pillows from heaven
So I would say that this past weekend was pretty successful food-wise. My pumpkin pies were a hit. Everyone loved my pot roast I made the day after Thanksgiving. And my aunt tried a leftover piece of chocolate stout cake and it brought tears to her eyes because it was so good. Really.
And these rolls. Oh these lovely little rolls.
I first had these rolls last Thanksgiving, when Gerrit’s aunt brought them to dinner and oh my goodness I wish that bread basket had been endless. I’m not sure exactly how many I ate, but I know it was as many as possible (typically my Thanksgiving plate is identical to that of a three year old: turkey, mashed potatoes, bread).
So I asked for the recipe, ready to make them for my family this year, but prepared to be all disappointed because I was just sure I wouldn’t be able to do them right, that I would kill the yeast by accident, or they wouldn’t rise right, or, because I was making them the day before and then reheating them, they wouldn’t taste right and would start to have that old dry bread taste.
But oh my goodness were they delicious. They are light and fluffy, like I believe all good yeast rolls should be, but they are sweeter than standard yeast rolls with a delicate texture and flavor. They really are like putting little pillows from heaven in your mouth and in my personal opinion I believe they have the ability to outshine your main course (as in don’t just save them for Thanksgiving next year). Or, perhaps better, they can become a part of your main course by making them into sliders or little turkey sandwiches.
A couple of notes: these rolls come from a super delicate (and super sticky) dough. So use lots of flour when you work with them, and be extremely careful not to overwork them. I think I overworked some of my leftover dough trying to use it all, and the ones that got flattened more than once or twice did not rise nearly as well as the others. So be gentle with you dough and they should come out wonderfully.
Pillow from Heaven (Yeast Rolls)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Wait Time: 5 hours
Bake Time: 8 minutes
Makes about 2 dozen
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/8 cup warm water
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir and then let stand for about 5 minutes, until yeast is completely dissolved.
2. Meanwhile, warm milk in a small saucepan. Heat until bubbles begin to form around the sides of the pan, stirring often. Add butter and allow butter to melt in the milk, stirring often. Once butter is melted, pour the mixture into a large bowl.
3. In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly. Temper eggs in to the butter/milk mixture (add a spoonful or two of the butter/milk mixture to the eggs, and then add the egg mixture back into the butter and milk).*
4. Stir in yeast mixture.
5. Add flour, sugar, and salt, stirring it in with a wooden spoon until mixture is uniform and sticky.
6. Cover bowl with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, 2-3 hours.
7. Punch down dough (use your wooden spoon because the dough is very sticky) and dump dough out onto a liberally floured board. Flour the top of the dough and roll out until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie or biscuit cutters to cut out the rolls and then place rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet.**
8. Cover rolls and allow to rise, about 2 hours.
9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake rolls for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
*I’m not sure how necessary tempering is here (depends on how hot your milk and butter are), but I say better safe than sorry when it comes to ending up with scrambled eggs.
**This is where you need to be careful not to overwork your dough. If you keep gathering your scraps and cutting new rolls, they aren’t going to rise as well.