Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cha-Cha's Yeast Rolls

Every time it snows, I have to make cinnamon rolls. It's tradition. Even if it hints at snowing, the cinnamon rolls make an appearance. Snow, Christmas, overnight company, and sometimes Thanksgiving are almost mandatory for homemade cinnamon rolls.

Yes, you could say making cinnamon rolls is my version of doing the snow dance. (Beats doing the rain dance naked. That's just cold.)

But to make cinnamon rolls, you need a basic starter of yeast rolls.

This is by far my favorite yeast roll recipe. Yeah, it's old school, so it's a little more wiley than other yeast rolls, but once you get the hang of it, they come out tasting damn good every time. Even if you don't have the hang of it, they're pretty good. I remember when my grandmother, Charlie Faye Nixon Flynn, also known as Cha-Cha would make these.

One of the tricks is not to knead it too much: when cutting out the dough, you need to try to get as many round circles in a rolled-out flat of dough as possible. Which means start on one side and work your way to the other, cutting out rolls as you go. I would DELIGHT in cutting out the first roll out of the direct middle of the dough flat, meaning that it would have to be reworked more often, thus slightly more tough and certainly less efficient.

I've grown up to have the same perverse delight in driving in the exit or walking in the out door too.

These are great rolls, but they also make awesome little sandwiches for a buffet or parties or just leftover turkey/roast/ham/whatever in front of the TV.

2 cups milk (or one cup milk, one cup buttermilk)
1 rounded teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 packages yeast, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
5 scant cups flour (just shake the measuring cup side to side to even out the top)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Heat shortening, milk, salt, and sugar until it melts.
2. Pour into a large stainless steel bowl and let it cool 'till very warm, but not hot. If you can hold your hands against the side without thinking "ouch" or cussing, it's probably ready.
3. Add yeast to water; let it soften, and stir into very warm milk mixture.
4. Stir in well 3 cups flour and cover - this makes a big mess.
5. Put cloth over mess and let it rise until double.
6. Work down with spoon or hands.
7. Add remaining 2 cups flour (give or take 1/2 cup), baking powder, and soda and mix well.
8. Cover tightly; will keep in refrigerator for 7 days.
9. Roll out dough as needed, cut in rounds, fold round in half, top with melted butter, and bake until brown (about 10 minutes).



Made by Lena