Dinner rolls - tutorial

For anyone who is nervous about making yeast breads or rolls from scratch -- here are my detailed instructions for delicious dinner rolls, which my family prefers to eat in crescent shape. Enjoy!

1 pkg dry yeast
1/4 c warm water
1 c milk, scalded
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter (you can also use shortening, but I prefer the flavor of butter)
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 c sifted flour
1 egg

Step 1. Put 1 cup of milk into a small saucepan, over high heat. Watch it; it won't take long to scald. You know it's scalded when small bubbles form at the edges, as shown below, and it hasn't started boiling yet. When it reaches this point, remove it from the heat. If you don't, it will soon boil over and make a huge mess.
Step 2. You'll need 1/2 stick of butter. If it's cold, cut it into small pieces and put into your mixing bowl (you can use a stand mixer or a hand mixer; but if you're using a hand mixer you'll need to stir the last of the flour in by hand). Pour the scalded (hot) milk over the butter pieces; this is what it looks like as the hot milk melts the butter.

Step 3. Get your yeast ready. Measure 1/4 cup of very warm water. Not too hot to the touch; maybe like a hot bath. Sprinkle the yeast over the water, you can stir a bit if you want, but then leave it alone and after a few minutes it gets all bubbly like this. This means the yeast is coming to life and ready to go to work!
Step 4. Back to your mixing bowl: add 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp salt to your milk/butter; mix.
Step 5. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and beat well. Now it will look like this:
Step 6. Now that your yeast is ready, add the yeast/water and one egg to the bowl. Mix well.
Step 7. Add the rest of the flour (2 cups) and mix well. The finished dough will look like this:
Step 8. Time to let the dough rise! Spray a clean medium bowl with non-stick spray. Scrape the dough out of your mixing bowl and into your new bowl. Turn the dough over once so that all sides are lightly coated with non-stick spray. This will help prevent a hard "skin" from forming on its surface.

Step 9. Cover with a clean dishtowel and leave it alone for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

...and voila! Look how pretty it is now!
I always make my rolls into crescents. You can roll it into balls and bake in greased muffin tins, or you can form it into thin snakes for breadsticks; there are many possibilities. I will show you how to do crescents.
Step 10. Sprinkle some flour onto a clean flat working surface and get out your supplies. Rub a little flour on your rolling pin too.
Step 11. Divide the risen dough in half. If it deflates substantially, no biggie. Roll out half the dough into a large circle (doesn't have to be perfect).
Step 12. Using a pizza cutter (or a paring knife would be fine too), cut the dough into quarters.
Step 13. Then cut each fourth into 3 pieces, making 12 in all.
Step 14. Beginning with the base of each triangle, roll tightly toward the pointed end.
Repeat steps 11-14 with the other half of your dough, so you end up with 24 crescents total. 24 will fit nicely on a large sheet pan like this one (a "half sheet" by professional baking standards). If you're not using a Silpat sheet like I do, just spray the pan with non-stick spray so the rolls won't stick as they bake.
Step 15. Cover with the towel again and let rise another 30-45 minutes; they will plump up like this:
If you don't think they look big enough, they will still rise more as they bake.
Step 16. Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes.

You can brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter before baking if you want. Or, to make them look shiny, beat an egg and mix a little bit of water or milk into it, and brush that on top of the rolls before baking. I would do that if I were bringing them to a fancy party. For my family at home, I leave them alone and we eat them with butter and jam. They are so tasty leftover for breakfast with jam... or heated up, dipped into butter and then into a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Delish!


Meredith said...

Gotta get me some Silpat baking sheet liners. My regular roll recipe is made the same way - circle cut and rolled to crescents - but the recipe is so different! 3 eggs, boiling water, no milk, etc. But they look almost identical.

stephanie said...

i have always been intimidated by rolls, but i have made these 4 or 5 times now and they are the best! thank you for this great tutorial. i don't think i could have done it without your help. it is just wonderful. your rolls are now our family favorite. :)

Angela Jensen said...

Hey Sara, great cooking blog. My roll recipe is very similar. I like to put a little piece of butter on the wide end of the triangle before I roll it up. It makes the center so buttery-- mmm.

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