For a very long time I have been playing with different versions of dinner roll recipes. I tried some more complicated versions from a variety of cookbooks, I used a bread machine to do the mixing/kneading, I shaped the rolls into crescents, balls, and just worried about them all too much! Some turned out better than others, but I eventually decided to just give in and use a recipe from Michael's family. I tried them one time, then saw the recipe, and knew that the simplicity of everything was a good sign. Surely I could tweak the recipe to my taste and make yummy dinner rolls whenever I wanted (and not necessarily on a Sunday)?!?
Now Michael's father likes to shape them into the Parker House style, where you roll out the dough, cut out little circles, dip in butter, then fold over. Which is quite good I might add. Michael's mother loves the Bundt pan route (a personal favorite of mine and the only reason I really have requested such a pan for a present). She pours melted butter into the pan and coats the insides completely, layers the small circles of dough, then pours a little more melted butter on the top. The rolls come out crispy and buttery on the outside from being drenched in all the fattening goodness. You should try it...for it will blow your mind!
Even through all those wonderful examples, I learned and use my favorite way to "roll" the rolls from the Egan family, as I was in attendance to their family dinners quite a lot during my freshman year at LSU. Now their roll recipe is dang good and trust me, I remember many times just sitting at their counter with their daughter Emily (my BFF from the BR), raspberry freezer jam in one hand and a roll in the other. It was sublime. But what I took home was their way of preparing the rolls for baking. The secret is to roll the dough out into a circle, cut it into 12 triangles (like a pizza), then roll them in to crescents, and here's the clincher: tucking the ends underneath. This way you can make the rolls more compact, thus fitting more on one sheet so they can become close to each other in the oven and stay dense, moist, and just a tad doughy. Which is my favorite way to have a dinner roll be!
Then all there's left to do is top the rolls with butter, and eat them straight out of the oven while they are hot and fresh. Oh boy are these good! We frequently are asked to make these for friendly gatherings and it seems like no time before they are gone. I personally love the "whole wheat" factor, as it makes me feel a bit healthier than just straight "white" rolls, but you can choose for yourself which flavors you like. Either way, if you make these I'm sure you will be remembered for their perfect homemade taste and smell. People will be begging for the recipe!
Perfect Sunday Dinner Rolls
2 tbs. yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup warm water
3 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 cup shortening
2 tsp. salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole-wheat flour
- Combine yeast, sugar, and water in standing mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix and let sit until it starts to bubble.
- Add eggs, shortening, and salt and mix just until combined with other ingredients (shortening will still be lumpy).
- Add flour and mix until dough comes off sides of bowl, but still barely sticks to bottom. Knead for 5 minutes and let rise in greased bowl until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- After dough has risen, divide it in half and roll each half into a large circle, about 1/4 inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 12 triangles, like you would a pizza. Roll each triangle from the larger end to the tip, into a crescent shape. Tuck the outer ends underneath the roll and place on a greased baking sheet.
- Let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees and bake the rolls for 15 minutes, just until the tops are a nice browned color.
- Remove from oven and brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter. Serve immediately!