Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Potato Rolls

Thanksgiving is about the food. At some point in many a cook's culinary life, we decide we want to do something different for the feast. When we tentatively announce we're thinking about making this 'new thing,' the truth comes out that most everyone just wants the old things. They want the same old traditional foods with their Norman Rockwell appeal, and they want the same leftovers. Most of us want the turkey (even if we don't really love turkey) with stuffing, the mashed potatoes and gravy, the traditional family side dishes (whatever those may be), and pie -several kinds if we're greedy (and I am very, very greedy). We are all receptive to a new dessert, or vegetable side dish added -as long as we still get to have the same traditional ones we've always had. For Thanksgiving, as with all the other holiday dinners, my family always definitely wants to have my Grandma Arlene's Potato Rolls. Some years, as we plan to do this year, we drive to Oregon to be with my husband's family for the day. My youngest daughter makes her special cranberry sauce (she adds a half-pint of orange marmalade as it cooks), we usually contribute a vegetable, and I always bring potato rolls made the day before.

This is my cherished copy of the recipe, written by my grandmother Arlene. I usually halve the quantities, and make a few minor changes -substituting honey for sugar, butter for shortening, and buttermilk for milk. And it's usually cold here, so I often use Rapid Rise Yeast which will help it raise a bit faster.

Potato Rolls

Combine in a small bowl and leave 5 minutes:
1/4 c. water
1 T. rapid rise yeast (or regular yeast)

1/2 c. hot mashed potatoes
1/4 c. melted butter
1/4 c. honey
2 t. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg, slightly beaten

In a large stand mixer bowl, combine frothy yeast, potato mixture, and 2 c. bread flour. Beat well. Add more flour to make a soft dough (2-3 c. more), change to dough hook and knead well (6-8 minutes longer, if kneading by hand). Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place (if you have one) to rise until doubled in size (1-2+ hours). Deflate and raise again. Shape into balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Rise again for 10-20 minutes or so (they are best if you are patient with this rising). Bake 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Makes 2 dozen rolls.

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