January 2014 - Keep it Simple!
A pan of delicious dinner rolls accompanied most family dinners at my mother-in-laws table. For decades she turned out batch after batch of light, airy rolls effortlessly, quickly, without any cookbook or recipe card in sight, adjusting flour/water ratios by the feel of the dough. I wish I had spent more time with her in the kitchen, sharing stories and baking together.
Irene has passed and I regret the missed the opportunities to share many of her recipes. I think she might approve of this pan of Quick Dinner Rolls, not as tender as I remember hers but perfectly adequate. Her rolls were not fancy shapes or full of extra add-ins, but they were heavenly. As is so often the case, simple was best.
The #TwelveLoaves "Keep it Simple" theme for January's challenge was the perfect invitation to bake a pan of quick dinner rolls. Not that baking ever requires an invitation or even an excuse, but I usually bake loaves rather than rolls. This month I spent waaaay to much time researching online, reading blog posts and skimming various recipes; 30 Minute Rolls, Quick Dinner Rolls, No Knead Rolls, Parker House Rolls, Overnight Refrigerator Rolls... Too many choices! 30 Minute Rolls sounded good and looked simple, so that made the decision easy.
I prepared a half-recipe and experimented with toppings: 2 rolls were brushed with melted garlic butter before and after baking, 2 rolls in the center of the pan were left unadorned, and 2 rolls were sprinkled with a tablespoon of fresh shredded Parmesan cheese. No herbs added into the dough, though I was really tempted.
- The rolls took longer than 30 minutes but under an hour so, yes, they were quick for yeast rolls.
- Fresh from the oven the rolls' interiors were soft though not especially light. The next day they were heavy and leaden, not as dry as day-old biscuits but no longer tender. Irene steamed her rolls to reheat them if there were any left over, but I didn't try that with this batch.
- The flavor? Well, it was just a fresh bread taste similar to that of any warm, white AP loaf.
- The plain tops browned nicely and their interiors held a good slather of butter and jam. Cheese topping did not add anything special to the taste but it was attractive. The garlic butter punched up the flavor enough to become my favorite. (Was I thinking of garlic knots?!)
- RL reported the rolls reminded him of his mom's rolls, but they weren't quite the same. That's an invitation to try another recipe and keep baking.
Quick Dinner Rolls
Recipe from YourHomeBasedMom
Yield: 12 to 15 medium rolls in a 9x13 pan
1 cup + 2 TBS warm water
1/3 cup oil
2 TBS yeast
¼ cup sugar or honey
Mix the water, oil, yeast and sugar together in a mixing bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes. (Yes, mix in the yeast rather than just sprinkling it on top of the liquid.)
½ tsp salt
3 ½ cups AP flour
Add the salt, egg and flour to the mixing bowl. Use the dough hook on a stand mixer and mix until the dough is soft & supple. Add an extra tablespoon or two of flour as needed to bring the dough together, it should be fairly wet and a bit sticky.
Form into 12 (or more) medium-sized balls.
Place in a greased 9x13 pan and let rest for 10 minutes. They will begin to rise at room temperature and finish in the oven.
Bake 10+ minutes in a preheated 400 F or until the tops are a deep golden brown (more like 20+ minutes in my oven).
Remove from oven and brush with each top with melted butter (garlic butter is better!).
#TwelveLoaves Bakers have created a tempting assortment of simple recipes this month. Click HERE to see the collection. What is your favorite simple bread?