Wednesday, January 12, 2011

World's Best Rolls

I made a billion rolls this Holiday season. And my thighs show it. However, I found another fantastic roll recipe that has kind of beat out the rest. My favorites are the NO KNEAD DINNER ROLL. They are great, and hold up very well if you are going to make them into buns for something else. Hillary made them recently and gave them a thumbs up. And I agree.

Then I found one on Mel's kitchen cafe called Parker House Rolls. J'adore. I love them. I just felt like they were a lighter and fluffier version of the No Knead Dinner Roll. I don't roll them like Mel does, I just roll them like the No Knead Dinner rolls into 18 rolls that are more set up to be like buns.

THEN, a friend of mine posted THIS roll recipe. Of course, being the lover of bread that I am. I had to try them.

They might have a point. They have the same ingredients as our famous Aunt Rita Rolls (which cannot be replaced, but also cannot be made in a day). I think they are lighter, fluffier, and mo' betta than the other rolls, but they don't hold together that well if you are doing a pulled pork sandwich, so just keep that in mind!

Here is the recipe!- Cut and pasted from Our Best Bites!

2 c. whole milk (if you're in a pinch, you can use 2%, but whole is best. Don't use 1% or skim)
½ c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/3 c. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) butter
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 pkgs. active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp.), preferably bread machine yeast
2/3 c. warm (105-115-degree) water
8-9 c. all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs

Combine milk, 1/2 c. sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. It's salty. It's sweet. Yum.

Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm. I usually rub some ice cubes along the sides of the pan or pop the entire pan in a sink full of ice cubes to cool the mixture down because this step can take forever. This step is really important because if the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbsp. sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn't bubbled, you'll need to repeat this step--moving on with yeast that hasn't been activated properly will only end in heartache for you and hate mail for us.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 c. flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes.
Add beaten eggs. Why should you beat your eggs first? Same reason you should combine your dry ingredients before adding them to moist ingredients when making cookies and cakes--it ensures everything is well-mixed and can be evenly-distributed through your dough or batter. If you add the whole eggs, your dough may not be as consistent.

Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft--it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Don't worry, it will firm up during the rising process. Part of what makes these rolls so good is that they're so soft and light; if you add too much flour, they will be heavy and dense. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

See that ghostly reflection in the bowl?? Oh, wait, that's me...

Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.

Spray 2 9x13 glass pans with cooking spray. Roll first portion of dough into a rectangle and then cut it into 12 equal-sized pieces. I like to use a pizza cutter because it has a blade on each side, so it cuts right through dough without sticking to the blade. This dough should be very easy to work with, almost like playdough. Shape each piece into a ball and place in prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough in the second pan.

Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go (depending on your oven), preheat oven to 375.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown.

When done, remove from oven. Rub a stick of cold butter over the tops of the rolls. You must now eat one. Now. While it's hot.

Then pop the rest into a bowl and no one will ever know that you cheated.

P.S. Using this filling or these fillings, this dough makes fabulous cinnamon or orange rolls. Just bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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