Baking Homemade Rolls for the Holidays

| 12/12/2014 10:42:00 AM

Holli HensleeI love this time of year, with the holidays coming up and the cooler, OK colder, weather starting. This is the time of year when I love to bake. The wonderful smells that fill my house and the warmth from the stove evokes memories of my childhood. I have fond memories of making candy, pies and other goodies with my mom and grandma. I was so fortunate that they both saw the importance of passing on cooking skills as well as family recipes to me and my sisters. This is a tradition that I am continuing with my children.

As long as I can remember, my mom has always made homemade rolls for our family gatherings. This wasn’t just for holidays, but anytime the family got together for one of our big meals. I love her homemade rolls, and as soon as I was old enough, I wanted her to teach me how to make them. At first all she would let me do was roll the dough into balls. As I got older, she let me mix the ingredients, and then finally she entrusted me with the full recipe. Now, I am the maker of the homemade rolls for our family gatherings, and I want to share our recipe with you.

I used to be intimidated by baking yeast bread. I was so scared that I would kill the yeast, or maybe it wouldn’t activate at all. There is a science to the process, but once I relaxed and stopped worrying about it, it became easy. Now I can say that yeast bread is my favorite thing to make. I make white bread, wheat bread, hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls, etc. But the easiest of these are the dinner rolls. I think it is because I make the dough the night before and put it in the fridge for the first rising. It makes the rest of the process go by quickly. The full recipe is repeated below.

To begin dissolve 2 packages yeast, or 1  1/2 tablespoons yeast, in 2 cups warm water (105-115 F). After the yeast has dissolved, add 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix well.

Add 3 cups flour, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup melted shortening. (Note: My mother always used butter-flavored shortening when she makes them. I have done this, but I have also tried using butter, lard and coconut oil. My favorite is the butter.)

Beat well then add 3 more cups flour, mix well and let stand at least 2 hours, or overnight in the fridge. 

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