Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mom's Yeast Rolls



I cannot remember a holiday on the Allen side of my family when these rolls were not present.  As a child they were my favorites to the point that after I had already eaten four or five I would officially be cut off.  I vividly remember my uncle, Eddie, telling Gramma when she asked what she should bring for dinner at one of our many family gatherings, in one word simply "ROLLS"!  They are light and delicious and a perfect addition to any table.  

When I was in the 6th grade we were given a math project to cook something using our new found ability to do fractions and bring it in to share with the class.  One of my best friends, Mackenzie, and I decided that we were going to go over to Gramma's and cook rolls with her and take them in the following Monday.  As typical sixth graders, we were impatient and were trying to rush through the process of kneading the dough and rolling it out to get rid of any air bubbles.  It was then that Gramma told us the two secrets to making good rolls was love the dough and pour more love into making them.  Mackenzie and I laughed at this seemingly corny idea but as the years have gone by and Mackenzie and I have stayed dear friends we look back on that Sunday afternoon and think that those simple words are in fact a great lesson in life we have both carried with us to this day. 

This recipe was originally Mom Gordon's and has been passed down for generations. The process of cooking these rolls is not difficult but it is a bit time consuming with a little bit of down time in the middle.  It was during that hour of waiting for the dough to rise that I spent some of the most meaningful time with my grandmother, my mother and my aunt.  Sitting around the kitchen table, or having lunch on the porch, we would be enjoying the company of the women around us, but when that timer would bing, we would all be up assuming the position of making the rolls.  Though my aunt is no longer with us and Gramma hasn't made the rolls in a couple years, I still get a sense of nostalgia when I roll out the dough and think back on all those great afternoons spent together.

Yeast Rolls

1 cup milk
2 packages powdered yeast
6 tablespoons Crisco
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 whole egg
Approximately 4 cups flour

Dissolve 2 packages of yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the yeast and water.  Let it sit until it bubbles up. 

Heat 1 cup (filled to the top) of milk.  Mix in 1 teaspoon salt, 5 tablespoons sugar, 1 egg and Crisco (Note: I typically put the Crisco in the milk first and pop it in the microwave to melt the Crisco before I put in the egg so that the egg does not curdle).  Let cool.  Mix together milk mixture and yeast mixture.  Fold in flour (3 cups). Cover and leave it until it rises double.  Put oven at 150 degrees for one minute, then turn off the oven and put your dough in the oven to rise.  Keep it there for about an hour.  Flour a board and pour dough on it and cut out rolls.  Put your pans in the oven to melt the butter on the pans.  Take your rolls and dip in the butter on both sides, then put on the pan, folding over for Parkerhouse Rolls.  Cover and let them rise double again.  Bake at 400 degrees for six minutes on the bottom rack and five minutes on the top rack.  Makes approximately 55 rolls. 

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