“Mike! I need your help!”
Thoughts raced through my sleep-clouded mind as it began to instinctively prepare for battle. From intruders to aliens; I was ready for anything. In reality, it was just a sticky “dough emergency.” Alli woke up at 7:30 AM to make my great, great grandmother’s “roll” recipe. She found herself with dough so sticky she couldn’t even get it off her fingers, a problem we discovered is easily remedied by adding more flour to the mix.
Well, let’s roll on! You may be wondering what kind of roll, but when you’re dealing with four generations of history, things sometimes just become “the”, “the one and only.” There is no other roll in the Hearne household, especially around the Holidays.
The dough emergency was just one of many question marks in the process. The original recipe was created by my great grandmother who had cooked since she was six, and the recipe was then rewritten by my mom, a Ph.D. in Food Science. On paper, Alli and I had no chance of success in our first venture into the yeasty realm of baking, at least not without some help. Luckily, my parents get up at 6:00 AM and Mom was just a phone call or three away.
Four hours and multiple rounds of dishwashing later, we had rolled with the punches, taken a few hits, and created our first ever yeasty rolls. These sweet and light rolls are great for Thanksgiving Day and even better as turkey sandwich carrier for the eventual leftovers.
Until we eat again,
Two Happy Cooks
This recipe is from Grandma Lois and Great-grandmother Katherine Marie.
2 cups milk, scalded
½ cup sugar
1 T salt
½ cup melted shortening
2 pkgs yeast in ½ cup warm water
7 cups flour
To scald milk, heat until steam starts to rise from the milk. Stir in the sugar, salt and shortening and cool until body temperature.
Mix the two packages of yeast in the warm water (about 110°F, not hotter).
In a large mixer, add the milk mixture to the mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture, eggs and 2 cups of flour and mix using dough hook. Add flour 1 cup at a time, continuously mixing. When the dough forms a ball and cleans the side of the mixing bowl, remove the dough and place it on a slightly floured countertop.
Knead about 2 minutes, adding 2 tablespoons at a time to the dough until it is no longer sticky. You do not want it to get firm and stiff from too much flour. Oil a large bowl and put the top of the dough ball into the bowl and then flip over. This oil will help keep the dough from drying out. Drape a kitchen towel over the bowl. Let the dough rise until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1½ hours.
Shape into dinner rolls into balls, about 2-1/2” in diameter. Shape the balls by pulling the sides down over the side and tucking ends into the bottom of the ball.
Place rolls into a greased pan* by first putting the top on the greased pan and then turning to place on the pan.
Let rise again until doubled, about ¾ to 1 hour.
Bake at 400°F for about 12 to 20 minutes depending on the size of the rolls. Watch the bottom of the rolls so they do not over brown on the bottom.
Yield: 3 dozen rolls
Note: You can make the rolls in all sizes of pans. I like to do these in a sheet pan (10”x15”).
Another note: This dough is wonderful for cinnamon and caramel rolls.