Thanksgiving is going to be weird this year – very weird. Rather than getting together with family and friends, we have been asked by those who are trying to protect us from harm to stay home for the good of ourselves and those we love. So OK then…how do we make the best of that situation, and retain a little of the happiness the holidays bring? I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns and pretend we are actually doing what we usually do, which is to go to my brother Gary’s house for a family feast. My sister-in-law Ivory is from South Carolina, and her food is always full of southern charm and delicious. I will REALLY miss the macaroni and cheese she always makes, and her banana pudding is so good it almost makes a person weep. Ivory always has a huge turkey in the oven, and often Gary will put a smaller bird on his outdoor rotisserie. This is in addition to the other various hunks of meat he prepares out there, and well as the best grilled/smoked vegetables I’ve ever had. I will try not to dwell on what we are missing, but focus on what we usually contribute. This usually entails Dick grilling a ton of asparagus with just the right amount of smoky char. I make Apple Crisp and have been adding a Salted Caramel Sauce on the side. But the dish I bring that’s most popular are these Yeasted Dinner Rolls. I plan on making batches of them this year to share with family and friends. This will probably just involve running up to their front door, ringing the doorbell, and leaving a dozen or so of these dinner rolls with a jar of Strawberry Jam, but at least it’s a connection to what this holiday is all about – being thankful and sharing with others.
These dinner rolls are my attempt at coming close to the delicious rolls my grandma Liz used to make. As a young aspiring baker, I’d watch her assemble dozens of at a time, tossing an armload of dough around like it weighed nothing, and tearing off perfectly shaped rolls that she would let rise by her wood stove. She never measured anything, mixing and baking by feel alone – and they were perfect. I have fond memories of eating as many as I possibly could every Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve – or as many as I could get my hands on. Grandma had seven children and hordes of grandchildren, and when everybody got together it was like a small city which means you had to move fast before my seemingly huge uncles with even larger appetites beat me in line.
Grandma did not have a recipe as you may have guessed, so I spent years trying to get as close as I could to what she did so effortlessly. I finally got to where I think she might be proud, and I owe it all to Julia Child because this is pretty much her recipe. If you have a bread machine laying around, haul it out and use the dough cycle for this recipe – that’s how I handle it. These dinner rolls can be made grandma’s way, with just your two hands and a sturdy wooden spoon. There isn’t much better on the planet than biting into one of these babies. Slathered with butter, of course. Recipe adapted from ‘Baking with Julia’.
I must confess that I am not the world’s best roll-shaper. I don’t have the patience for it…well, I’ve tried and never had the ability to make the perfectly shaped beauties grandma made. So I just cut the dough into hopefully equal parts and call it good. This is grandma’s old roll baking pan, which holds a double batch. It’s a big sucker, but as I’ve said, she baked for tons of family at a time. I’m thinking she made at least three of these pans full every time we all got together. I’ve been known to do the same. Once you get the hang of these guys, you become very popular and demands for leftovers can usually be counted on. …so here is my lame attempt at roll formation….
…but as you can see, when they come out of the oven, pretty much all is forgiven. Well…sort of.
Let them cool for as long as you can stand it, then dive right in. You can serve the ‘to each his own’ way, and let everybody grab some right out of the pan…..or you can arrange them on a pretty napkin or in a basket..
Personally, I’m a strawberry jam and melted butter kind of person, slathered on dinner rolls that have been grabbed out of the pan as soon as possible. Any way you choose, just go for it!!
Hope you enjoy these!! Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I’m so very thankful for all my readers, and for your taking the time to share these recipes with me. xoxo
I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments or questions about this or other recipes, or a suggestion for a future blog post, please send me an email. I promise to reply to each and every one. firstname.lastname@example.org
- 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast NOTE: If I were you and your yeast was a year old or more, regardless of what it said on the package, I’d toss it out and replace it. Speaking from experience, I did not do this one time and ended up baking 4 dozen rolls that only rose about halfway. What made it worse was I was using them as sample for a cooking class on rolls I was teaching UGH!!
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon butter (room temperature if using bread machine; melted if mixing by hand)
- 1 cup water
- IF USING A BREAD MACHINE
- Place all ingredients in bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer and set to ‘Dough’ cycle. When cycle has completed, remove dough from bread machine pan and place on lightly floured surface.
- IF MAKING BY HAND
- Stir together water, yeast, melted butter, and honey in small bowl and let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes).
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, powdered buttermilk, and salt. Add yeast mixture slowly and stir (or mix in a mixer on low speed) until a soft dough forms. (If using a mixer, continue mixing on low speed until dough clings to dough hook or mixer paddle and cleans sides of bowl, usually about 4 minutes).
- If mixing by hand, turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 6-8 minutes)
- FORMING AND BAKING – IF YOU WERE USING A BREAD MACHINE OR MIXING BY HAND
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Using a bench knife or other type of sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal portions.
- Arrange in a greased, 13X9 inch-baking pan. NOTE: At this point, I spray the tops of the rolls with cooking spray or canola or other neutral oil to prevent them from drying out on top. Cover lightly with cotton towel and set aside in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
- Remove towel and lightly spray tops of rolls with cooking spray (yes, again ).
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a bit darker than golden brown. NOTE: You’re going to want to be very careful here. I have been the laughing stock of our family for taking my rolls out of the oven too soon one year, and they were a doughy mess. If in doubt, it’s better to over-bake a little bit rather than risk the ridicule of your loved ones.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Slide on