Thursday, November 05, 2009

Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

I happen to be in the percentage of the population who does not have a 2-oven kitchen and tons of spare time Thanksgiving week. So I like to dissect my Thanksgiving menu and see what I can prepare in advance.

Since the freezer is very much my bosom buddy, and my family LOVES homemade dinner rolls, I like to bake them in advance. About three kids ago I started baking them in advance-- usually three weeks before Thanksgiving-- which is today. Normally our homemade bread items are whole wheat, but I like white rolls for Thanksgiving. Unhealthy traditions die hard.

This is my mom's recipe and it's never failed me. Unless you count the time that I was in charge of rolls for Thanksgiving at my parent's house when Danny and I had been married about two years and long-time friends Boyd and Priscilla were coming over and I decided to add dill to the rolls to make them extra yummy and accidentally killed the yeast with overly-hot water and disappointed the whole family which incidentally pales in comparison to the time I dumped hot gravy on Doug's lap leaving us each to serve very small portions of gravy and not enough for leftovers. I usually triple the recipe for Thanksgiving. No one seems to balk at leftover rolls to go with their leftover turkey and gravy. So the more the merrier.

Yields approximately 18 small rolls.

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Rising time: 75 minutes
Baking time: 8 to 10 minutes

1 package or 1 tablespoon active-dry or instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup milk, scalded
2 to 3 tablespoons shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, well beaten
3 1/2 cups flour

1. Soften yeast in warm water.
2. In a small bowl combine milk, shortening, sugar, and salt. Cool to lukewarm.
3. Add yeast mixture to milk mixture; add egg and beat in with wooden spoon.
4. Gradually stir in flour to form soft dough. Beat vigorously with wooden spoon.
5. Knead on lightly floured surface 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk, about 45 to 60 minutes. (High-altitude rises much faster; watch carefully to not let over-rise.)
6. Turn dough out of bowl and shape. (NOTE: Keep dough as sticky as possible to work with.) Roll on lightly floured board. To shape rolls Parkerhouse style, roll them out to 1/2-inch thick. Cut with a round cookie cutter. Pull each round piece of dough to a slightly oval shape, then fold over and crease.
7. Place rolls slightly apart on a well-greased cookie sheet. Let rise until double in bulk again, about 30 minutes.
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (high-altitude 425 degrees).
9. Place cookie sheet on top rack of oven. (NOTE: Small things are baked high in the oven; medium things [like bread and cakes] are baked in the middle, and large things [like turkeys] are baked with the rack in the lowest position.)
10. Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden, but still have some white on them. Do not overcook or they will be dry.

To adapt the recipe for the bread machine and save some time:

1. Dump all ingredients in the bread machine and press "dough" setting.
2. Come back in approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and continue from step 6.


Renee' said...

You're amazing. With six kiddos,being so little, I can't believe you have time for all this. I want to be you when I grow up. It makes me happy to make things from scratch for my family, food wise. I need you to move to Spokane. We do have an AFB you know?

Lisa said...

Yum-o. We always have to do our holiday baking in installments throughout November. Pie crusts freeze really well too, in case you were wondering. :)

Nikki said...


Pie crusts are next Thursday's post. hehe

Nay said...

You are an answer to my prayers! I have to bake a bunch of rolls (along with other things) for the RS Christmas party and I was wondering how to do it all in a timely fasion. Of course, freezing!! Thanks a ton!!! Your're the best. Also, you can drink the Capri Suns and wash out the packets. They are a snap to sew and are easier to work with than most fabrics. Just set your machine like working with Denim and use a wide Zig-Zag stitch. Set the pressure foot dial to low. I also used clear thread. I used 18 pouches for the bag and 8 for the handles. It takes me a day to make one bag...with kid interupts throughout. I'm SURE you know how that goes ;-)

Rach said...

hmmm yUMMY!! I should do that. you always think not so good at that. I just love hot rolls...but less things to cook would be awesome too.

PS: the password for today was aunatest...I thought that was funny....AUNA test!

A. said...

Thanks Nikki! I'll definitely have to try this. by the way, do you think this would work for about any roll, to just throw all the ingredients in a bread machine? I have a recipe I love (for butchy rolls) and the risings they need are jsut like yours. There are just minimal ingredient changes. I ended up doing it all by hand and skipped the mixer for fear of ruining them, but I may just have to try it now!


Nikki said...

A.- Sorry it took so long to respond. I've been disinfecting the house trying to rid us of the swine flu. Anyhow, YES you can throw pretty much all ingredients of any roll recipe and most bread recipes right into the bread machine for the dough setting. I like to make bread kits and even roll kits out of the dry ingredients-- especially if I anticipate making multiple batches in the future.

When I made this recipe last week I made six dry ingredient kits. I did switch the liquid milk for non-fat dry milk so I could add it to the kit and adjusted the water accordingly. Then I made three of the batches for Thanksgiving and froze them once they were cool. The other three roll kits are for Christmas Eve dinner.

Leslie said...

I wish I had a bread machine to do the kneading and mixing for me. I don't enjoy that part of the process very much. I also wish I had a double oven - hoping for one in the next house.

I think I'll try the make & freeze idea, too. Do you slightly underbake the rolls or just cook them as normal? And then when you reheat do you use the microwave or oven?

Nikki said...

Bring the rolls out of the freezer at least an hour before dinner to thaw.

I used to undercook and then finish cooking on the day to use. This "Brown & Serve" method works well if you have the oven available. But the oven is usually not on Thanksgiving. This "Brown & Serve" way makes them seem completely fresh.

My reasoning in reheating completely done rolls is that they're just as good or better than getting them at the bakery and doing the same.

To reheat: If the oven is available I put them in a large thin towel-- like one you've had for years and years and don't actually use for your shower because it's worn so thin. I mist it very lightly with water on the outside. I usually put it on a jelly roll pan. But I have just put the whole wrapped up towel directly on the rack as well.

For the microwave I do the same: Wrap in a lightly misted towel. This helps them not dry out.

One other thought: Danny LOVES homemade rolls to go with soups. So, if I have the freezer space (which I don't have much right now with three turkeys in there) I bake an extra batch just because. Then on soup days, I can take out a half-dozen and warm them and earn points with Danny. :)


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