Tammy Algood | Special to The Tennessean
For years, my holiday standard for bread centered around Brown-N-Serve rolls. We always had them on the table for family get-togethers. They were quick, easy to separate and delicious. The only thing that could beat them were crescent rolls from a can.
But growing up changes your mind about some things and making homemade yeast rolls is now a passion. It scratches the itch to bake perfectly, especially at this time of year.
Although the process is basically the same, forming bread dough into rolls rather than baking it in a loaf pan is worth the extra bit of trouble. Pulling the pan of golden brown orbs out of the oven is tempting to anyone in the house.
Many cooks have a bread machine that practically does every step but I prefer doing it myself. A good thermometer is must to make sure you have success. Yeast dough has to be at the correct temperature in order to rise properly. If it is too hot or too cold, you have a problem. Using a thermometer to check the liquid temperatures before folding into the mix keeps everything in balance.
Select a draft-free place for yeast breads to rise. I use my unheated oven. Put a large casserole dish or roasting pan of hot water on the bottom rack. Then place the dough on the rack above it. The dough is ready for shaping when you can press two fingers a half inch into the dough and the indentation remains when you remove your fingers.
I usually make pan rolls, but have lately been making cloverleaf in honor of those Brown-N-Serve. You simply roll the dough into smaller 1-inch balls and place three next to each other in each lightly greased muffin cup. Then let it rise until doubled and bake. It is divine!
You asked for it
Annette Parker of Atlanta writes: “Is it possible to freeze raw homemade pastry dough? I like using disposable pans. Can I put it in the pans?”
By all means you can freeze it. Since you like using disposable pans, go ahead and roll it out and place in the pan as you would for baking. Freeze for 15 minutes to “harden” then remove and place pieces of parchment or waxed paper between the pans, cover completely with foil and freeze. It will keep for up to 8 weeks and there is no need to defrost before using.
Tammy Algood is the author of five cookbooks and can be seen on “Volunteer Gardener” on PBS stations in Tennessee. Follow her at www.hauteflavor.com