The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rolls For Thanksgiving. Crusty Vs. Buttey

John Smith's picture
John Smith

Rolls For Thanksgiving. Crusty Vs. Buttey

Hello All,

I have been enlisted to make the bread/rolls for our Thanksgiving feast this year. No problem there. I look forward to it. But my In-laws are asking for a recipe I once made, (handed down by my aunt) and quite honestly it is a pain.  It goes like this:

3 C hot water
2 Sticks butter
1 1/2 C sugar
6 eggs beaten
1 1/2 t salt
2/3 C powdered milk

Yeast combo
3 T yeast 1/4 C sugar 3/4 C lukewarm water

10 C flour
Now for the kicker.  After all this you roll it out, smother it with another stick of melted butter and roll it up. They are like cinnamon rolls without the fun cinnamon or sugar.
The recipe says to bake at 350 for 15 min. This part always drove me crazy because if you don't place the rolls just right, they run into each other and you end up with a doughy mass in the middle of the pan.  Even if you succeed, the roll is huge, heavy, slippery with butter (i like butter. I even love butter. but come on!)

Personally I would like  a nice simple crusty roll. Tasty and soft on the inside. good for splitting in half and stacking with turkey or the antipast.  But finding a recipe that really crackles has been hard in and of its self. Reinhart's white bread rolls are OK as far as they go....
but they are white bread. Any ideas for my ideal roll (or even how to make the above gut bombs palatable to anyone who likes a little bread with their butter) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! and have a happy Thanksgiving!

Judon's picture

These are fom Cook's Illustrated. I've made them twice now and they are great. Crusty with a nice open crumb.
They have a video online showing the technique. I have pictures but they're on my main PC which is down right now.

Rustic Dinner Rolls
Makes 16 rolls.
Published November 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

Because this dough is sticky, keep your hands well floured when handling it. Use a spray bottle to mist the rolls with water. The rolls will keep for up to 2 days at room temperature stored in a zipper-lock bag. To re-crisp the crust, place the rolls in a 450-degree oven 6 to 8 minutes. The rolls will keep frozen for several months wrapped in foil and placed in a large zipper-lock bag. Thaw the rolls at room temperature and re-crisp using the instructions above.

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon water (12 1/2 ounces), room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons honey
3 cups plus 1 tablespoon bread flour (16 1/2 ounces), plus extra for forming rolls
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (about 1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

1. Whisk water, yeast, and honey in bowl of stand mixer until well combined, making sure no honey sticks to bottom of bowl. Add flours and mix on low speed with dough hook until cohesive dough is formed, about 3 minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.

2. Remove plastic wrap and evenly sprinkle salt over dough. Knead on low speed (speed 2 on KitchenAid) 5 minutes. (If dough creeps up attachment, stop mixer and scrape down using well-floured hands or greased spatula.) Increase speed to medium and continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 minute. If dough is very sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour and continue mixing 1 minute. Lightly spray 2-quart bowl with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Fold dough over itself; rotate bowl quarter turn and fold again. Rotate bowl again and fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

4. Transfer dough to floured work surface, sprinkle top with more flour. Using bench scraper, cut dough in half and gently stretch each half into 16-inch cylinders. Divide each cylinder into quarters, then each quarter into 2 pieces (you should have 16 pieces total), and dust top of each piece with more flour. With floured hands, gently pick up each piece and roll in palms to coat with flour, shaking off excess, and place in prepared cake pan. Arrange 8 dough pieces in each cake pan, placing one piece in middle and others around it, with long side of each piece running from center of pan to edge and making sure cut-side faces up. Loosely cover cake pans with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes (dough is ready when it springs back slowly when pressed lightly with finger). Thirty minutes before baking, adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.

5. Remove plastic wrap from cake pans, spray rolls lightly with water, and place in oven. Bake 10 minutes until tops of rolls are brown; remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees; using kitchen towels or oven mitts, invert rolls from both cake pans onto rimmed baking sheet. When rolls are cool enough to handle, turn right-side up, pull apart, and space evenly on baking sheet. Continue to bake until rolls develop deep golden brown crust and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 10 to 15 minutes; rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Transfer rolls to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.


Atropine's picture

Well, I prefer a buttery roll (the southern in me, I guess). However, I think two things are at play here: the inlaws request vs what to cook.

Honestly, if my inlaws requested a specific roll for Thanksgiving, I would try to comply.

But I would also make a second roll in case the first turned into dough globs AND because I like to have extra plus back ups.

I might try using 1/2 stick of butter for smearing...or better yet (or butter yet? get it? I crack myself up), I would bake the rolls without butter and then SLATHER them with butter on the tops when they are just slightly cooled. OH! I might even forego the butter in the dough (except about 2-3 T for texture), smear the butter like the cinnamon rolls, bake, then add a half stick of butter all over the top.

Those are a LOT of rolls--10 cups of flour? That actually does not make the amount of butter seem too bad when I think of how many rolls that would make. I use 1 stick of butter for 1 pan of biscuits (2.5 cups flour).

Anyway, I would make both y'all happy and make the rolls their way and then make a crusty roll. Leftover bread would not be a bad thing :-).

nbicomputers's picture

that is a lot of butter
i posted a formula for soft knot rolls
that uses only about 1 oz of batter or shortening per pound of flour. these are a soft crust type of roll but can be made into butter flake rolls with a little work
rather than make knots you would roll the dough into a rectangle shape then brush on melted butter cut the dough in half and place the halfs on top of each other making two layers then brush on more butter and cut and stack again making 4 layers and one more time making 8 layers total role out again lightly to make a piecs that is about two inchs thick cut the dough into pieces that could fit in a buttered muffen tin and places the pieces so that you can see the layers facing up.
kind of like looking at a book on its side proof and bake at 350 till light brown.
they will be soft and buttery and the layers will pull apart.

John Smith's picture
John Smith

Im a sucker for Cooks Illustrated so I will definitly be making that recipe.

Atropine - there is much truth in what you say, I will seriously consider appeasing the inlaws.

nbicomputers - I will also try to scale back the butter. Never even crossed my mind, Honestly I try to forget the recipe.

It is a LOT of flour. I always half the recipe (sometimes fourth) but I didn't take that into account when i posted the recipe. I just cut and pasted.
Thanks for all the great tips you guys!