c milk, heated until warm
1 lg egg, beaten
4 T butter, cut into cubes and softened
1 T light oil
1 T butter, melted
in your standing mixer bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
then, with the mixer running add the milk and egg.
once it looks like this, add the softened butter.
turn the mixer up to medium speed and let it go for about 8-10 minutes. this dough will start off very loose. you may be tempted to add extra flour. don’t. it will be fine.
here’s what it will start off looking like:
after those magical 8-10 mins have elapsed, it will look like this:
|if it doesn’t look like this… keep mixing!
see? don’t add extra flour!!! also, keep an eye on that mixer, mine tried to walk off the counter from all the action…
now, turn the dough out onto the counter top. drizzle a little bit of oil in the mixing bowl (no need to wash out the bowl first, mom). the dough will still be sticky but there is no need for extra flour on the counter. in fact, the tackiness will help you form the dough into a smooth ball. do this by passing dough from hand to hand and spinning the dough as you do so. it will be a little messy at first, just move the dough around to pick up whatever has broken free from your hands. what you are doing here is tightening up the surface of the dough to trap in the gas released by the yeast. a tighter skin will give you a better rise to your dough.
okay, cover and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
isn’t yeast amazing?
now, scrape out the dough onto the counter top. again, it’s going to be a little sticky. that’s okay. no extra flour needed. portion this into 15 little balls of dough. this is where a scale really comes in handy. if you have one, they will be 2 1/4 oz each.
once you have all your little dough balls, take one at a time to roll it smooth.
to do this, cup your hand over the dough and rotate it in a circle until the surface is taut. just like before, only mini!
put the dough balls evenly spaced in a glass baking dish. brush the tops with vegetable or canola oil (don’t use butter here, it burns too quickly. there will be butter later. i promise.) and cover with plastic wrap. let rise for 30-45 minutes. at some point here, heat up the oven to 350 F. your oven needs to be ready and waiting. you don’t want to end up with crazy frankendough (it’s alive!!!). it’s happened to me and it’s not pretty.
once the dough rises enough to just touch the plastic wrap, uncover and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. once out of the oven, brush the tops with melted butter and let them rest at least 15 minutes before tearing them apart to serve.
wouldn’t this lovely roll be right at home among some mashed potatoes and fried chicken?
mmm… now you’re talking. comfort food at it’s finest. enjoy!
p.s. to those who know what i’m talking about, these do taste like Darlene’s famous “hot rolls” from the school lunchroom—back when there were lunch ladies who actually cooked the school lunches.