Recipes: Then and Now

Recipes from the past updated for today

Post #16 Dinner Rolls

October 15, 2014

I have been a bread baker for many years. My recipe for everyday bread has been standardized for quite a long time. Just good, plain, wholesome bread that makes a great sandwich. But a good dinner roll recipe had some how eluded me. I have tried many; pan rolls, refrigerator rolls, potato rolls, crusty ‘egg shell’ rolls… well you get the idea. I have on many occasions had the opportunity to try someone else’s dinner rolls and many were close to what I was looking for but not quite right. Then, one holiday dinner I tried yet another recipe. To everyone’s delight I had finally hit the mark.

The basis for this recipe I found in a 1946 edition of ‘Joy of Cooking’ by Irma S. Rombauer. The changes made were to substitute instant mashed potatoes instead of fresh cooked and active dry yeast instead of a cake of fresh yeast. If you should want to use real mashed potatoes just be sure to measure the one cup needed. Use the water from cooking the potatoes for the warm water called for in the recipe. The cake of yeast you will still find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It is not much different from using active dry but lower the water temperature by about ten degrees as it is not so forgiving.

These rolls are always a hit. This is a really good recipe and I have been told ‘don’t change a thing’. So I won’t. This recipe makes a light and flavorful roll just right for a holiday meal, or to go with the bits and pieces of leftover turkey or ham the next day. These are heaven still warm from the oven with real butter and black raspberry jam or orange marmalade.

I always use good King Arthur Flour, it really does make a difference in bread baking. Try it yourself, you won’t be disappointed. My thinking is; using the highest quality ingredients will result in the highest quality fare for your table.

Really Good Dinner Rolls

1 package active dry yeast

½ cup warm water (about 100 degrees)

¼ teaspoon sugar

1 cup milk

¾ cup soft butter, no substitutes

1 cup warm mashed potatoes (use about 2/3 cup instant in 1 cup warm water)

5 to 5 ½ cups King Arthur® All Purpose Flour

2 large eggs

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and add the ¼ teaspoon sugar. Set aside to proof (which means to start to bubble and foam). Heat the milk to lukewarm and stir in the butter till melted. Add mashed potatoes, eggs, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Stir in the yeast mixture and blend well. Cover with plastic wrap and let this ‘sponge’ rise in a warm place for 2 hours. It will bubble up and smell wonderfully yeasty. Mix in 4 to 4 ½ cups more flour and beat for several minutes. This will be a very sticky dough, impossible to knead, so don’t try. Just beat it well in the bowl. Place in a well greased bowl and cover. Refrigerate overnight to allow dough to rise slowly (this also helps makes the dough less sticky). When ready, take out the dough, punch down and divide into 24 rolls. Using lots of flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands roll each piece into a ball and place in buttered muffin tins. Brush tops with melted butter and let rise in a warm place till light and puffy, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, more if necessary. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 24 rolls