Only SEVEN days until Thanksgiving! Are you ready?? Well, if you aren’t, I’ve got a few great recipes coming up just for you. Or, if you realized that your Thanksgiving dinner plans are a little over-ambitious, I’ve also got your back with a few recipes that are simple, time-tested, and crowd approved. You can even make a few of the recipes (like this one) up to three days ahead!
This recipe was the first yeast bread recipe I made in my life. I don’t remember my exact age, but I was at least in middle-school. So, if a middle-schooler can make it, I guarantee you can too. Like with the previous entries of this series, these bread rolls have a family history.
My mom received this recipe from my Aunt Karen L. Once I made these, I fell in love with them, and I began making them for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner every year. Soon, family were also requesting them on Christmas. These rolls are sweet, but not overly so. They are very buttery tasting, but not too heavy. Making them the perfect side for Thankgiving, where they pair wonderfully with both sweet and savory dishes.
Homemade bread is a simple luxury that I love sharing with family and friends. Mainly, because we are so conditioned now to eat highly processed breads we don’t even realize what we are missing. (Even grocery store bakery baguettes have additives.) If you think it’s too much work to make bread from scratch, well, you can make this recipe (which takes 1 hour max) up to three days ahead and plop the dough into the refrigerator until you are ready to freshly bake them for your Turkey Dinner. It’s seriously worth the effort to try these out!
Before we get into the recipe, here is some advice about yeast bread making.
First, yeast is a living organism, and if it is too hot it will die – in a manner of speaking. So, combine the luke-warm water and yeast in a small bowl first to make sure you have yeast that will turn into a pretty foam. If it has problems getting foamy, add a pinch of sugar and the yeast should start to foam after that. And if you have problems with your yeast after that, it’s a bad batch of yeast, which has happened to me a few times. You win some, you loose some.
Second, the weather outside impacts your bread making. If it’s humid outside, you will need less water in the dough. The reverse is true if it is arid outside, and you will need more water. If in doubt, just reserve some of the added liquids until you knead the dough to the right consistency.
Third, how warm/cool your home is while your dough rises is important. If you keep your house around 70 degrees, it’s too cool to let your dough rise (or proof) on a counter. But if it is closer to 74-76 degrees, you should have no problem with letting your dough rise on a counter. To help with the rising process you can put you dough in an oven safe bowl at about 150 degrees, and check it at about 15 minutes to make sure it isn’t cooking/drying out.
Alright, now we’ve covered Yeast Bread 101, *phew* lets move on to the main event!
Sweet Bread Rolls
Time: 1 hour for assembly & baking – 1 hour for dough’s first rise & 1 hour for second rise
Yield: 2 dozen rolls OR two small loaves of bread
2 packages of rapid rise yeast dissolved in 2 Cups warm water
6 Cups of all-purpose flour (I prefer unbleached, as bleached can have a rather acidic taste)
1 beaten egg 2/3 Cup of granulated sugar 2 Tablespoons oil
Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl with a whisk. Create a well in the center and add: the beaten egg and water mixture. Fold the ingredients gently with a wooden spoon, or your hands. Once the ingredients start sticking together in a large ball, transfer to a floured surface and lightly kneed for no more than five minutes. The dough should be smooth, when it is fully incorporated.
Place the oil into the bowl you used to mix everything together, making sure you oil the sides of the bowl as well. Then place the smooth dough into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let it rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
Then punch down and make into rolls, OR refrigerate dough up to 3 days before using.
Let rolls rise about 1 hour once the dough is in the muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes just until tops are golden.
Note: The rolls can be formed and refrigerated ahead in muffin tins as well. Just make sure they warm to room temperature before baking.