I baked my first really great batch of dinner rolls, actually individual breads big enough to use for sandwiches, by using a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. It's ironic that it took me 50 years to find a recipe that I could manage to perfection.
The cookbook came from Jim Monogioudis for our 50th wedding anniversary last year.
The cookbook notes that mastering the art of bread baking is rewarding and offers tips that should help in successfully turning out a fluffy and aromatic golden loaf of bread or rolls.
Hints included follow:
Here is the recipe I used for dinner rolls, although I used only 3 tablespoons of sugar in the recipe. We don't like them with all that sugar.
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, margarine or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups flour and the yeast. In a small saucepan, heat milk, sugar, butter and salt just until warm and butter almost melts, 120 to 130 degrees. Add to flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes total. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Turn to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour. Punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape dough into 24 balls or desired roll shapes and place on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes for individual rolls or about 20 minutes for pan rolls, until golden brown. Immediately remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
Note: To make ahead, shape into 24 balls and place in prepared baking pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, leaving enough room for rolls to rise. Chill for 2 to 4 hours. Uncover and let rolls stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake as directed.
This is listed as low-fat bread and uses cracked wheat, whole wheat flour, cornmeal and rolled oats. You would pay more than $3 for such a loaf of bread in a store.
Mixed Grain Bread
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup cracked wheat
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour flour and yeast; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 3/4 cup water, cracked wheat, cornmeal, brown sugar, oil and salt. Heat and stir over medium-low heat just until warm, 120 to 130 degrees. Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup rolled oats and as much remaining flour as possible. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is almost smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes total. Shape dough into a ball. Place in lightly greased bowl. Turn once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour. Punch down and turn onto a lightly floured surface, Divide in half. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans. Shape each dough half into a loaf by patting or folding. Place shaped dough halves in prepared pans. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush loaf tops with additional water and sprinkle with additional rolled oats. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until it sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Serve within two days or freeze for longer storage.
Pizza dough can be made with a simplified yeast dough. This recipe makes two thin-crust pizzas.
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water, 120 to 130 degrees
2 tablespoons cooking oil or olive oil
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups flour, yeast and salt. Add warm water and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as possible. Knead of 6 to 8 minutes. Divide in half and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease two 12-inch pizza pans or large baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll into a 13-inch circle. Transfer dough to prepared pans. Build up edges slightly; prick dough with a fork. Do not let rise. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Spread with pizza sauce and add desired toppings. Bake about 10 minutes more until bubbly. Cut each pizza into eight wedges.
(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline. com.)