You know the story in the Bible about Mary and Martha…the one where Martha is cooking like crazy trying to get dinner on the table and Mary is sitting and chatting with Jesus? Martha gets frustrated because Mary isn’t helping her. She tries to get Jesus to tell Mary to stop talking so much and help out with the cooking and the serving. Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful (worried) and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Oh shoot. Martha was so busy and so worried about getting everyone’s needs met that she wasn’t taking the time to relax and visit with her guests, especially with Jesus. And Mary…she ought to have helped out with things, too. That way, everyone could have enjoyed the day. Sometimes, though, I guess that the time you spend with people is far more important than the food that you feed them. Especially if Jesus is visiting. Wouldn’t you want to spend more time talking to him than feeding him? Which would you rather say…”I fed Jesus a fabulous meal and waited on him hand and foot” or “Jesus dropped by today and we ate salad and rolls and talked a lot.”
I’m sort of like Martha, especially on Sundays when family comes to visit. I want to make a nice dinner, set a pretty table, and create a happy atmosphere. Like I said, I want to do those things, but I’m not usually very successful. I tend to wear myself out with the working and the worry and I definitely don’t have much of Jesus on my mind. But Sunday dinner is supposed to be special because, well, its SUNDAY and everybody knows that on Sunday you’re supposed to make a nice dinner, set a pretty table, and create a happy atmosphere. You, the chief cook and bottle washer, are supposed to be Martha on Sunday. And make rolls. Everybody knows that it ain’t Sunday dinner unless you have rolls.
How do you “choose that good part” and get dinner on the table, including the homemade rolls? First, redefine Sunday dinner. Make it simple. I’m going to start doing things more simply. How about tossing a ham in the oven, making a salad, and, just to let your family know that you still care about them, make these delicious rolls. The rolls would be great with slices of ham on them with a little mustard. You’d have a complete meal: meat, bread, and the salad will provide your vegetables. Everyone will get fed, including you, and you’ll have plenty of time to visit and talk and feel like Jesus is close by.
Note: I use a dough enhancer in these rolls. Dough enhancers improve texture and rise in breads and rolls and add a little ‘extra something’ to the flavor. It’s the ‘mmmmmm’ factor. The brand that I use is by Grandma’s Country Foods and contains whey, tofu, soy lecithin, sea salt, yeast, vitamin C, and a little cornstarch. The grocery stores in my area sell dough enhancers in the baking isle. They are often a ‘top shelf’ item and I generally find them near the flour. I am not promoting Grandma’s brand; I am simply saying that it is the one that I use.
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup + 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons dough enhancer*
- 1/2 cup powdered milk
- 7-8 cups white flour
Dissolve yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in 1 cup warm water. While the yeast is proofing, add the other 1 cup of warm water, melted butter, sugar, and eggs to the mixing bowl of an electric mixer such as a Bosch or Kitchenaid.
When the yeast has doubled (only takes a few minutes) add it to bowl. Mix on low speed just until the ingredients are combined.Add 4 cups flour, powdered milk, dough enhancer, and salt. Mix on a medium speed for 7-10 minutes.
Turn off mixer and let mixture rest for 10 minutes.Add 2 more cups flour and mix on medium speed until ingredients are well incorporated. With mixer running, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time just until dough cleans side of bowl. This is an important step because it marks the difference between a roll that has just the right amount of flour and one that has too much or too little flour.
Turn the mixer to a higher knead setting and let the mixer do its thing for 8-10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and elastic.Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. I leave the dough in the mixer bowl. This is where you really save time on this recipe.
After the dough has rested, you can start forming the rolls.Lightly butter a 9 ” x 13″ metal pan. Use a metal pan, not a glass baking dish. Pinch off enough dough to form a 1 1/2″ ball. You can vary the size of your rolls by how much dough you choose to make each one. Sometimes you might decide that you want bigger rolls if you are using these for sandwiches, sometimes you might be in the mood for something a little more traditional. Look at the amount of dough you are using for your roll and imagine it double its visible size. That’s how big your finished product will be–maybe even a little bigger. I make my rolls so that I can get 4 rolls across the pan and 5 rolls lengthwise.
Dip each roll into some melted butter before putting them into the pan. The butter provides two things: 1) it allows the rolls to make a wonderful top and bottom (the corner rolls are my favorite because they have two outside browned sides, a brown bottom, and a lovely golden brown top); 2) the rolls separate easily from each other after they are baked.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set the rolls in a warm place to rise. A great place would be near the oven where that ham or a chicken is baking. It takes about an hour for the rolls to rise; sometimes only 30-45 minutes, depending on how happy the yeast is that day. You can get some good talking done while the rolls are rising.
Once the rolls have doubled in bulk, remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls at 375-degrees until they are golden brown, about 20 minutes. You can brush a little more butter on them, if you want to. It makes them extra pretty.
By the way, this recipe can make about 4 dozen rolls. You could make a pan of rolls and use the rest of the dough for cinnamon rolls or scones. Just a thought.
These rolls were featured on Tasty Kitchen.
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that’s some good cookin’ Copyright 2010