Growing up, I was always one of the pickiest kids when it came to food. My mom couldn’t trust that I would eat the school lunch, so more often than not I went to school with a packed lunch. Along with the usual kid aversion to vegetables, I also shunned peanut butter, most types of chips except plain potato, and most meats. Yeah. I was that kid. Even moving into middle school, when I finally realized how amazing peanut butter was, I played it safe and brought my lunch nearly every day. One of the only things that could tempt me was the rolls. Though it may seem crazy, our school system had the best rolls I’ve ever tasted (sorry grandma). They were fluffy with a wonderful flavor and oh so soft, verging on slightly doughy. The rolls from this recipe are very close to those I had at school. As a bonus, they only take one hour to make!
One hour is a slight fib. The rolls usually take me closer to one hour fifteen minutes, but I also tend to be off in my own little world in the kitchen taking my time, so that may just be me. I honestly think they could be done in an hour. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical the first time I made them. I figured rolls required a longer process to come out high quality, but oh boy was I wrong. These are now my go-to, and I make them pretty frequently. They also freeze really well, making it easy to quickly pull a few out to have with dinner. This has been especially wonderful after a late shift at work or a long day at school. They can simply be heated in the microwave for a minute or so, and they taste almost like they just came out of the oven.
4 – 4¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. rapid rise yeast
½ Tbsp. salt
¾ cup water
2/3 cup milk
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 slices
½ Tbsp. lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 180 ºF. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 4 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
2. Combine water, milk, and butter and heat in microwave until butter is partially melted and mixture reaches 115 ºF, about 1 minute 15 seconds. Pour into dry mixture along with the lemon juice and mix until combined. Set mixer with a hook attachment and knead dough about 5 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary (dough should be elastic and lightly sticky but manageable). Cover bowl and let rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
3. Drop dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into an evenly level square, about 9 by 9-inches. Cut into 16 equal portions. Shape dough into 15 balls, using excess dough from the 16th portion to add to smaller rounds as needed. Place shaped dough portions into prepared baking dish.
4. Dampen hands with water and brush tops of dough with the water so the rolls don’t dry while rising in the oven. Transfer to oven and turn oven off. Allow rolls to rise 20 minutes (don’t open oven door).
5. Remove rolls from oven and let rest on the stovetop while you preheat the oven to 375 ºF. Bake in preheated oven 14 – 16 minutes until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and run the top of a stick of butter along tops of rolls to lightly coat. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container.
Note: Stored rolls taste best rewarmed in microwave for a few seconds.
Yield: 15 rolls
(Recipe from Cooking Classy)