Nothing speaks of comfort at home like fresh bread baking in the oven. I always bake rolls or any type of bread last so when everyone is walking towards the dining table, they are welcomed by that amazing aroma. I associate this with home because I grew up in a city covered in small bakeries. It is hard to describe how amazing it is to walk down the street, on a cold, dreary evening and have your day brightened by a mix of savory and sweet baked goods spread through the streets. I like replicating that kind of an experience when I can and especially during Holiday season. I have also realized that the easiest way to feed a crowd is to have the oven do the work and just churn out the fresh goods. Isn’t it true that everything tastes so much better when there is a basket of warm bread or rolls on the table?
Yes, there is work involved in making bread, but really it is all about patience because much of the work is in waiting for the dough to rise. However, all that patience is greatly rewarded by the impact fresh bread makes on the dinner table that it almost seems easy! It sounds intimidating, but it is not. It is actually a great cheat to having something that will satisfy most people. Of course, with different dietary needs, not everyone can eat wheat, but this is your basic yeast dough with regular wheat flour.
This can be done by hand, meaning no mixer required or if you have a stand mixer then you can do the entire process in the stand mixer. In all honesty, I sometimes use my stand mixer but sometimes it is just as easy to this by hand. The end result is the same and it works either way.
At potlucks I always sign up to bring rolls because you can put everything together at home and just bake them when you get to someone’s house, right before the beginning of the meal. Doing that allows for that dramatic act of pulling out fresh bread out of the oven at a party.
This works great for a traditional dinner and it works great for heavy appetizers too. Well, it goes with anything.
- 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cups milk, plus 2 tablespoons
- 2 T sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1½ tablespoons salt
- additional 2 T softened butter
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add milk and sugar and heat, gently stirring until it is lukewarm. Lukewarm is generally 110 degrees. Remove from heat and add yeast on the surface. Set aside until yeast is foamy.
- Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture into the flour mixture to make soft, very shaggy dough.
- Turn the dough onto a generously floured board and knead until dough is soft and elastic. This usually takes about 10 minutes. You can do this with a dough hook in a stand mixer as well. Shape the dough in a big ball.
- Butter a clean large bowl, Place the dough in the buttered bowl and cover with a kitchen towel until doubled in size. This can take anywhere between 1 to 2 hours.
- Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish. Turn the dough out of the bowl and deflate it. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and then roll each piece into a ball. Arrange the balls, seam side down in the prepared baking dish. Cover with a towel and let rise until the rolls rise to the rim. Melt the additional butter and brush over the rolls. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
- After getting the rolls out of the oven, brush some more butter on top of the rolls and sprinkle with kosher salt. Cool the rolls in the pan before transferring them to the rack.