I love County fairs. I was a 4-H member from grade school until my first year in college and my whole year revolved around projects that culminated during fair week. Rides, fair food, grandstand shows, the Women’s club exhibits, the 4-H exhibits and the animals — I love the smells, the game barkers, the music coming from the rides and especially watching people.
One year was more special than most. With lots of coaching from my mom, I made my mother and grandmother’s traditional holiday rolls and entered them in the County 4-H Fair. They won ”Best in Show” in the yeast bread category. Unfortunately, I had to freeze the rolls before the State fair, and because I used real butter and no preservatives, they went rancid. I didn’t fare very well at the state fair. But, I’ll always have the memories of the time in the kitchen with my mom. It must have meant something to her too. She still has my Best of Show ribbon from the County Fair up in her attic.
Anyway, after smelling all the yeasty fritters and fried dough at the fair, I became inspired. Last night I dug out my tattered original handwritten recipe. I scalded. I mixed and I kneaded. I left the dough in a covered bowl overnight. This morning I shaped and set the almost finished rolls out in the warmest part of the kitchen to rise.
Buster, my border collie mix, watched.
When I came back into the kitchen later to check on my rolls, the towel that had been covering the rolls was on the floor. A roll was missing. Buster was innocently sleeping on the rug in front of the stove.
He didn’t so much as blink when he saw me checking the rolls to see if any of those remaining were “obviously” licked or sniffed.
Here’s my recipe…
“Best in Show” Dinner Rolls
- Warm 1/4 lb. butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup milk until lukewarm (scald milk, turn heat off, let butter melt then add sugar)
- Mix yeast in lukewarm 1/2 cup of water.
- Beat 3 eggs.
- Mix milk and eggs and add yeast.
- Gradually add 5 cups flour and 1 tsp. salt.
- Let rise overnight in a covered bowl.
- In the morning knead a little. Shape your rolls. Let rise until evening.
- Bake at 350-375 until golden brown.
These are foolproof and delicious. The smell of yeast rising always reminds me of holiday times when I was a child. I’m trying to create the same kind of memories for my grandchildren. I hope you enjoy the rolls.
NOTE: If Buster had managed to snatch more rolls, it could have been fatal. According to this article, a dog’s stomach is a nice warm, moist environment, so, unbaked dough can expand to many times its size when ingested. Next time you make bread, rolls, doughnuts or anything with yeast, keep in mind any four-legged family members, who might be watching for a good “opportunity”. Please don’t leave “people” food out the way I did.