Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Georgene's Fluffy Rolls

Most Thanksgivings I make a batch of Georgene's Fluffy Rolls from one of my favorite cookbooks, Saveur Cooks Authentic American. (You can find the recipe online here.)

Essentially Parker House rolls, they're buttery and sweet; the sort of bread I don't eat but once or twice a year. Which is a good thing because I can't get enough of their pillowy goodness slathered in salty butter. And as I write this, it occurs to me that you could knead in dried fruit, orange zest and nutmeg for a Panettone-like holiday treat. Mmmmmm.

The rolls are quite easy to make by hand, but start them early as they require about 7 hours start to finish. If you're making them for lunch or afternoon supper, start them the night before -- make them up to the second rise, store them in the refrigerator overnight, and  finish them in the morning. My notes are in italics below.

Georgene's Fluffy Rolls
Adapted from Saveur Cooks Authentic American
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

1 1/4 cups milk (I recommend whole milk but have used 1% to good result.)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter this time.)
3/4 cup sugar (Honestly, this is a lot of sugar. I prefer to make them with 1/2 cup.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 7-gram packet active dry yeast (Or 2 1/4 teaspoons if using yeast from a jar.)
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups flour (Measured with the scoop and sweep method.)
3/4 cup butter, melted (I use only 1/4 cup because I brush the rolls with butter instead of dunking them in it.)

1. Combine milk, shortening, sugar and salt in a saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; set aside to cool. (Make sure you let it cool to warm; adding hot liquid to yeast can kill it.)

2. Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water in a large bowl; set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. (This is called "proofing," and I dissolve 1/2 teaspoon sugar in the warm water to feed the yeast. You'll know within 5 minutes if your yeast is alive or not. When I made my latest batch, my newly-purchased packet of yeast was dead in the water. I started over with a different brand of jarred yeast from my refrigerator and was back in business in no time.)

3. Pour milk mixture into yeast. Stir in eggs and gradually add flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until dough gets stiff, then use your hands (dough will be sticky, so grease your hands with a little butter). Brush a small amount of butter on the inside of a large bowl and on one side of a sheet of waxed paper. Place dough in bowl, cover with buttered wax paper, and lay a damp dishcloth on top. Set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, at least 3 hours. (This dough looks like kinda grits: sticky and lumpy. But you won't need the buttered wax paper unless you're not using a large bowl, in which case the wax paper keeps the dough from sticking to the dish cloth.)

4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until elastic, then roll out to 1/2 " thickness. Cut dough with a 3" biscuit cutter, dip each round into melted butter, and fold in half. Line up, round edges up, sides touching, on a cookie sheet. Cover as in step 3, and set aside to rise, at least 2 1/2 hours. (At this point you can wrap the baking dish tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove them from the refrigerator, remove plastic wrap, cover with a dish towel and allow them to rise for about 3 hours.)

5. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm. (Rolls will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days or in the freezer for up to a month. Warm in a 350 degree oven before serving.)

1 comment:

  1. just looking at these beautiful rolls is giving me anxiety. THE YEAST.