Thanksgiving gives permission to let our inner master chef blossom by making more elaborate things to eat, including home-baked breads and desserts.
Here's a recipe for delicious rolls that are a cut above the store-bought variety and just as convenient because they can be mixed a day ahead by refrigerating the dough at several stages.
- 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups water at room temperature
Blend the dry ingredients well in a large bowl (or stand mixer bowl), form a well in the middle of them and add water, stirring to form a sticky, cohesive dough.
Turn dough on to well-floured surface. Using pastry scraper, turn dough over several times, then, with floured hands, knead dough for 2 to 3 minutes until it forms a ball.
Mix at lowest speed with dough hook for 2 minutes, then increase speed to medium (No. 2 on KitchenAid) and knead for 5 minutes, adding flour if necessary to form a ball.
Coat a large bowl with spray oil, drop in dough and spray top with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. In 30 minutes, using wet hands, gently turn the dough over several times in the bowl to encourage yeast, then spray with oil, re-cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
Spray 2 9-inch cake pans with oil. Place cold dough on well-floured surface and cut into 2 equal pieces with wet pastry scraper. Roll each piece into a rough 16-inch cylinder, then cut each 1 into quarters. Cut each quarter in half to make 16 pieces.
Roll each piece in flour, then place 1 in middle of cake pan and circle it with 7 pieces. Repeat for other pan. Spray tops of rolls and cover with plastic wrap. They can be refrigerated at this point or allowed to rise to fill the pan -- 2 to 4 hours depending on temperature of room. Half hour before baking, heat oven with rack in middle to 500 degrees. When hot, remove wrap from pans and put rolls in oven. After 10 minutes, lower temperature to 350 degrees, rotate pans for even browning, and bake 15 minutes more.
Remove rolls from pans and allow to cool 1 hour on rack. Break up the rolls and serve.
Remaining rolls can be reheated in 400-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Makes 16 rolls.
Bob Hoover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1634.