My Nanny (that’s Texan for grandmother) always made the most wonderful hot rolls. I bless the day she shared her recipe with me and took the time to teach me how to make them. My family has praised her name ever since. These are, without a doubt, the best rolls you’ll ever make. They’re an easy crowd-pleaser.
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 pkgs dry yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1 1/2 tsps salt
- 5 (sometimes a little more, sometimes less) cups of flour
If I’m just making rolls for dinner with my family, I’ll use the half recipe. If I’m making rolls for the holidays or larger get-togethers, then a full batch makes a bunch of rolls.
Let’s get started.
Your water needs to be warm. NOT HOT – and not cold. Warm to the touch. If your water is too hot, you’ll kill the little yeast-y guys and your bread won’t rise. Too cold and the little yeast-y guys won’t feel like doing their job making bubbles and helping your bread rise. They’re picky little buggers. Make sure your water is warm. Then add sugar. This is food for the little yeast-y guys to eat up so they can produce bubbles. It’s all very technical.
Disolve your yeast in the warm sugar water. Stir gently to help mix the sugar, water and yeast. Allow to sit for a minute or two while you prepare your next ingredients.
The yeast will activate and you’ll get this nice foam on the water. That’s a good sign. You’re going to make good bread with this foamy, yeast-y stuff. Again, very technical.
In a large mixing bowl add the oil to the eggs and salt and beat to mix.
Add flour on top of the egg mixture. Make a little well for your sugar/yeast water. (You really don’t have to – but it’s fun to poke into the flour, and baking bread should be fun.)
Pour in the yeast-water-sugar mixture.
Stir to mix well. The dough will start to form a small ball.
I knead the bread right in the bowl. I don’t bother with putting the dough on a lightly-floured surface (I don’t have time to clean all that up). All you need to do is sprinkle the wad of dough with flour inside the bowl. Get a little flour on your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Flatten it out in the bowl with your knuckles.
Now take the edges of the dough, pull them over and tuck them in, and flip the dough over and knead on the other side.
Kneading dough is no big deal. All you’re doing is softening it up so the yeast can do it’s job and fill it up with little bubbles, causing the dough to rise. You’re not going to mess it up. Just work it around a few times in the bowl until you have a little ball.
Then spray that beautiful ball with cooking spray. This keeps the dough from drying out.
Cover it. Read it a story. Kiss it. Tell it night-night.
Really, just cover it up and leave it in an out-of-the way place that’s relatively warm. Somewhere around your stove or oven is nice. I parked mine by the Crock-Pot while I was making a roast. The important thing is to leave it alone. Don’t peek or poke. Just leave it alone. Yeast-y guys are shy. They need privacy. Leave it to rise for at least an hour, two hours is better.
Your dough ball will have doubled in size. Those yeast-y guys got busy. Here’s my favorite part: punch it. That’s right – make a fist, place it in the middle of the dough and press down to release all the gas. Just smoosh it.
Get a large baking pan and spray it with cooking oil. Pinch off handfuls of dough and roll them out – like we did when kids and we played with play-dough and made long snakes. Once you have your long dough snake, wrap it around your finger and voila! You have a pretty bread roll. Repeat with remaining dough.
Then cover the pan with a clean hand towel and let this dough rise again for at least an hour.
Set your oven to 400 degrees, no need to preheat. Place in oven to cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned. While still hot, brush them with melted butter.
Best served warm.