- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's almost Thanksgiving, and time to contemplate the turkey and all the trimmings. But wait, shouldn't we be thinking about homemade rolls?
Not just any rolls. Yeast rolls!
On the UC Davis research front, Kyria Boundy-Mills serves as the curator of the Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, one of the world's largest collections of wild yeast. She maintains the collection, distributes strains to academic and industrial researchers around the world, conducts contract screening research for companies and does research on yeast ecology.
One of her current research projects is developing new yeast-based lures for agricultural insect pests.
On the home front, you can also lure your Thanksgiving guests with yeast rolls!
For as long as I can remember, I've been making yeast rolls derived from a family recipe but with my little additions and quirks. Sunset magazine printed my recipe, "Kathy's Yeast Rolls," a number of years ago--alas, no fame, no fortune, no requests for autographs, no Food Network bookings--but I'm told it's become a favorite.
What's good about it: it's delicious, it's quick and easy to make, and it's basically mistake-proof.
Well, there was that ONE mistake.
A friend who had never worked with yeast before told me her rolls didn't rise. "They stayed flat," she said. "They looked nothing like yours."
"Okay, what did you do?" I asked.
"Well, first I boiled the water and then I added the yeast."
"You did w-h-a-a-t? You BOILED the water? Omigosh! You killed the yeast! Homicide in the kitchen! Roll out the yellow caution tape! The water is supposed to be lukewarm, or warm to the wrist."
"Oh," she said. "Whoops!"
So the next time she made it, no more "whoops." The rolls came out perfectly, her husband and children loved them, the sun burst through the clouds, and she's been making them ever since.
In fact, some folks I've shared this recipe with prefer to skip dessert and eat another roll.
Like all dinner rolls, these are best fresh out of the oven. Just add a little melted butter and a dribble of warm honey--preferably starthistle honey--and you won't even think about that turkey and all the trimmings.
This is how we roll!Kathy's Yeast Rolls
1/2 cup of warm water
2 packages of active dry rapid-rise yeast (I use Fleischman's)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of light cooking oil (I use Wesson vegetable oil or canola oil)
3/4 cup of scalded milk (let cool to lukewarm)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups of flour
Scald milk. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm. Pour 1/2 cup of warm water (test it so it's warm but comfortable to the wrist) into a standard drinking glass (so you can see how much it rises). Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and two packages of yeast. Stir with wooden spoon. Place in warm place, such as on the kitchen stove, and let rise until the yeast bubbles to the top of the glass.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup of sugar and the 1/2 cup of Wesson oil. Add the scalded (now lukewarm) milk and beat lightly with an electric mixer on low, just until mixed. Add the two eggs and the yeast (the yeast has now risen to the top of the glass).
Sift two cups of floor with half a teaspoon of salt and add to the mixture. Beat. Add two more cups of flour, one cup at a time, and mix. Add more flour as needed to make smooth dough, just in between a little sticky and non-sticky. (I usually add one more cup of flour, sometimes a little more, until the texture is smooth. Be careful not to add too much flour; the dough should be on the sticky side.) Knead for a few minutes. In another mixing bowl, added a couple tablespoons of Wesson oil.
Place the rounded ball of dough in the oil and invert. Cover with a light cloth (I use a flour-sack type) and place the bowl on top of your stove or in a warm place to rise until double.
When the dough has risen until double, punch down and form into rolls. Place on a slightly greased cookie sheet. Cover with the flour-sack cloth and place on top of stove. Let the rolls rise until they're "puffy" or about double in size.
Bake at 350 degrees. Check after 10 minutes. Ovens vary. (I usually bake them for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they're a very light golden brown. Do not overbake.)
If you like, top the rolls with melted butter. Recipe makes about 15 rolls, depending on the size. If there's a roll remaining the next day, slip it into a brown-paper bag, close lightly, and heat in microwave oven for about 10 seconds.
If you want a buttery taste, substitute the half cup of Wesson oil with half a cup of butter.
Use basic recipe above, except substitute the 1/2 cup of Wesson oil for 1/2 cup of melted butter. Preheat oven 375 degrees. Roll dough into oblong shape, about 15x9. Spread 2 tablespoons melted butter, or more if desired. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar, three teaspoons cinnamon and one teaspoon nutmeg. If desired, add nuts and raisins (about one cup each, or as to taste).
Roll up tightly, starting from the wide side. Seal by pinching edges of roll together. Cut roll into one-inch slices. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double, about 35 to 40 minutes. Bake 35 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
This is excellent for French toast. Slice longways and dip the pieces into your favorite egg/milk mixture. We use the traditional Betty Crocker recipe:
1/2 cup of milk
Bread as needed, sliced longways
Mix eggs and milk in wide bowl. Dip each slice into mixture. Brown each slice on both sides on a hot griddle.