Unlike many recipes I’ve done so far, bread from scratch is a labour of love rather than “same as from a box, just a minute longer.” So why should you bother making your own? Because, if there’s anything more awesome than the smell and taste of fresh-baked bread, I have yet to encounter it.
I’m still working on perfecting loaf bread without a bread machine, but rolls are EASY as long as you know how to treat your yeast right. Don’t be too intimidated to try making rolls. You’ll be happy you did.
This is a recipe I’ve been making for years. They keep fresh for about 4-5 days and they freeze well too. If you want to make a bunch and save them for later, freeze them individually on a cookie sheet after baking them, and then transfer them to a ziplock bag or a large Tupperware tub.
Unfortunately, because this recipe predates my son, it also predates my dairy free cooking. I haven’t yet tried to convert this one, so until I do, fair warning that a dairy free version hasn’t been bake and taste tested yet. I will probably give it a try using Earth Balance shortening or the buttery flavor sticks in the place of the butter.
- 1/2 cup warm water (approx. 110F/45c)
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp (or 1 package) active dry yeast + 1 tsp sugar for feeding
- Additional butter, melted, for topping
Heat the milk on medium-low heat in a saucepan with sugar and butter until nearly boiling. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool to warm.
While the milk is cooling, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with the 1 tsp of sugar. Cover with a cloth and let sit for about 20 minutes to activate. If you do not see foamy bubbles in your mixture in 10 minutes, your yeast culture is no good. Double check that your water is not too hot, and if not, buy new yeast.
After yeast has had a chance to proof, and the milk has cooled to a point where it is not too hot for the yeast, mix the yeast mixture and milk mixture together in a large bowl with the egg. Add flour gradually, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Kneed for about 8 minutes (a short video here if you’ve never kneaded dough by hand).
Return the bread to a bowl. Cover with a dishtowel, and place in a warm area to rise until doubled, about an hour. Punch the dough down, return to a floured surface, and roll out. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and round them by pinching the edges and rolling each piece until you’ve got a nice ball-shape. Place balls in a large and well-greased pyrex dish or baking tin and cover, leaving to rise until doubled again. Bake at 375F for 12-15 minutes, until the top is golden-browned. Brush butter over the tops of the baked rolls.
Protips: if you have difficulties with dough sticking to counter, try kneading on a non-stick cookie sheet (cleanup is easier too). Pyrex transfers heat more efficiently than metal, so you may wish to reduce heat on your oven by 25F to cook in Pyrex.