Old School Dinner Rolls
- 2 c. whole milk (if you’re in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don’t use 1% or skim)
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.), preferably bread machine yeast
- 2/3 cup warm (105-115-degree) water
- 8-9 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 beaten eggs
- Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
- While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled, you’ll need to repeat this step–moving on with yeast that hasn’t been activated properly will only end in heartache for you.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes–it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.
- Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don’t worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they’re so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.
- Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.
- Spray 2 9×13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.
- Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.
- When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls.
- You must now eat one! Now! While it’s hot! Its your reward!
- Then pop the rest into a bowl and no one will ever know that you cheated. Makes 2 dozen rolls.
- These are the real deal from my childhood. I grew up in a German family in Kenosha, WI. Every time we got together with my cousins, my Aunt Marge made the most incredibly delicious dinner rolls. Soft buttery, slightly sweet, with that comforting yeast smell. If you take the time to make these you will be rewarded. This recipe makes two dozen. We often bake all and gift half away, because seriously we can eat them all.
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