Saturday, February 6, 2010

My mama's rolls (and cinnamon rolls)

(Not to be confused with biscuits--biscuits are biscuits, but rolls are yeast bread. Don't use the White Lily flour for yeast bread, use the regular all-purpose stuff for these rolls.) This is not the most accurate recipe, as my mother never measures anything. That's the beauty of cooking a lot--eventually you make one thing so many times that you know the proportions by sight, and you can leave the measuring cups in the drawer. This sounds like a lot of effort for rolls, since the dough rises three times, but you can start this in the morning and just periodically poke at it throughout the day. It makes A LOT of rolls. Don't even think about substituting rolls from the supermarket.

all-purpose or bread flour, probably 7-8 cups
1 tablespoon salt
2-3 tablespoons sugar (or half a handful)
2-3 tablespoons yeast (or half a handful)

Sift these together. To this add COOLED mixture of milk, water and one stick of butter that has been simmered and then cooled--too hot and you will kill the yeast and curdle the eggs which you will be putting in the next step. The mix needs to be lukewarm to the touch. Equal amounts of water and milk,  probably about 2-3 cups of each.
Mix the liquids and the flour mixture well, add 3-4 eggs. Continue mixing the dough and adding flour until you have the consistency of bread dough. Knead for several minutes on a well-floured surface. You cannot knead yeast dough too much. Beat out any aggression you have with the dough.

Place in a large bowl that will allow the dough to double, and coat the entire ball of dough with cooking oil. Let the dough rise, knead it, and place it back in the bowl to rise 3 times.After the third time, knead the dough in flour on your counter, have some melted butter ready and pinch off enough dough for a roll, work it in your hand , dip it in the butter, fold it over , dip it in the butter and place in a greased pan to rise. Let all the rolls rise, place in a pre-heated oven at about 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. The amount of time will depend on how quickly your oven cooks. 
You can use this same recipe for cinnamon rolls, with a few modifications. Use four eggs, slightly more milk and slightly less water for a richer dough. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, roll out each third until an even 1/4-1/3 inch thick. Spread honey all over the dough to within about 1/2 inch of the edge, and sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and cinammon--2 parts sugar and 1 part cinnamon. You can use raisins or nuts if you like. Roll this up and let dough rest for about 8-10 minutes, cut into about 1-1/2 inch slices. Place in a greased pan, leaving enough room between each roll for it to rise, and bake at about 375-400 degrees until golden brown. Let the rolls cool slightly and ice with a mixture of confectioner's suger and either cream or half-and-half.

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