It’s kinda interesting to watch. I mean, I’ve literally seen water evaporate off the dessert floor. But rolls? They can evaporate, too. That pan of Nana’s Potato Rolls was put in front of my grandsons and I turned around — and I did go get a coffee and the paper — and when I was back they were gone. Just gone. And the two thirteen year olds professed, not innocence, but that the rolls were really good and could they have more. Please.
Suzen, my wife and their grandmother, took this all in stride and with pride. She sent me back to the store. This time for more nonfat dry milk and potato flour supplies. Those are the "secret" ingredients here.
For the second batch, I made sure the rolls came out of the oven when the boys were outside playing. I got cold butter and warmed the honey in the microwave.
When the boys came inside, and four of “their” rolls were gone, I did profess innocence. They noticed the butter and honey. They learned.
Rolls are a treat we all have too infrequently. And, God forbid, many of the rolls we consume are taken, already “made,” from cardboard containers and baked. That is not the definition of home-baked.
Suzen has made these rolls since she got her first copy of The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. In the book, this recipe is called White Bread 101 and it really and truly is the white bread recipe you should start your bread baking career with.
We’re going to a party next month and her contribution will be 125 of these rolls. She’s rolling her eyes at that quantity, but she never turns away an audience for her kitchen wonders. Make these rolls just once, and you’ll consider them a wonder, too. They have a soft, luxurious texture and an aroma out of the oven that will drive you, literally, to butter and honey.
I’m not sure how the nonfat dry milk and the potato flour contribute to the final result here. The official chemistry is probably a bit complex. But whoever discovered this combo deserves the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Or at least our many thanks.
Nana’s Potato Rolls [aka White Bread 101]
Yield: 11 rolls
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup nonfat dry milk
- ¼ cup potato flour or ⅓ cup potato flakes
- 1 ⅛ cups lukewarm water
Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together by and, mixer or bead machine. Knead until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. Adjust the dough’s consistency with additional flour or water as needed. But remember, the more flour you add while you are kneading, the heaving and drier you final result will be. Cover and let the dough rise for 1 hour, until it is puffy [and not necessarily doubled in bulk].
Divide the dough into 2.5 ounce pieces. There should be 11. Roll each piece into a small ball and place symmetrically inside a 9-inch buttered cake pan. Cover the pan and let the dough rise for about 1 hour until the rolls “fill” the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Uncover the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, tenting the rolls lightly with aluminum foil for the final 10 to 15 minutes if they appear to be browning too quickly.
Remove from the oven, and place on a wire rack to cool slightly. While still warm, remove the rolls from the pan by inverting over a second wire rack. Re-invert and allow the rolls to cool to room temperature.
[Or, if you are impatient, eat them warm. They are yummy by themselves, but I prefer butter and honey or jam.]
Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for1/30th second at ISO‑2500
A long time ago, our friend Stephen Schmidt gave us the recipe for these barbeque rolls. Yes, they are softer than Charmin. No, they do not have to be used with barbeque. Oh, with pulled pork and sauce? You’d think you were in the The Carolinas or maybe Texas Hill Country. But really, these wonderful rolls are the only ones you’ll ever need. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Hungry at 2AM watching Seinfeld reruns? Heat one of these up, add some butter plus honey or jam, and even that Seinfeld show is finally going to make sense.
You will have different rolls in your eating career. You will never, ever have anything better.
Soft Barbeque Rolls
Yield: 24 rolls serving 8 to 10 people
- 1 Cup lukewarm water
- 2 Packets active dry yeast
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 Cup milk
- 2 Large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 Cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 6 Cups all-purpose flour, just a bit more for kneading
Pour water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over the top. Set aside 5 minutes to allow yeast to dissolve.
In the meantime, melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Mixture should be lukewarm; if necessary return to heat briefly. Pour into yeast.
Add eggs, sugar, and salt and beat well. Add 4 cups of the flour and stir briskly until mixture is smooth and begins to come away from the sides of the bowl. Work in the remaining 2 cups of flour. Let stand 3 minutes, then turn out onto an unfloured work surface. Using a rubber spatula or metal pasty scraper, slap dough back and forth until it begins to gather into a ball. Flour hands and knead dough lightly for 1 minute, reflouring hands as necessary. Dough will remain extremely soft and sticky.
Scrape any dried doth out of the mixing bowl. Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 to 1 ½ hours
Brush a 9 X 13-inch baking pan with 2 tablespoons soft or melted butter. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a wide log. Divide the log into four pieces, then cut each into 6 strips. Roll the strips between your hands into 24 balls, tossing each onto a lightly floured work surface as it is formed. Lightly dredge balls in flour. Arrange rolls in six rows of four each in the pan. Drape loosely with a sheet of plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn out of pan, then reinvert onto a plate or, if you are not serving at once, a rack.