You Know How I Roll

Thanksgiving is coming up with lightning speed, my fellow DIYeters in the USofA. Yes, big holidays are busy times. There is nothing wrong with using store-bought items to make your preparations easier. I ardently believe that holidays should be fun, not stressful.

There are plenty of excellent dinner rolls that can be purchased. You can certainly use a holiday as an excuse to pop into a neighborhood bakery you have not tried yet. You know how much I love making bread, though. That is why I make my own brown-and-serve rolls. Brown-and-serve rolls give you the best of all possible options. You can make them up to one month ahead, so there is no last-minute stress. However, they finish baking just before serving time, creating that “fresh baked smell” just before serving time. Here is the recipe I use, from the Fleischman’s Yeast company website. Take note, I made a half batch of the recipe because I am a very silly person and forgot to buy more yeast.

You can certainly make this recipe entirely by hand, but if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook it will go much faster. I happen to have such a mixer. Remember to start with the mixing paddle to ensure the ingredients are combined before you get to the kneading.

Heating the liquid ingredients is the most finicky step in this recipe. The instructions say to heat the milk, water, and butter to 120 Fahrenheit. If you are a little cooler it is not such a bad thing. However, if your liquids are warmer than 120F the heat might kill off your yeast. That would be bad. To be on the safe side, get out that thermometer!

Know your skill level, DIYeters; there is no shame is stopping the mixer when you add ingredients. I had the mixing paddle on the very slowest speed as I carefully drizzled the liquids into the bowl. I managed not to spray the kitchen with warm milk- so that’s a win right there. After a few minutes of mixing, I added more flour and changed to the dough hook.

This is another finicky step, but only if you are using a stand mixer. It is almost impossible to over-knead dough by hand. With a machine, however, it is surprisingly easy. Over-worked dough is not only hard to shape into pretty rolls it also will not rise as high as it should. Rolls should be fluffy, right? As soon as the dough forms a smooth ball that does not stick to the sides of the bowl it is time to shut the machine off and let the dough rest.

After the resting comes the most fun part of making rolls- the shaping. There are so many shapes rolls can have! The Fleischman’s recipe has some ideas, but do not be afraid to play around. I made my 2 favorite shapes.

I divided the dough in half, as my batch would make only two dozen. This half was divided into twelfths, and each twelfth into thirds. I rolled three little balls and placed them in an oiled muffin tin to make classic cloverleaves.
The next twelve twelfths were rolled into snakes. If I had stopped here, I would have made bread sticks. I kept going, though.
I made an over-hand knot on each end of the snake for an interesting twisty shape.

After the first round of baking, here is what my rolls look like.

It is very important that the rolls be allowed to cool completely before they hit the freezer. Warm rolls will create ice crystals, which will create freezer burn. My top tip- put the final baking instructions on the freezer bag. No need to look up the temperature and time on the day of the celebration, it is right there for you.

This was not an easy year for us in the Food It Yourself family, (did you read my last post?). We still have so much to be thankful for. Getting things like dinner rolls prepared ahead of time lets me stay focused on gratitude. What helps you stay calm and enjoy your favorite holiday? Share your kitchen tips and live hacks in the comments.