Smarter Than Pancakes

Saturday, January 30, 2010

School Yeast Rolls

Filed under: breads,School Yeast Rolls — shaye3 @ 11:39 am

If you went to public school in my town in the Seventies and Eighties, you know that these yeast rolls are the stuff of legend.  The school cafeteria only served them on Chicken & Noodle day, and you could smell them from the minute you got to school in the morning.  By the time you got to lunch, you were completely starving for them.  They were like lunchroom gold—you could trade a yeast roll for almost anything—even chocolate milk!  (And let me tell you, Chocolate milk was a hot commodity for trading at my alma mater!)

This is not the best representation of these rolls.  I took this picture on a particularly harried day. I had a house full of family, and was trying to get the rolls to the table quickly.  I didn’t let them rise quite enough, and I didn’t bake them quite long enough. When you look at the picture, try to envision them higher, more rounded, and slightly darker–ok?

About thirteen years ago, one of the schools did a cookbook fundraiser.  I snapped one up JUST for the yeast roll recipe.  I’ve been making them for holidays ever since.  In the past few months, I’ve made them for Thanksgiving, December Bunco, Christmas day dinner, and another family gathering after Christmas.  There are rarely leftovers.

The original recipe makes 28 rolls.  I used to try to cut the recipe in half, but yeast breads don’t like it when you try to tamper with them.  I finally realized that I can make the full batch of dough, make all of the balls for rolls, then freeze them like Rhodes rolls.  Then I just pull out the number of frozen rolls I need, and defrost and bake them just like you would Rhodes rolls—only these are so much better!

School Yeast Rolls
Yield 28 rolls
WW Points 4 each  (Points are calculated without the extra butter brushed on top. Why do you think I only have them on holidays?)

1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup sugar  (6 Tbs. if that’s easier.)

4 Tbs dry milk

1 Tbs salt

675 grams all-purpose flour (Approx. 5 cups, but I make no promises for your results if you don’t weigh.)

1 3/4 cup warm water, divided (About 110°)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 lb. plus 1/2 Tbs. butter (No idea why it calls for 2 sticks and another 1/2 Tbs, but I do it.)

2 pkgs. dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp. if you use bulk yeast like I do)

  1. Combine the sugar, dry milk, salt and flour.
  2. Dissolve the yeast into 3/4 cup warm water.
  3. Add the egg and butter to the 1 cup water; mix well then mix that with the yeasty water.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed until the dough clears the bowl.  (I do this in my stand mixer.)
  5. Place the whole mess into a greased bowl and leave in a warm (80°) place about 20 minutes for the first rise.  (The dough will be a little sticky, but not bad. That’s where measuring the flour comes into play.  If you try to scoop, you really don’t know how much you’re really getting, and there’s no way of guessing how stiff or sticky your dough will be.)
  6. Pinch into rolls, and place in a greased baking pan.  (I should probably just admit that I am anal enough that I actually weigh the entire ball of dough, divide that by 28, then weigh each dough ball to make sure they’re all the same size.  Trust me when I say that you don’t have to–they’ll be just fine.)
  7. Let rise in a warm place until double in size.  (I usually brush melted butter on them before I leave them for the second rise.  It isn’t called for in the recipe, but man is it good that way.)
  8. Bake at 350° or 375° for 30-40 minutes, or until they’re golden brown on top. (That’s one thing I like about this recipe.  You can throw them in the oven with other things that are baking, and you won’t have to worry about the temp not being right.  When I bake them alone, I use 350°.)
  9. If you don’t want to bake all of the rolls that day, follow the directions through step six where you pinch the dough into rolls.  Instead of putting them in a greased pan, put them on a sheet of wax paper in the freezer, not touching each other, until they’re frozen solid.  (Try to remember to go back and put them in a freezer container or bag as soon as they’re frozen.  They’ll freezer burn pretty quickly if you leave them exposed in the freezer.)
  10. To bake from frozen, put them in a greased pan and cover with sprayed plastic wrap.  Let them rise in a warm place for 3-4 hours, or until doubled in size.  (My cousin Jana puts the pan on a heating pad set on low, and they rise considerably faster.) After they’ve risen, bake like normal.

So the rolls and the cake are the two recipes that people have been *reminding* me to post.  Now that they’re out of the way, I should let you know that I started doing Weight Watchers again earlier this month.  January 9th, to be exact.  That was my half birthday–which means I have exactly six months until I hit a milestone birthday.  If you’ve ever needed motivation to stick to a diet, a looming milestone birthday is a good one.  It’s been twenty days, and I haven’t cheated even once!  We also got a Wii Fit for Christmas, so I’ve been trying really hard to exercise, too.  So far, I’ve dropped ten pounds; but I’m not going to post “before” and “after” pictures until I look a lot less like the “befores.”

I’ve been trying all kinds of really good recipes over the past few weeks.  They all happen to be healthy and low calorie, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fabulous.

I’ve also been making a lot more vegan recipes.  I never knew that vegan recipes could be so delicious and surprisingly filling!  I’ve taken pictures of all of the good ones, and I’ll be posting them in the very near future.  And I really mean it, this time!  I’m typing several of them out right now, and then I’ll just publish them every few days for a while.


Blog at