Small, independent neighborhood bakeries at that time offered exceptionally fine rolls, too. And then along came an amazing invention -- store-bought, take-home packages of brown-and-serve rolls.
Joining those popular time-saving rolls, nowadays we can zip into our nearest supermarket and come out with tubes or packages of refrigerated or frozen roll dough, too, if we so choose.
But now, would you believe, the folks at Fleishmann's Yeast have come up with a way to combine those wondrous homemade hot rolls of our childhoods with not only the miracle of our own refrigerated grab-and-bake ones, but the option of freezing-baking them, too?
Well, hubba hubba and here we go with this how-to:
Whole-wheat brown-and-serve rolls
4 cups whole-wheat flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons salt
2 envelopes Fleishmann's RapidRise yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3-4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
Butter for brushing baked rolls (optional)
In a large mixer bowl, combine 3 cups whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter or margarine and heat to very warm (120 to 130 degrees); butter or margarine does not need to melt completely.
Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1 cup whole-wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
Stir in enough all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let dough rest 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Proceed according to directions below for desired shapes. Cover; let rise in a warm, draft-free place until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Bake shaped rolls at 275 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rolls just start to turn color. Cool in pans or on sheets 20 minutes.
Remove from pans or sheets and finish cooling on wire racks.
Place cooled rolls in resealable plastic bags and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.
Before serving, preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rolls on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. If desired, brush hot rolls with melted butter. Serve warm.
Makes 4 dozen rolls.
Shapes for rolls: For classic dinner rolls, divide each piece of dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth round ball. Place each one in a greased muffin cup.
Cloverleaf rolls: Divide dough into 36 equal pieces. Place 3 each in greased muffin cups.
Bowknots: Roll each piece into a 12-inch-by-6-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 (1-inch) strips. Tie strips into knots, leaving a loose loop in the center. Place on greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
Curlicue rolls: Roll each piece to a 12-by-9-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 (1-inch) strips. Hold one end of each strip firmly between thumb and index finger, and wind dough to form a coil. Tuck end firmly underneath. Place on greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
The next Forum column will appear in Wednesday's Good Life section.
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