Monday, March 2, 2009

Betsy's Rolls

I am a serious carb-addict. The problem is, I can't make bread to save my life! I have tried all the "fool-proof" recipes that friends swear I can't mess up--but I do. Somehow, every bread/roll recipe turns into a solid brick of tasteless carbs. So frustrating! I have the electric wheat grinder, Bosch mixer, KitchenAid, you-name-it, but they don't help me make a decent loaf of bread. Honestly, I think it's the bread recipes where they give you a range of the amount of flour to use and I just don't know what consistency I am going for. I need to see it, feel it and have someone walk me through step by step. Well...I think I finally hit the jackpot! I wasn't able to see or feel it, but Courtney's step-by-step instructions for her mom's rolls has been the winning recipe for me. I am so excited! I made a whole batch this morning and took them to a potluck lunch with friends--they we gone. That's a big deal considering there were only 4 friends and about 36 rolls!

Betsy Cannon's Rolls
(thanks Courtney--these have changed my life! :))
OH, check out Courtney's blog here--it's great!

2 packets yeast
1 Tblspn sugar
Warm water to dissolve yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 butter or margarine, melted (I use butter) - the original recipe calls for oil
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
approx. 5-6 cups flour

Step 1:
Put yeast and sugar in a large plastic cup (I doubt the cup needs to be plastic this is just how she does it), cover with warm water and stir with a fork. Set aside.

Step 2:
Put milk in a glass container and microwave for 2 minutes or you can scald it on the stovetop in a small pan. After scalding the milk, put the stick of butter in the container of milk. This melts the butter while also bringing the temperature of the milk down so it won't cook the eggs. Set aside.

Step 3:
In a mixer, combine the sugar, eggs and salt.

Step 4:
Add the yeast mixture and the milk/butter mixture to the mixer and mix everything together.

Step 5:
Add the flour 2 cups at a time. Mix well after each addition. Once all the flour is added, mix for at least 4 or 5 minutes. When I asked my mom how much flour she used, her only directions were "it's more than the recipe says" (Louise says 4-5 cups, sifted). She makes these so often that she just knows when the dough is the right consistency. I'm not that good so I started at 4 cups and then added flour 1/4 cup at time until I decided that 5 3/4 cup is right for New Jersey. We don't sift either.
The dough should pull away from the side of the mixer. If you have too little flour, the rolls won't hold their shape. If you have too much flour, they are too dry. My mom instructed that if I added too much flour, I could add another egg.

Step 6:
Leave in mixer, cover and let raise for about an hour.

Step 7:
Run the mixer (I do this on the lowest setting) for a few revolutions. This is supposed to make the dough finer.

Step 8:
Roll out the dough on a floured surface. The first time I made these, I spread butter on the top of the dough. I was planning to make part of the dough into cinnamon rolls and got ahead of myself. I like the extra butter so I still do it that way. My mom does not (unless she is making cinnamon rolls).

Step 9:
Form rolls into desired shape. My mom usually does knots so I do too. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into strips (approx 3/4 inch wide) and then cut the strip into 3 or 4 smaller sections. Tie each piece in a knot and tuck the ends under the roll. Place formed rolls on a greased pan.

Step 10:
Let rolls raise another hour or so.

Step 11:
Bake at 350 degrees until light brown - maybe 10 minutes or so.

This recipe usually makes enough for two nights of rolls for our family as well as a batch of cinnamon rolls. After I form the rolls into knots, I will put enough for that's night meal on one greased pan and let them raise for dinner. For the rest, I grease a pan and put the rolls on a cookie sheet. I cover the cookie sheet with foil and freeze (don't let them raise for the second time before freezing). Once the rolls are frozen, I take them off the cookie sheets and put them in ziploc bags (laid out flat) in the freezer. I then just take out as many rolls as I need. The rolls need about 2-3 hours to thaw and raise after being frozen.
My mom typically doubles the recipe in her Bosch. I have the basic-sized Kitchen Aid and it's a bit small to double so I don't. When doubling, you don't need to double the yeast (my mom says Pam Craig who is a wonderful homemaker told her that). The original recipe calls for two packets of yeast (or 1 1/2 Tbsp) - my mom says she uses 2 Tbsp of yeast when she doubles.


Catherine said...

I love reading about two of my friends all in one post. I am definitely yeast challenged. I am so tired of trying recipes out and they all don't work. I will try these. Wish me luck!

Courtney said...

I'm so glad they are working for you. You can do it too Cath!!

Laura said...

Rachel, I found your blog through Courtney's. I was roommates with Courntey's friend Nancy in college, small world. Anyway, it is fun to read all of your fun recipes. I want to try so many of them. Fun to get a glimpse into your life.