Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gorgeous Round Rolls, Giveaway Photo, and Festivus

As I forge forward on my baking journey, saving money at every turn, I've made another bonanza discovery: I not only figured out that my homemade bread costs around 50 cents to make, but now I can make more than two dozen rolls for the same price! Instead of paying almost four dollars for nine bagged rolls at the grocery store with a bunch of strange ingredients, I can make beautiful (gorgeous?), big rolls at home with simple ingredients for a tiny fraction of the cost. What's also nice is I can prepare my bread right along with it: since I make two bowls of dough for two loaves of bread at the same time (soon to be four, I hope), I just convert one of those bowls into rolls. Or, you can just have a roll making day - the second rising is shorter than that for bread, and the baking time is also shorter. I adapted this recipe from an old baking book I own. By the way, I have switched to using Active Dry Yeast from Rapid Rise Yeast. Not only can I buy it in bulk, but I like how it makes the dough feel when I knead it and how it rises. I explain how to use it in the directions below. Have fun, eat well, and save money!

Finished rolls on a plate. Now, what's interesting about this photo and the next three are they were taken the first time I made these rolls. The ones on the plate do not have a soy milk glaze, and I now prefer the glaze. They also came out a little smaller than the second time I made them because it was a colder day. Sometimes dough doesn't rise as well in colder weather, so keep that in mind if you see that happening. But, they were still cute, so I added them.

A rough ball of dough from the main lump. You can either flatten the dough out and cut proportionate sizes, or tear off chunks from the dough still in the bowl. I've done both, and I prefer the more barbaric method of tearing, but cutting ensures more equally sized rolls.

Roll the bottom end inward by sections, like this.

Turn it over, and you'll have a lovely roll ready for its second rise. Make sure you make the initial ball, here, half the size you want it to end up to be.

I made two batches this day: this is the first batch which yielded about three dozen rolls.

This is the second batch which yielded over two dozen. I made the initial balls a little larger, I guess. But, we suffered through them.

A close-up. Aren't the little darlings so cute? But, you can see how they brown more with the soy milk glaze - I like that.

We also received our giveaway win from Dirty Duck this week! The blessings were downright crazy when that box arrived! As you can see below, the only Lara Bar that wasn't ripped open before I grabbed the camera was mine. I was going to split it with G, but he didn't want half, so oh, well, I ate it. The package was really from Lilly the Duck; the return address had her name, and she even sent us some of her feathers. Maybe she lost them while frantically packing the box! In either case, the feathers have been equally divided between the three shorter members of the family and are safe in their rooms. I made a dish with a box of penne pasta last night, kind of a spaghetti soup, and it was good. We all thank you, Dirty Duck family!

The Goods

Last year we started celebrating Festivus, made famous by Seinfeld. G wants you to know that we are Reformed Festivuvians because we decorated our pole with Christmas bows - apparently the pole should be bare. We will air our grievances tonight and have feats of strength against the leader of the home, G, to try to knock him from power. Last year, the feats of strength included pinky wrestling. This year G tried to suggest seeing who could eat the most cookies, but we didn't fall for it. We can tell he's nervous.

Our cheerful Festivus pole belies the serious tone of this life-changing holiday. All heads-of-households, Beware!

Gorgeous Round Rolls

5 cups of flour
2 Tbs. of salt
1 pkg. of Active Dry Yeast, or 2 and 1/4 tsp. of bulk Active Dry Yeast
4 Tbs. warm water
2 cups of cold water
Extra flour for kneading
1/4 cup of soy milk


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast and warm water until the yeast is dissolved. Create a well in the center of the dough, almost all the way to the bottom of the bowl, and pour in the dissolved yeast. Mix in just enough of the surrounding flour to create a pudding-like texture. At this point, many recipes will tell you to let this rest for ten or twenty minutes and see if it develops a frothy mix. This is to check the freshness of the yeast; however, if you know your yeast is fresh, go ahead with the next step. Add a cup of cold water into the well, and mix in some of the surrounding flour. Add the last cup of cold water and mix in the rest of the flour. On a floured surface, scoop out the dough, and sprinkle some flour on top. Knead for ten minutes, adding just a little bit of flour if the dough gets sticky. Wash out your bowl, and put the dough in it. Cover with a damp dish towel and let rise until doubled in size, about two hours. Punch down the dough in several spots to get out the air bubbles - you can flour your fist if your sticking to the dough. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Tear off clumps of dough about half the size of what you want your roll to be, and tuck the ends under. See photos above. Place each roll on cookie sheet, with tucked side on the bottom, cover with a damp dish towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. They will continue to "grow" when baking, so don't worry if they're not exactly double in size. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put the soy milk in a small bowl, and with a basting brush, brush a bit of soy milk over the top of each roll. Bake for 20 minutes. If some milk dribbles on the baking sheet, it will turn brown; that's okay, nothing is burned. Cool individual rolls on cooling rack. Makes between two and three and a half dozen rolls, depending on how big you make your initial balls of dough. You can freeze them and thaw later for a quick reheat in the oven. I heat them in the oven for ten minutes at 350 degrees. So good straight from the oven! Feeds five hungry vegans for a couple of days.


  1. Yay for home made rolls !

    And Happy Festivus to you and yours ! We also celebrate it , but our pole usually winds up a wooden bamboo skewer ( I think this makes us Naturamishian Festivi denomination). Our Airing of Grievances are few and the feats of skill usually revolve around board games .

  2. The rolls look great, even though the dough was pulled apart "barbarically". LOL, that made me laugh. The ones with the soy glaze do look lovely and golden.

    So fun that the pasta has arrived! And that Lilly sent it...I'm sure she carefully calculated the feather distribution in the package, seeing as how she's an MFDE.

    Festivus sounds fun! You'll have to let us know if you succeed in usurping power the leader's powers.

    Have Fun! Happy, Happy. :)

  3. I remember when my mom used to make homemade rolls. That was her specialty for Christmas. After seeing your great looking rolls, I think I need to try making them. Surely I can follow your instructions. :o)

    That's so cute that Lilly packed a few of her feathers for you. :o) Congratulations on your winnings!

    I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

  4. Yay, Di, for homemade rolls and Festivus! Our feats of strength usually land us on the floor somehow.

    Oh, Rose, I take every opportunity I can to be barbaric! What is MFDE?? I'll let you know the results of Festivus if we manage to dethrone him!

    Michelle, that's a sweet memory. I know you can follow my directions! You have a Merry Christmas too!

  5. Master Feather Distribution Engineer...did you see Michelle's last post where she has apointer to Lilly and calls her a master feather engineer? I figure MFDE for short... lol, it's funny.

  6. those ARE gorgeous rolls! i like how perfectly smooth and round they are. whenever i've tried to make rolls they come out all lopsided so i'll have to try your method. merry christmas to you!

  7. I absolutely love homemade rolls and this seems like a simple recipe to follow, as you know I hate making any baked bread....
    I think they are adorable and I will attempt to make them really! :) LOL

  8. amazing looking rolls are a very good cook.

  9. Thank you, AS ALWAYS, for sharing your great tips and recipes. It's seriously crazy that it's sooo much cheaper to make your own - I like seeing price comparisons in front of me like that. It's much more motivating for me to see $4 vs. $.50 rather than just "it's cheaper."

  10. Oh! And they really are pretty looking. And I'm so happy for you that you won free treats - complete with duck feathers! How fun!

  11. This post makes me feel like just curling up and sleeping on that big bed of warm soft rolls while clutching some duck feathers for extra protection against nightmares.

    Dreaming of fields? Field of dreams? Nope: Dreamfields!

  12. Merry Christmas, Sara! I bet lopsided rolls taste just as good as round ones. :-)

    Easy Squeezy recipe, Brandi! :-)

    Thank you, Millie!

    Jenny, the savings are actually more than just straight $4 to 50 cents b/c of the amount of rolls I get. If you're watching a budget, I highly recommend this!

    S.V., you're welcome to lay on the rolls, buy you're going to have to fight little hands for the feathers. And I'll pat you back to sleep if you get a nightmare; it's what I do best.

  13. "I prefer the more barbaric method of tearing"do you make sound effects to go with it? this line made me laugh:)

    MDFE "master feather distribution engineer:)"

    my computer has been turning on and of (walter has gotten really into a game he plays online and so he will someimes need the whole connection...i guess it sometimes works better that way?) anyway thats the ONLY reason i havent been over here! i even clicked on it as soon as you posted it only to see that walter had turned off the internet to this computer! you know how the screen stays till you try and look for somehing else? argh

    okok enough excuses! i loved this post!! again im sorry about the uneven larabars! i saw the one left over on the couch and i felt so bad!
    you kids are really good eaters, i would not have been down wih larabars when i was younger!your rolls on the other hand...would have disappeared:) i love how they cracked in the middle, im sure there is a nicer way of saying that? like a baking term??? it was also good to know how you should tuck the uneven ends under, i liked that tip and all your others so much.

    your kids sound sweet and caring and so unspoiled (unspoiled in a good way). spoiled in love, a good home and family, maybe:)Merry Christmas to you guys!

    the whitneys...all of'em:)

  14. oh and i was reading your comments:) (loved them) and i have to agree with Jenny, i absolutely LOVE to see price comparisons! thats such a deal, 50 cents for all that! thats awesome!finding deals has got to be better than taking drugs. my mom and i are bonded by clearence, deals and sales:) maybe thats what kept me on the straight and narrow:)well sort of straight and narrow...80%?ttysoon

  15. Michelle, so glad to be helpful. I try to include as many tips as possible, so people will have success with my recipes and enjoy cooking. I try to think what would help me out, you know? So, glad you were finally able to log on. My husband's a computer guy for a living, and still I have computer problems. :-) The kids loved the treats. We're lara bar fans over here. GR picked those as snacks for her soccer team when it was her turn to share. Turn those kids onto health food! Merry Christmas!

  16. Those rolls are indeed gorgeous. I love bread making in the winter to warm the house, but I need to get better at it. Thanks for your tips!

  17. You're welcome, Jessica! Bread making is the best, especially when you get use to doing it. :-)

  18. i made these on christmas and they were a big hit! homemade rolls always taste so much better than any store bought kind. thanks for the recipe!

  19. Lovely rolls! I especially like the shaping images :) Festivus sounds like a good time.

  20. Those look like the kind of rolls I would eat way too many of. They remind me of potato rolls, where you add mashed potatoes to the bread dough. I may have to make some of these because just looking at pictures of them just isn't enough.