I don't know about you, but one of my favorite parts of the holidays is the food. Not just the yummy desserts (well hello there, Christmas cookies...) but all the food in general: mashed potatoes, Mom's green bean casserole, turkeys and hams, all of it! My favorites are usually the ones high in carbs--which is definitely no bueno for my waistline. But here's my excuse: if it's only one small period each year, then it's okay to indulge a little, right? :)
Today's project is one of my favorite parts of the meal--the rolls! I know, I know...with all the other delicious food, why in the world do I go for the rolls? Maybe it's the carbs, or the fact, that it's a total comfort food for me, or maybe it's just because I can't resist a warm roll or piece of bread straight out of the oven. But either way, I look forward to a warm gooey piece at the beginning of each meal. So here's one of my favorite recipes. I do mine in the breadmaker because I have no patience for the kneading and rising, but this can be done the traditional way, too.
First, the ingredients:
1 1/4c of milk
1 1/2tsp of salt
1/4c warm water
4 1/2c bread flour
1 packet (or 2 1/4tsp) active dry yeast
1 egg (not shown)
Whether you're doing this in a breadmaker or not, the first step is to make our warm milk mixture. Over medium heat, warm your milk until it gets a skin on the top that wrinkles when you wiggle the pan. Don't boil the milk, though!! Add the butter, sugar, and salt, turn off the heat, and stir until it's all dissolved.
Set it aside until it's cooled to lukewarm.
Breadmaker: Put the warm water and lukewarm milk mixture in the bottom of your breadmaker inner chamber, then add all of the flour, and finally put the yeast on top. Set your breadmaker to the DOUGH setting (you don't want to bake it in the breadmaker, just let it mix, knead, and rise in there)
Traditional: Combine lukewarm milk mix and warm water in a large mixing bowl and stir in about 4 cups of the flour to begin your dough. Put the remaining flour on the board and knead it into the dough. You should knead until the dough looks like satin--if it's a little too sticky, you can knead more flour into the dough about 1Tbl at a time, but don't add too much flour or your dough will break and not stick to itself. When it's ready, put back in the mixing bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place (I like to use the stovetop oven vent while it preheats) until it doubles--usually 45-50 minutes.
Turn out onto floured countertop. If you are doing this in a breadmaker, do not punch the dough down. If you are doing it traditionally, punch the dough down slightly, but not so that it's flat.
One recipe will make about 20 rolls, so divide your dough into 20 pieces. I do this by cutting the main dough ball in half, then halving each section until I have 20 equal-sized pieces.
Take each piece and roll until each one is about a 7 inch snake. Take each snake and tie a knot in the middle of the dough, then fold the extra ends over itself and tie in a second not. Place each dough knot in a lightly greased muffin tin cup.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350*, then brush the top of each with an eggwash (1 egg and about 2Tbls of water whisked together) and bake for another 10-12 minutes. The tops should be shiny, golden yellow/brown.
These rolls are slightly sweet and very dense, but so delicious! They go great with my homemade apple butter :) Hope these bring a new flavor to your holiday meals and that your family enjoys them (carb-load and all! haha)