When I moved from Annapolis, here to the Eastern Shore, in my senior year of high school – it was kind of a culture shock. It wasn’t the rural life, or the small town atmosphere. For me, school itself was the biggest difference. I went from a graduating class of 600, to 37 (and that was a BIG year for Chincoteague!). And the food, it was REAL food with REAL silverware – no more plastic sporks!
They made these giant trays of homemade yeast rolls. They literally melted in your mouth they were so pillow-ey and soft. I couldn’t believe it – fresh baked bread? The rolls we got with my old school lunch were like rocks. One of my dear friend’s mom worked in the school cafeteria, just recently retired actually, and managed to share with me the school bread recipe. It makes like 200 rolls though, so I’m looking forward to scaling it down and trying it out. Making homemade dinner rolls is something to really take pride in, at least I think so.
This recipe is from my buddy Shawnda. I’ve made them twice now, and they have come out perfect both times. It makes 2 pans of rolls, which is nice. I made a big pot of chicken soup to take to my book club on Friday night, and these rolls were perfect alongside. You could also do one pans worth to freeze. Just cover well and stick it in the freezer after the first rise – then remove a few hours before you need to bake, and continue to bake. I did add a bit of garlic powder to the butter before brushing it on, and I liked the garlic-ey kick it gave the rolls. It fit in nicely with the rosemary and black pepper. Will make these again and again!
Rosemary-Black Pepper Dinner Rolls
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoon oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) plus more for greasing bowl
1 large egg
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Add the water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast becomes frothy. Add the oil, egg, sugar, pepper and rosemary to the bowl. Add the flour and mix on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes, just until the dough comes together. If the dough doesn’t clear the sides of the bowl, continue adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Add the salt and mix on low speed for an additional minute. Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Grease the bottom and sides of 2 8-inch baking pans. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Equally divide each half into 7 pieces about the size of a golf ball (2 ounces each if you’re weighing). Gently roll into rounds and place in the pans, leaving about half an inch of space between them. If freezing, wrap pan tightly in foil and place in freezer. Thaw and rise for 2 to 2 1/2 hours the day of baking and continue. Cover rolls and allow to rise for at least 20 minutes, or until they’ve expanded to fill the pan.
Preheat oven to 350º. Combine garlic powder and melted butter in small bowl. Brush with each pan with half of the melted butter and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately or at room temperature.