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Friday, March 2, 2012

Favourite Yeast Rolls

There’s a certain comfort that comes from baking yeast breads on a cold winter’s day.

This recipe had been on my mind for a while and today seemed to be the perfect day for baking. If you’ve yet to be convinced that food brings back great memories I still have some work to do.

I haven’t baked these rolls for at least twenty years and the last time I used this recipe my children were still in grade school. My kids were not big eaters especially during school lunch so I began baking these small rolls to pack in their lunches. These were the perfect size for their small appetites.

I actually amazed myself today when I quickly remembered which recipe I used and exactly where to locate it.

That brought me to another memory.

Many years ago one of my co-workers allowed me to photocopy an entire sizable cook book that belonged to her since I was unable to locate one for purchase.

This may not seem like such a great memory but you should know that Lena and I didn’t see eye to eye on many things. The discovery of our interest in and love of cooking kindled a warm friendship and seemed to make our differences fade into the background. A few years later I was able to help her through a very difficult time in her life.

I don’t remember the title of this book since I didn’t think to photocopy the cover but it’s a great collection of recipes and valuable baking tips.

By coincidence, the huge stack of photocopied recipes fills a four inch black binder that originally held the company's manual for which we worked. The binder is personalized with the company logo and my name on the corner.

How can I not remember those years every time I reach for that binder?

Favourite Yeast Rolls
1½ cups milk
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon salt
2 envelopes active dry yeast
½ cup very warm water
7 to 8 cups sifted all purpose flour
  1. Heat milk with butter in a small saucepan until butter melts and cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl add very warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast. Let stand until bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cooled milk mixture and beat in eggs.
  4. Beat in about 1 1/2 cups of the flour then stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding only enough of the flour to keep the dough from sticking.
  6. Place dough in a greased large bowl, turn dough to bring the greased side up.
  7. Cover bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place away from drafts, 1 ½ hours or until double in bulk.
  8. Punch dough down and divide into quarters keeping dough covered with an inverted bowl until ready to shape.
  9. Divide each quarter piece of dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into about a 6 inch rope.
  10. Tie each rope into a knot and tuck ends under the roll.
  11. Place on greased baking pans, cover with clean tea towel and let rise again in a warm place about 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  12. Bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees F.) for 20 minutes or until golden.
  13. Cool on wire racks and brush tops lightly with butter if you wish.
  14. Makes about 48 rolls.

Notes, Tips and Suggestions

  • I found both rising times given were too long. Check first rising after 1 hour and second rising after ½ hour. If dough has doubled in bulk proceed with next step.
  • If you buy yeast in bulk or are considering doing so 1 tablespoon of yeast equals 1 prepackaged envelope.
  • Rolls are delicious for breakfast with a little butter and jam.
  • These freeze very well


  1. these are white and fluffy, but not exactly what I had in mindMarch 11, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    I love how food can bring the most disparate kinds of people closer together. Certainly stands for something, don't you think? How do you get your rolls so uniform and perfect? A trick of the trade? I also noticed an omission in your ingredient list. Where is the bottle of brio (any size)? Hat tip to Cy...

    ~ your daughter

  2. Who knows how many friendships have begun or been saved by a good recipe!
    Perhaps even a war or two?
    As for the uniformity of the buns, I always begin with cutting the initial piece of dough in half then each half in half and continue halving until I have the number of pieces I want. This might help.
    This method by no means guarantees uniform size but close enough to it.
    I think they will be uniform if each piece of dough is measured by weight but it's the different sizes that brings out their "homemade" charm.

  3. your daydreaming daughterMarch 12, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    I know you were dying to say 'rustic', so good for you for thinking beyond the dinner roll. Goodbye Martha!

  4. New definition of "rustic cuisine":

    It tastes a whole lot better than it looks!