Homemade Rolls

Ever since my mom taught me how to bake my own bread I haven’t liked buying it from the store. Not only does homemade bread TASTE better but it’s such a joy to make. Having the opportunity to add whatever ingredients I want to it (besides the basic recipe), to touch the dough, to shape it, to monitor the baking time, and most deliciously, to SMELL the dough baking is what makes my heart smile every time I make bread.

Making bread really isn’t that difficult. I used to think so, but with practice and after establishing a routine, it’s no hassle anymore. So I want to share with you some methods that I’ve found useful so that maybe, just MAYBE you’ll be inspired to bake bread at home, too. :)

    • I bake bread on a day I’m at home for at least 3 hours.
    • I follow the recipe, every time! Modifications, if any, are specific so that proportions stay the same.
    • I make two one-pound loaves in each batch (mostly because that’s all my bowl will hold).
    • I let my yeast, warm water and sugar rest for almost an hour and set the dry ingredients aside for use later.
    • I don’t use a bread maker, which over-beats my dough, resulting in a mushy mess and a dense texture once baked.
    • I don’t knead the dough anymore. (Below I’ll explain what I do to make rolls.)Β This made my bread tough and dry because I ended up adding lots of flour to prevent the dough from sticking to my hands while kneading. It’s nice because now it saves me time and clean up!
    • I use a timer (usually I don’t for recipes, so this is a “must” for me!)

So, to the recipe. :) This one for rolls has been done by trial and error many times. But finally I succeeded — the butter mixture contributing highly to the moistness and mouth-melting texture.

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1. To begin, I warm up 2 cups of water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for 1 minute (technically the water’s supposed to be at 110Β°F, but my rule of thumb is “if the glass container is hot to the touch without burning my hand…and not too steamy”). Note: too hot and the yeast won’t do its job of rising the dough.

2. I pour this warm water into a bowl that has 4 tsp yeast and 4 TBS brown sugar in it; which I stir well and cover with plastic wrap. The timer gets set for 30 minutes.

{If my kitchen is too cold, I put the bowl on the stove and turn my oven on “warm.” The heat from the oven (located under the stove) comes out of the vents on top of the stove, keeping the bowl warm. Otherwise, if your house isn’t warm enough, you could place the bowl on the top shelf of your oven, above a deep pan that is filled with hot water. Just be careful not to burn yourself!}

3. While the yeast is multiplying/proofing (whatever you wanna call it), I assemble the dry ingredients in a small bowl: 4 cups of flour (2 cups wheat, 2 cups white) and 2 tsp salt. Sometimes I whisk in some wheat germ and/or flaxseed meal, also, keeping in mind the amount so I don’t add too much flour later.

4. After 30 minutes I check on the yeast. If it hasn’t risen much, I make sure it’s in a warm enough environment and let it go for another 20-30 minutes. If the yeast is nice and domed, then I add the flour/salt mixture to it (dividing it in half, mixing and then adding the rest). This dough I cover again with plastic wrap and let rise for another 30+ minutes in a warm environment.

5. Following this second rise, I stir the mixture (to “punch down” the rise) and add another 1/2 cup flour if the dough is unreasonably sticky.

6. Then, I spray 2 cake pans (you could really use any size/shape pan) with cooking spray and melt 4 TBS butter in the microwave for 45 seconds.

7. With a small spoon, I scoop out some dough into my hands. Usually it’s super sticky, so I sprinkle it with flour and kind of knead the bit in my hand until the flour is incorporated. Then I place this dough in the greased pan.

8. I do this same step (#7) until all the batter is gone, placing the dough side by side in each pan.

9. Lastly, I spoon a little butter (a pastry brush would work, too) over each roll.

10. I place the pans in the oven, turn it on “warm” for 1 minute, then turn it off and let the rolls rise for 20 minutes.

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11. After 20 minutes I peek carefully into the oven (so as not to disturb the dough) and if the rolls have lifted themselves above the lip of the pan (or “doubled in size”) I turn the oven on 350 and set the timer for 15 minutes.

12. When the timer dings, I peek at the rolls. Usually mine aren’t golden brown when they’re finished (if they are that means they’re over-done). So I base the done-ness on the texture of the tops, not the color. The texture looks cooked, not doughy. And gently tapping the dough to hear if it’s hollow works, too.

13. When all the criteria for done-ness is reached, I take out the pans, set them on the stovetop for about 5 minutes and then pour out the rolls onto a cooling rack (if they sit in the pan too long they start “sweating,” which makes them taste mushy).

There ya have it! Homemade rolls.

Toldja it was easy! If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to comment below. I’m quite new to bread baking, so I won’t feel offended if you have a different way that you make it :)

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