Monday, November 21, 2011

A Dinner Roll How To

Yesterday afternoon, a friend and I had a discussion about dinner rolls on facebook. I realized I haven’t ever blogged my dinner roll recipe, and with Thanksgiving coming up, now seemed as good a time as any, so here ya go!

Ingredients:
¾ c warm water
2 Tbsp sugar
2¼ tsp yeast
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp oil (I use olive oil, vegetable oil would work)
2 c flour (or less)
1 tsp baking powder

Put the warm water in a bowl and add sugarStir together and sprinkle yeast on top. 2 ¼ tsp is one packet of yeast, but if you’re going to be making bread on a regular basis, it is much cheaper to buy your yeast in the one pound packs (look for it around where the yeast packets are in the store, it's a plain white wrapper with blue writing, vacuum packed). Keep the open package in a ziploc in the freezer and it will stay good for years.Wait for the yeast to “proof”. You just want it to get foamy to be sure you haven’t killed it with water that’s too hot. I will usually go ahead and make the rolls when it looks like this
But if you wait it out, it does get all foamy Next, stir in the salt and oil Add one cup of flour and the baking powder and stir At this point, you have to use your judgment about how much additional flour to add. It will probably be somewhere between ½ and 1 cup, it depends on exactly how much water you used and how humid it is and how you measure your flour. Just trust your fingers. Start with ½ cup: Then mix a bit more in by hand. It will still stick to your fingers a little bit, but shouldn’t be a big mess Normally, you would dump it out on the counter and knead it, but that would give you a messy counter to clean up and also necessitate mixing more flour into the dough (making tougher rolls), so I just knead it in the bowl. Punch it down, fold half of it over, smoosh it down again, and keep repeating until the flour is mixed in. Pull off blobs of dough and put them on your pan. I use a stoneware pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Usually, as I pull off dough, I find the “inside” is still pretty sticky, so I may sprinkle on a little more flour just to make it easier to handle. You should get somewhere around a dozen rolls. Once they’re all on the pan, turn the oven on to 350.

When the oven is preheated, your rolls will have had a little rising time and are ready to go in. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Tada! Dinner rolls in about an hour (prep and cook time).
You can double the recipe easily. I’ve tripled and quadrupled it for holidays, but I usually have to add a bit more flour than expected for bigger batches.

If you want to prepare ahead of time, make up the dough, but put the rolls on a foil lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. Once frozen through, pop them off and store them in a ziploc freezer bag. Sometimes I will make up several dozen rolls and store them this way so I have them ready whenever I want them. To bake, take them out of the freezer and put them on your pan before turning the oven on. They will start to thaw and be ready to go in when the oven is preheated. They may need to cook a little bit longer depending on how much they thaw before they go in.

If you’re looking for something a little fancier, try out the soft garlic bread sticks I wrote about last year (those can also be frozen the same as the rolls)!

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