I’ve been trying to decide what rolls to make for Thanksgiving dinner, and because I don’t want to be baking on Thanksgiving Day, I decided to bake my rolls early and freeze them (I will heat them in the oven right before serving them–this works like a charm). I knew I wanted a roll that was a little sweet, so I revamped my Aunt Barbara’s Sunday roll recipe, which, as you can see, has a bit of sugar in it. But, with a little updating, this recipe really works. The roll is soft, buttery, and a little sweet–not the type of thing for every day, but just what I wanted for Thanksgiving.
Soft, Buttery Dinner Rolls
1 1/4 c. warm water
2 1/4 t. yeast
1 t. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. salt
4 1/2 c. flour
grated zest from one orange, or two clementines
Combine the yeast, 1/4 c. warm water, and the teaspoon sugar in a small bowl, stir and let bubble. Melt the butter on the stovetop or the microwave, and then add the remaining cup water as well as the sugar and stir. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the salt and 4 cups of flour. Mix with the paddle, then add half the butter mixture and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the two eggs, then add the remaining butter mixture. With the mixer on low speed, add the yeast, and then knead on medium speed, adding the 1/2 c. flour (and more, if necessary) a little at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and only a small amount remains attached to the bottom of the bowl. Add the orange zest. Continue to knead with the paddle attachment for 5 minutes.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds, until the dough comes together and forms a nice, round ball. Place in a well greased bowl, covering tightly with plastic wrap and let raise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
After the first rise, turn the dough onto a floured surface, and cut the rolls depending on your style. This recipe makes about 24 rolls. Some basic roll shapes are knots, Parker-House Style (folded in half), and simply rounded (I found a helpful, illustrated .pdf on the matter, which is particularly helpful if you’re a first-timer. It’s much easier to shape rolls when following an illustration! I’ve attached the pdf at the end of the post). For my rolls in the above photo, I rolled the dough out with a rolling pin, and cut dough into circles. I then basted the top of each circle lightly with a little melted butter, placed three circles on top of each other, then folded it in half and placed it in a greased muffin tin (I wanted them to look like Nayborhood Bakery Rolls from the Bakery in SLC–it kind-of worked!).
Once you have shaped the rolls, cover them loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise until double in size, about 30-45 minutes. Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375. Remove the plastic wrap, and bake the rolls for 10 minutes. Remove the rolls from the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool, or serve warm, with your favorite jam.