Monday, March 3, 2008

Idiot-Proof Rolls

This recipe has been passed down through at least 3 generations in my family and has been goofed up more than once. Seriously, between my mom, my sister, and me we've added salt too soon, forgot the eggs, didn't put in enough flour, didn't let the milk scald, used skim milk, and didn't let it rise enough the first time--and they still came out perfect! They're actually pretty easy and everyone seems to love them.  They are a bit on the sweet side, which I happen to like--and they make a great base for orange or cinnamon rolls.

1 cup milk, scalded*
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups cool water
4 tsp. active dry yeast (NOT rapid rise)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
6 cups flour plus more for rolling out

In a mixing bowl, mix together milk, butter, water, and sugar. To test if it's tepid, it should feel like lukewarm bath water when you stick your finger in. When it's tepid, sprinkle in yeast and swish it around (I just use my hand). Let sit for 2-3 minutes. Then add salt, beaten eggs, and flour (I use my KitchenAid mixer and the flat blade, since I never know where my dough hook is). When well mixed, cover with a kitchen towel and let sit in a warm place, like a kitchen counter, until doubled in size.

Then sprinkle a marble board or your counter top with flour, scoop out 1/2 the roll dough, and roll into a large circle about 1/4"-1/3" thick. Using the back side of a butter knife, cut like pizza into even slices. Beginning at the large end, roll into crescents, tucking the end underneath the roll. Repeat with other 1/2 of the dough. Place on baking sheets covered with parchment paper, then cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 400 for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown.

*To scald milk, put it in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. You'll know it's scalded when there are lots of bubbles all around the edge and it's almost boiling. If you let it come to a boil, though, you should probably start over.

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