Senior Gardening

One of the Joys of Maturity

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Grandma's Yeast Rolls

Grandma's yeast rollsOne of the absolute treats of my childhood was when my mother would make yeast rolls. I think her recipe was one her mother had passed on to her. And while I'd guess that my sibblings have passed the recipe along to their offspring, I was glad a few years ago to find that my oldest son has also picked up the recipe and the tradition!

So here's an illustrated version of Grandma Wood's yeast rolls. You may also click here for just the recipe. Either way, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time for this project. From start to finish, you'll need at least 5 hours. That's not steady work time, however. The rolls must raise twice for around 2 1/2 hours each time. There is a way to start them the night before you want them, too. I'll tell you about it when we get to that point, or you can jump to it now.

yeast, salt, sugar, & waterIn a fairly large bowl, combine and let stand about 1 minute:

1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 package dry yeast (Note: Rapid rise yeast doesn't work as well for me as regular dry yeast.)

egg & oilIn a small bowl or cereal bowl, combine and beat until smooth:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg

mix the liquidsPour the egg and oil mixture into the bowl with the yeast, water, salt, and sugar. I usually blend them a bit since I have the mixer out anyway.

Mix in flourThen add 2 cups flour and beat until smooth. I've tried using my ugly old mixer to add in a bit more flour from the next step, but it seems 2 cups is about all a mixer (my mixer) can take.

Note that since I use a handheld mixer, I put my bowl down into the sink to save on cleanup later.

Add more flourGradually add and work in about (see next paragraph) 1 1/2 cups more flour. I start this process in the bowl, but after adding about the first half to full cup of additional flour dump the dough onto a floured cutting board to finish kneading and working the dough until it's smooth and elastic (not sticky).

kneadingOn this amount, I go more by how the dough feels as I knead it, rather than strictly trying to get in another 1 1/2 cups of four. More often than not, I end up using a bit less than 1 1/2 cups to get to the desired consistency of dough, although at times it takes just a bit more. I'd guess how accurately one measures water and oil and how big ones egg is might account for the variance.

ready to raisewarm spotI put the dough back into a clean bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel (bar mop or ?), and set it in a warm spot to rise until it doubles in bulk. Count on it taking a little over 2 hours (2 1/2 maximum). When I made this batch, I already had a roast in the oven, so I just set the covered bowl on the stove near, but not too near (don't want to bake it) the oven vent.

Here's where you can make this an overnight project. Complete the steps up to this point and then put the dough in a bowl with a lose lid (a plate cover) and put it in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will still raise, but slowly enough that it should take around eight hours (a good night's sleep). Take the dough out of the fridge in the morning, allow it to warm a few minutes, and then complete the following steps.

First rise doneon cutting boardTwo hours or so later the dough is ready to be "poured" out onto a floured board and worked down a bit.

Oops, should have told you sooner, but at this point, have a bowl or dish of melted Crisco (about a tablespoon or a bit more) ready...and not too hot, but not going back to a solid, either. Also, you'll want to grease your cookie sheets at this point. It won't hurt to let the dough sit and rest a bit while you do these chores.

Dough to cutCut the dough into 16-20 rolls and work each roll until smooth. work doughI've watched others do this step lots of times, but I still have trouble working the dough, sorta kneading it down the sides of the dough ball and into the bottom of the roll, and still getting it smooth.

Then wipe a bit of melted Crisco on the roll and place it in your greased pan or cookie sheet.

Ready to rise a second timeCinnamon rollsI always end up with a few more rolls than I can fit on two cookie sheets. I guess that I often make one sheet of smaller rolls and another of larger ones, but too late to use up all the dough.

Maybe that's my excuse for using the excess to make a pan of cinnamon rolls with the leftover dough!

Use light clothCover the rolls with a light cloth, put the pan in a warm place, and let rise again to about double in size. Again, count on about 2+ hours for this step.

Somewhere along the line here, you'll need to preheat your oven to 350o F.

ready to bakeTake off the cloth, place the pans in the oven, and bake until just lightly browned on top. The time varies on the size of the rolls you make, but something around 10-12 minutes is a good guess.
At this point, you'll have been at it for about 5 hours, off and on, but with a little butter or spread, it's worth the effort.


There's also a continuation of this recipe for cinnamon rolls.

Oh yeah, I promised the short version for some folks. This one is a direct copy from my mother's handwritten recipe.

Oven 350o F

Combine and let stand about 1 minute:
1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 package dry yeast

Combine separately and beat until smooth:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg

Combine above 2 and add:
2 cups flour

Beat until smooth

Then add 1 1/2 cups flour (gradually),
kneading and working until smooth and elastic (not sticky)

Place in large bowl and cover and place in warm spot to rise until double in bulk (about 2 hours)

Place dough on floured board and work down

Cut into 16-20 rolls
Work each roll until smooth

Place in greased pan (greasing both sides of rolls--better to have melted crisco and wipe on before going into pan)

Let rise about 2 hours


Gluten-Free Note (11/20/2013)

Our family yeast roll recipe doesn't work well with gluten-free flour. But I was able to find an excellent recipe on Michelle Palin's My Gluten-Free Kitchen site for gluten-free yeast rolls, Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls.

From the at Senior Gardening


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updated 11/20/2013