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.
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.