Monday, November 1, 2010

Yeast Rolls -- A Tried and True Classic

When I'm feeling bad about myself and my slow progression of cooking prowess, I make these. 
With his first bite, my husband swoons and I feel all better.
These rolls take about 30 minutes to prepare, 40 minutes to rise, and 20 minutes to bake. 
That's pretty quick for a self-esteem rebound. 
The ingredient line-up:  Flour, Yeast, Salt, Sugar, Butter, Milk, Water
In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, all of the yeast, sugar, and the salt. 

In a saucepan, heat the milk, water and butter until they're quite warm (120-130 degrees).

I'm an advocate of a cooking thermometer.  If the liquid is too hot it will burn the yeast.  The bread will not rise.

If the liquid is too cold the yeast won't have any get-up-and-go.  The bread will not rise.

Be like Goldilocks and have it just right.  Use a thermometer.

Add milk mixture to the flour mixture.

(I heart my Kitchen-Aid mixer.  I use it every chance I get.  But you can certainly do this all by hand.) 

Beat flour and milk mixture for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add about 1/2 cup of flour, and crank it up to high speed for about 2 minutes.

Slow it down to low speed and mix in enough of the remaining flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, to make a soft dough. 

Not too dry, not too gooey.  Just right.

Knead it with the mixer's dough hook for about 5-6 minutes.

Or, knead by hand for about 8-10. 

Put it in a oil-coated bowl.   

Give the dough a few turns in the bowl.

Cover it and let it "rest" about 10 minutes. 
Divide it in half.

And then half again.
And then in half again and again. 
Each of the dough lumps above will make eight rolls.
Grease a dish (or use parchment paper).

Roll the dough into balls and place in the dish.
Spray some plastic wrap with cooking spray and loosely stretch it over the dish.  (Now the rolls won't stick to the wrap if they rise to such heights.)

Lay a tea towel over the dish.
Put it in a warm, draft-free place.
Let the dough rise about 40 minutes until doubled in size.
Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.
Immediately brush with melted butter.
Sprinkle with coarsely-ground salt. 
Say, "So long, low-carb diet!", split some, spread with more butter, and engorge yourself.

(The feeling guilty part will come later...)

PS - A delicious adaptation is to brush the rolls with a mixture of melted butter and garlic salt as soon as they emerge from the oven.  YUM.

Here's the printable recipe.

Yeast Rolls
4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 envelopes active yeast
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt (plus a lil' more for sprinkling)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1.  Mix 1 1/2 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl (or a stand mixer bowl). 

2.  Heat milk, water and 4 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan until very warm (120-130 degrees).  Check it with a thermometer.

3.  Add the warm milk mixture to the flour mixture.

4.  Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of bowl several times with a spatula.

5.  Add 1/2 cup of flour and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. 

6.  Stir in remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, to make a soft dough. 

7.  Knead with dough hook for 8-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. 

8.  Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

9.  Divide dough into 24 equal pieces and shape into balls. 

10.  Place rolls in greased baking dish (two 8-inch round cake pans work's good if the rolls are close enough to touch as they rise).

11.  Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray, loosely cover baking dish(es), cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm-ish spot for about 40 minutes (until the rolls have just about doubled in size).

12.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with course salt, if desired.


Wendy said...

I LOVE anything like this. They are my totaly weakness.! I am making these soon.