I love winter soups! The ones filled with savory meats, tons of veggies, and hardy grains like barley and quinoa. The only thing better than a warm filling soup is the soft, buttery roll that is used to sop up the last of the broth at the bottom of the bowl. Soup is a great winter food and even though TN is experiencing a heat wave of 70 degrees in January, I can image it’s cold and that I need a bowl of soup and buttery roll.
I have been making bread since I was young. You can imagine with 12 people in the house that bread was a staple and much more economical to have made than try to purchase. Bread making was an all day process and usually involved a bowl large enough to sled in. My old bread recipe produced a hardy bread worthy of dipping but I was looking for something a bit softer. There is a fine line between a bread that chips a tooth, and bread that doesn’t wilt away in soup with one small dunk and I think my sister Deidre may have found it. Courtesy of her friend JoAnn!
Now Deidre lives in a place where winter soup is not only good but necessary for survival; North Dakota. Not sure if you have seen the weather for ND but snow is quite abundant there this winter. SO much so that her and her four kids are often snowed in for 3 or 4 days at a time. Her lovely roll recipe is a perfect accompaniment to a meaty beef stew or cheesy potato soup. I have tweaked the recipe, ever so slightly, just to make it a little smaller for those of us who are not feeding 4 children, a hungry husband and any other adult in the area who needs a fine meal.
2 packages of instant dry yeast
2/3 cup of powdered milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt
6-8 cups of flour
Step One: Mix the water and powdered milk together in a bowl. The water should be room temperature or slightly warmer but not hot. Hot water will kill your yeast in step 3.
Step Two: Add in the sugar and mix until dissolved.
Step Three: Add in the yeast. Whisk till just combined and then set aside.
Step Four: In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and salt.
Step Five: Add the egg mixture to the milk and yeast mixture.
Step Six: Add flour. You want to do this one cup at a time. The dough will take 6 to 8 cups of flour depending on where you live, the size of your eggs and even how heavy handed you may have been with the water or oil. Start by stirring in one or two cups with a whisk.
Then by the time you get to cup three or four you may have to use a wooden spoon or spatula.
Lastly when adding the flour, it may become too hard to stir in the bowl and that is when you dump it on the counter and knead the last couple of cups in by hand. Note: I wear food safe gloves to make it easier to get the dough off my fingers but they are not necessary.
Step Seven: Once your dough has come together in one big ball, then you will begin kneading the dough until it becomes a smooth ball and is no longer sticky. Here is a short video on how to knead bread. Notice that I add a little flour as needed and I use a bench scraper to incorporate the sticky bits.
Step Eight: Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, place a towel over it and place it in a warm spot to proof or double in size. This usually takes about an hour.
Step Nine: Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it five or six times. Shape it back into a large bowl and allow to proof one more time. The dough should double in size.
Step Ten: Shape the dough into small balls (around 2 ounces each, I weighed mine but you don’t have to). Place on a greased cookie sheet about an inch or two apart.
Step Eleven: Allow to proof for 30 minutes and then bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and they spring back at you when you push down on the tops.
Step Twelve: Butter the tops and bottoms of the rolls and allow to cool before eating… if you can!
This recipe makes about 4 dozens rolls. They freeze well for 30-60 days if you can get them in the freezer.
One final thought… making bread takes a little time and some effort but you will never know a more rewarding and satisfying task. Your house smells of butter and yeast and you get to sink your teeth into a soft, eggy roll slathered with just the right amount of melted butter and perhaps your favorite jam. As your taste buds dance with delight and your stomach waits with anticipation, you get the overwhelming sense of accomplishment. YOU MADE THIS! I believe even your oven is happier after it has done its part making the wonderful rolls.
Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Talk to you soon!