We are three weeks away from Thanksgiving!!† Weíll be making our holiday dinners before we know it.† I can smell it now, yum!† One of my favorite parts of a holiday dinner is a homemade roll.† There is just something that homemade bread adds to a meal that store bought just canít deliver.† I think itís partly the smell, but thereís nothing better than a steamy, tender, buttery roll.††
If youíre like me, there are simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done.† Especially when it comes to holiday cooking.† Good bread takes nearly as long as the turkey does.
Iíve been giving a little thought and practice to my favorite white bread recipe to see if I could come with my version of a homemade brown and serve roll.† This could definitely speed things up.††††
The best advise I can give you about bread making is donít do it when youíre in a hurry.† Tender, soft bread has had plenty of time to proof and rise.† If you rush this process, your bread will be tough.
There are different kinds of yeast available to the home cook.† There is instant and active dry yeast.† I like to use active dry because I think it gives a little more flavor to the bread.†† When adding water or liquid to yeast use warm water, about 105í.† If you get the water much hotter, youíll kill the yeast.† If itís much cooler, it will take longer to get the results you want.
With this recipe, youíll need to let the yeast bloom.† This is where you add warm water to the yeast and wait for it to get puffy.† It takes about 5-10 minutes for the yeast to activate fully.† When your yeast is ready you will see a spongy looking mound of bubbly tan yeast.††
At the mixing stage, be patient.† If youíre going to make much bread, I would encourage you to invest in a good mixer.† I have burned up a couple of mixers trying to get them to work too hard.† A mixer suitable for bread making will be cog or gear driven mixer rather than belt driven.† Kitchen Aidís Pro Model works well, but Iím sure there are several others out there.† The gears allow the machine to work with heavier dough without overworking the motor. Some food processors can be fitted with a dough blade as well.† Donít despair if you donít have a heavy-duty mixer though.† People have been kneading dough by hand for hundreds of years.† Just put a little flour down on your counter and knead away until soft and smooth.
Knead the dough for quite a while.† This process is developing the gluten in the flour.† The dough will be quite stretchy when the gluten is properly developed.† This process along with proper proofing will give you tender, soft, melt in your mouth rolls.† If you cut these processes short, your rolls will be tough.
If youíre using a mixer, mix your dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl and it makes a ball.† Sometimes you have to add a little more flour than the recipe calls for to get it right.† In either case, continue to work the dough stopping occasionally and pulling off a golf ball sized hunk of dough to see if you can stretch a thin membrane, ďwindow paneĒ, without the dough tearing.† When you can, the dough is ready.† If youíre doing this by hand, you may need to work the dough 8-9 minutes.
Once the gluten has been properly developed, the dough needs to proof or rise.† I like to microwave a measuring cup full of water for about 2 minutes and then put my dough in a greased bowl, cover and put the dough and the hot water in my cold oven.† It will take about an hour, but when the dough has doubled in size then you can pan your rolls.
To pan the rolls, tear off pieces of dough a little smaller than a golf ball and make them round and put two of these in a greased muffin cup.† Put these back in your warm steamy oven and let them proof again until they are the size you would like your rolls to be. This may be another hour. When they get to the right size, bake them just until they are set.† Donít let them brown if you want to use them as brown and serve.† Allow them to cool, slide into a freezer bag and freeze.† When you are ready to use, allow them to thaw in the unopened bag and then place on a sheet pan to finish browning.
Homemade Brown and Serve Rolls
1 3/4 cups warm water Ė 110í
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
6 cups flour
Combine water, oil, honey and yeast in bowl of an electric mixer or large bowl.† Whisk until yeast is dissolved and let ferment 15 minutes.† After fermentation, add salt and eggs to the yeast mixture and mix well.† Stir in 5 cups of flour and mix.† Add remaining flour as needed until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball.† Once it has formed a ball, continue to work in mixer or turn out on a floured countertop and knead until smooth.
Place in a greased bowl in a warm spot and allow dough to rise for about 10 minutes.
After the 10 minutes, pan dough into greased tins and cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with no stick cooking spray.† Place in a warm spot and allow to rise to desired size.
When ready to bake, remove plastic and bake in a 425í oven for about† 8 minutes, watch closely as you donít want these to brown.† When set, remove from oven, allow to cool and freeze.
To re-heat, place on baking sheet and heat at 350í until warm and browned.† Brush with melted butter and serve.