Making rolls ahead of time-a synopsis
As usual, I am trying not to be last minute but I am a little overwhelmed with planning. I have researched a little and have a rough synopsis in my head that I will put into writing about all the different methods for making rolls/loaves ahead of time.
I am bringing rolls for both Thanksgiving dinner and the day after Thanksgiving for sandwiches to my daughter's house, which is a long drive from here. My circumstances are that I can bake the weekend before this event. The baked goods (in whatever form) are packed in a cooler in the car for about 7 hours (long drive). The dinner rolls need to be ready Thursday at noon .There is a small kitchen at my destination but a full sized refrigerator,oven and freezer. Oven time is at a premium with coordinating the Thanksgiving meal.
Here are my options, as I see from research, for making rolls/loaves ahead of time:
1. Make dough evening before event.Cold retard overnight in large plastic container. Next morning, finish rise (about an hour),shape,proof,bake. Works well if at home or short transport distance away.
I can't do this method since I need to pack it in a cooler in the morning for a 7hr drive. I'm sure it will over-rise on drive.(I did this once before and it was way over-risen. I had to de-gas it mid-trip). Upon arrival I would shape,proof, bake. Makes for a late evening after a long drive.
2.Make dough ahead and freeze right after mixing. Defrost next day. Rise,shape,proof and bake. The trick is figuring out the defrosting time so they are ready when you need them.It might take practice.
For this trip, I prefer not to do this I don't have enough experience with how long it will take. The dough will defrost on the drive and then I can rise,shape,proof and bake at destination .But it is another long night after a long drive.
3. Make dough ahead ,do initial rise and shape and then freeze.Defrost,proof and bake the next day.This could work well for short transport time so the rolls stay pretty frozen.Again,tho,timing could be an issue and that comes with experience. If the rolls are allowed to defrost, they will start proofing. Could be a problem.
4. Make dough ahead, rise, shape, fully proof,then freeze. Suggested by Mark at BackHome Bakery for cinnamon rolls. Take frozen but fully proofed rolls from freezer directly to oven. This could work but I don't have a lot of room in my freezer for multiple pans of rolls to freeze at the fully proofed stage. They would work better for panned rolls (like the buttermilk cluster) but I'm making separate rolls.
5.Make dough ahead,rise,shape,proof, parbake and then freeze. Defrosts on drive but can be baked that evening or even the next am.The rolls are set so they won't degas if jostled and should be able to package compactly with enough protection that they don't get squished. I think this is my best option.
I know quality always suffers some when doing ahead but that is acceptable to me.Nothing beats fresh.
It always helps to get these thoughts down and organized,too.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!