Happy Thanksgiving week! Are you ready? Is your turkey thawing in the fridge? Have you rounded up extra tables and chairs for the extended family gathering? Have you planned your menu and done your grocery shopping?
The "experts" will tell you to take advantage of convenience foods for this yearly feast. After all, if you're the hostess of a big gathering, you don't want to be stressed about desserts!
But this expert is telling you to do something a bit different: to reduce the stress, let your guests cook and bring what they like, and reserve your favorite parts of the meal for your own preparation.
After all, for some of us cooking is our "love language." We love to cook and bake and shower the goodies on our loved ones. So when Thanksgiving comes, our house is open and I cook my favorites!
One of those is dinner rolls.
I had planned to share my favorite dinner roll recipe today, but then realized I already had! But we can all use a refresher, right?
I've revised a few things and added a couple pictures, but here's the recipe, just in time for Thanksgiving:
Dinner Rolls for Holidays...or any time!
Yes, yes, I know this is homemade bread. But really - can it be that hard? After all, our grandmothers for generations back made bread every week, or maybe even every day if their family was large enough.
This is the recipe I cut my bread-making teeth on.
It started like this: Once upon a time (okay, it was the mid-70's) our family was visiting some friends, and our hostess served homemade dinner rolls. My dad took one bite, looked at me and said, "If you learn to make rolls like these, I'll double your allowance."
|This is the mid-70's me. Yes, Gunne Sax dress and all :)|
(By the way, I'm the only one who remembers him saying that...but I'm sure he did!)
Jan's Dinner Rolls
2 packages instant dry yeast (or 2 Tablespoons)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter
2 cups whole wheat flour
4-6 cups all-purpose or bread flour
You can make this recipe completely by hand (like I did for years), or use a large capacity mixer (like I do now.)
First, heat the milk, sugar, butter and salt together. You can cheat and use the microwave, but I like to heat it up in a pan on the stove. But you don't want it to get too hot! Just warm enough to soften the butter.
Now, this is important! Before you do anything else, make sure your milk mixture isn't too hot. You want it to be lukewarm. You can stick a (clean!!!) pinky finger in to test it, or you can use a thermometer. If you do the finger test, it should feel slightly warm. If you use a thermometer, it should be between 110° and 115°.
(Does anyone know what happens if your liquid is too hot? It will kill the yeast. We don't like dead yeast. It makes hard, flat bread :( )
Pour this into a large bowl (or your mixer).
|Freshly ground wheat flour! Mmm-mm!|
Add the two cups whole wheat flour, two eggs and 2 packages yeast. Whisk these ingredients together until smooth.
Let the batter rest for about twenty minutes.
Yes, I said rest. You want to wake up the yeast and let some of those flavors mingle.
After twenty minutes or so, add the rest of the flour a cup at a time, mixing each cup in completely before adding the next. If you're doing this by hand, use a large spoon, and stir it in until you can't stir the dough anymore. If you're using a mixer, use your kneading hook and add flour just until sides of your bowl no longer have dough sticking to them and the dough forms a ball.
|This dough is just right - the sides of the bowl are coming clean,|
and the dough is elastic.
BUT - be careful not to add too much flour. Too much will make your bread heavy and stiff. Too little will make it hard to handle. This is where practice comes in....
Now it's time to knead the dough.
If you're using a mixer, set your timer for seven minutes, and let the mixer work.
If you're kneading the dough by hand, sprinkle your clean counter or bread board with about a cup of flour, and then knead. Fold one side of the lump of dough over onto the other, and push down. Turn the lump a quarter turn and repeat. Do this until the dough is smooth and elastic - about five minutes or so.
After kneading, you need to let the dough rise. In a mixer, just cover the bowl and let it sit. If you're making it by hand, put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel.
Wait for about forty-five minutes, or until the dough is doubled.
Now comes the fun part! Divide the dough into forty-eight balls - they'll each be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter - and put two balls in each part of a muffin tin. Be sure to grease your tins!
If you don't have two muffin tins, you can make thirty-six balls and space them out on a greased cookie sheet (with sides).
Cover the rolls, and let the dough rise another forty-five minutes or so.
Bake in a 350° oven for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. As soon as you remove them from the oven, brush melted butter onto the top of each roll (optional, but makes the crust softer).
Of course, dinner rolls are only part of our Thanksgiving menu. I'm also making the turkey and dressing, and others are bringing potatoes, vegetables, salads, desserts... I'm getting hungry already!
We're expanding our table (and borrowing one from church) to fit our 15 to 20 family/extended family members. If this year is like other years, there will be some eating and a lot of visiting. And a lot of just sitting back and drinking in the love. :)
What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you hosting, or are you going to someone else's house? Or are you spending your day volunteering to help others have a wonderful holiday?
Let us know!
Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.