Thanksgiving means one thing above all others, rolls. Not just any old rolls, fresh homemade rolls hot from the oven and slathered in real butter. Yes, it is very important to be gracious and thankful for family and friends, as well as other good fortunes. Sincere thanks are often not given for the important aspect s of life and Thanksgiving is no exception.
Home baking tops the list for Thanksgiving traditions with rolls being a star player. A Thanksgiving meal would be incomplete without homemade rolls. Hearty Thanksgiving dishes are complimented by the contrast of light-as-a-feather white rolls. Fresh, airy baked good staples are best made at home.
For this passionate foodie, gourmet cook type, true-heartfelt blessings begin at the table. A truly thankful feeling comes together in rolls more than anything else. Today’s harried schedules leave precious little time for the good, old-fashioned mainstays included in family holidays like Thanksgiving.
Aside from a clear block of time, the hardest part of undertaking rolls or any home baking activity is finding the ingredients and equipment needed. Just where is the bread flour anyway?
Kitchen chaos ensues, soon to be followed by basement chaos. A thorough search of all pantry nooks and crannies reviled a diverse selection of nine varieties of flour, including:
- All-purpose flour, unbleached, King Arthur
- Self-rising flour, best, Pillsbury
- Self-rising flour, Gold Medal Flour
- White whole wheat flour, unbleached, King Arthur
- Whole wheat flour, stone-ground, 100 percent natural, North Dakota Mill (split in two different containers)
- Whole wheat graham flour, Bob’s Red Mill
- Whole wheat pastry flour, 100 percent stone ground, Bob’s Red Mill
- Garbanzo bean flour, Stone ground, Bob’s Red Mill
- Semolina flour, No. 1 durum wheat, Bob’s Red Mill
All this but no bread flour. As the above evidence precludes, keeping a well-stocked pantry is easy, keeping a perfectly stocked kitchen is impossible.
Does the absence of one key ingredient like bread flour warrant a trip to the grocery store? Is the recipe doomed to catastrophic failure? In theory yes, it is best to follow a recipe to the letter to avoid unnecessary surprises. In reality, a trip to a busy grocery store in the shadows of Southdale Mall during the extra busy Christmas shopping season in pursuit of one forgotten item seems, well, a little over the top.
Let the substitutes begin.
Any die-hard, strict cook or results-driven, food company like King Arthur Flour would cringe at the thought of using all-purpose flour instead of bread flour for baking. In a pinch, given the above list of found flours, it was the most logical choice. What about throwing in a little s Lora Brody all natural bread dough enhancer into the all-purpose flour for that added gluten goodness? The truth will come out during the kneading and baking process. Time will tell . . .
Success. Inspiration and luck prevailed, the southern feather rolls turned out light and luscious.
Give these home-baked tasty rolls a try; chances are they will come through for you too, even if you follow the recipe.
Light airy rolls make the perfect accompaniment to a heavy Thanksgiving meal. This adapted recipe comes for Marjie Lambert’s New Bread Machine Book.
1 ¼ cups whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
5 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 ¼ cups bread flour
2 ½ teaspoons bread machine yeast
Place liquid ingredients in bread pan in bread machine. Add sugar and salt to center of liquid mixture. Top with flour and make a shallow well area the size of a quarter for yeast. Carefully place yeast in well area. Set bread maker for dough cycle, cover the pan with a clean dish towel then with lid and press start. Wait for dough cycle to finish and turn off bread maker. Let dough rise in the bread machine for 1 1/2 hours or until double. Punch down.
Generously grease a 13 x 9 x 2.25 baking pan with butter. (A Wearever AirBake Insulated Bakewear pan works works well.) Place dough in center of greased pan. Break off pieces of dough in even bits, about the size of a jumbo egg. Roll each bit of dough in your hands to smooth out before placing in neat rows of four in the pan. Set pan in a warm but not hot place to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls until the tops start to turn golden brown, about 20 or 25 minutes. Serve hot with plenty of real butter.
Makes 16 medium-sized rolls.For leftovers, reheat rolls in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes and serve warm.