If you follow me on instagram you know I just invested in a Kitchenaid stand mixer. I want to sharpen my domestic goddessing skills, but know that if I don’t have the right tools, or if things seem to hard, I’ll quickly abandon the idea.
Yes, I’m a baby.
Anyway, I wanted to kick off my new baking leaf with a recipe laced with personal nostalgia. I was a precocious child, and my mother would likely attest that getting me to do anything in the kitchen while I was growing up was a next-to-impossible task. So, I didn’t do a lot of baking in my younger years, but one consistent baking activity was making rolls with grandma at the family farm in Canada. (While taking breaks from the kitten-hunting that consumed 80% of our non-sleeping hours while visiting.) These rolls were yeasty and delicious, and I used to sneak as many into my hungry little mouth as humanly possible. So… I lucked into the recipe recently, and that’s where I decided to start.
For those of you who aren’t interested the recounting of my struggles (below), here’s the recipe, in case you are interested in heaven for your taste buds.
Grandma Nigh’s Dinner Rolls
- 1 tbsp dry yeast, dissolved into one cup of warm water (in which 1 tsp sugar has been stirred)
- 2 more cups of warm water (not boiling or too hot)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 beaten eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 8-9 cups of flour (dough should not be sticky after mixed)
- Mix all ingredients and knead well. Let rise in a warm place. Punch down with fist and then let rise again. (Each rising will probably take one hour to double in size.)
- After the second rising, form dough into buns and allow to rise again.
- Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. (Baking sheet should be greased.)
- Turn baked rolls onto a cooling rack to cool before storing in an airtight container.
Easy enough, right? Other than the hassle of letting these babies rise for hours?
Meh. I managed to fumble my way through with the grace of an elephant in a miniatures shop.
I started off in a very organized fashion – dolling out the proper quantities of ingredients into individual little mixing bowls so that when the time for the magic to begin came – I would have everything at the ready. That all went pretty well.
Once figuring out the dough hook attachment was the proper tool for the bread DOUGH (it took me entirely too long to figure it out), me and Mildred (my name for my new gadget) got to mixin’. The dough just kept. being. sticky! I’d already added the 9 cups of flour, and my recipe instructions told me the dough should NOT be sticky. So, I just kept adding little bits. More and more. Flour and dough bits were EVERYWHERE at this point. Hopefully as I continue to get better at this baking thing I might manage to avoid things like, I don’t know, dough in my eyeball.
With such sticky dough (because at some point I figured I needed to stop with the flour lest I inadvertently DOUBLE the quantity called for), it was quite a task to get the dough from the bowl and onto a sheet. I did it once – decided that the dough was just too dang sticky, loaded it all back in the mixer, and tried again.
**Mix mix mix with more flour.**
**Stare at the sticky dough in the bowl, perplexed.**
**Claw out the dough, and dump on a baking sheet for the first “rise.”**
It helped that an hour later I got to punch the freaking thing. The recipe called for it, but I might have done it anyway.
(By the way, if you ARE reading this to get some helpful tips, I’ll offer them where I can. Apparently yeast bread needs to rise in a warm room, and my apartment was a bit chilly. I found a tip that says to heat your oven up to 400 for a minute, then turn it off, and stick the dough in there. I assume it worked because the dough got like, mutant fat.)
Then it rose again. And then – instructions called to form dough into buns. Concerned that my “buns” would end up looking like mangled little snowballs once baked, and recalling that somehow grandma’s always looked really nice, and MAYBE she made them in muffin tins, I took to the google. It didn’t help. So I just decided half would go into muffin tins and half wouldn’t and we’d see it all it all worked out.
Things got a little less dramatic after that, or perhaps I just got a little more tired (I was also doing laundry, cleaning, washing dishes throughout, so perhaps I was less anxious about every little thing because I was just too tired to worry that much.) The buns, after rising, got REALLY large, so I decided to deflate them again before actually baking them. Not sure if that was right or not, but I didn’t want to serve people personal pan pizza-sized dinner rolls.
I started the process a little before 2pm, and the last batch o’ buns came out a little before 7pm. Five hours later I was the proud possessor of TWENTY EIGHT (pretty delicious) BUNS. (It was 29… and will soon be 27…) Next time, a little more salt.
If there are seasoned bakers out there who want to weigh in and let me know if I made any glaring errors, I’d love to hear from you. I think the oven might have been a LITTLE too warm for the rising, but perhaps not. Advice?