Lion House Rolls. I have such a love-hate relationship with those suckers. As a former employee of Lion House Bakery, I used to spend my Thursday nights flipping thousands of rolls... on my feet, for hours. Okay, it was like 4 hours a night, but spending four hours a night doing the same thing over and over again is miserable.
But then. Then at the end of the long miserable night, when my muscles are screaming and my feet were swollen, something magical would happen. They could only send out pans of rolls that were completely full, and the last pan out of the oven rarely was. So rather than waste all that wonderfulgoodness, the other workers and I would get to divvy the rolls up and take them home. I would usually come home with anywhere from four rolls to a couple dozen. I would eat about six on the way back to my house and share the rest with Gary. Sophia was about a year at this time and loved Lion House rolls, and Josh still talks about when I brought the rolls home from the bakery. It's the only thing I regret about quitting that job--no more wonderful rolls.
When I was making dinner rolls for my family, it was only natural to pull out my Lion House Bakery cookbook. I followed the directions until the very end. In the cookbook they recommend cutting your rolled out dough into 2 by 4 inch strips then "rolling them" up into rolls. Here's the true bakery method: cut your strips and brush melted butter on them. Pick up a strip, pinching it on either side of the strip, so you have 6 inches hanging down in front of you. (Gosh, this is hard to explain. But it also would have been hard to take pictures!) Then jerk the strip around so it flips over itself, forming a neat little roll. Does that make sense? Have I lost you? Trust me, it's easier to "get" once you're holding the dough in your hand but if you're totally confused, let me know and I'll get a picture tutorial up asap.
In the meantime, enjoy these rolls, no matter the shape they end up, they'll be delicious.
Lion House Dinner Rolls
from the Lion House Bakery cookbook
2 c. warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2/3 c. nonfat dry milk
2 T. active dry yeast
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 t. salt
1/3 c. butter, shortening, or margarine
4 1/2 c. to 5 c. all-purpose flour or bread flour
1/2 c. butter, melted
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine water and dry milk powder, stirring until milk dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 c. of the flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for 2 min. Add 2 c. flour; mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 min. at medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiff, and remaining flour may need to be mixed in by hand.) Add remaining flour, 1/2 c. at a time, and mix again until dough is soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff. (It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour.)
Scrape dough off sides of bowl and pour about 1 T. of vegetable oil all around sides of bowl. Turn dough over so it is covered with oil. (This helps prevent dough from drying out.) Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle cutting board or counter with flour and place dough on floured surface. Roll out and shape as desired. Place on greased or parchment-lined baking pans. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place until rolls are doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter while hot. Makes 1 1/2 to 3 dozen rolls, depending on shape and size of rolls.
Note: This recipe can be doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled if you have a large enough bowl.
You can also freeze shaped rolls for later use. Simply double the amount of yeast used when making dough. After the first rise, shape the rolls but do not rise again. Instead, place rolls on a baking sheet and immediately place in freezer. When dough if frozen solid, remove rolls from pan and place in a plastic bag, squeeze excess air out of bag and seal. Rolls can be frozen for 3 weeks.
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