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Author Notes: My uncle was a physician and practiced medicine is a very rural community in Mississippi. As a matter of fact, until close to his retirement he was the only physician in the entire county! Most of his patients did not drive, nor have access to public transportation (there was none), so he made a lot of house calls. When his own wife was blinded by a brain tumor, he determined that he had to have a housekeeper to assist with his wife and very small daughter. Eva became his housekeeper and stayed in that role for many decades until her death. When we used to visit, she would make the most incredible yeast rolls. My mother asked her for the recipe, not knowing that Eva never had a recipe (for anything). She could neither read nor write. But, what she could do was cook and bake! After following Eva around the kitchen, my mother finally got it all down and I recently came across her original scribbling on a prescription pad of my uncle's.
This recipe is outstanding for a couple of reasons: 1) It is simple. No rising and punching and kneading. (You knead the dough only when you are going to use it within two hours. Any novice can make these! 2) It will linger in the fridge for up to 4 days, so you can enjoy the same batch for several days. You simply break off the amount you need as you need it. Knead that dough only, then tuck the leftovers back in the fridge for use later.
My mother made these for every special occasion. I, on the other hand, prepare them to make an ordinary occasion special. —Chef Lisa
Makes 5-8 dozen
cup Whole milk
cups All purpose flour
teaspoon (heaping tsp) baking powder
teaspoon table salt
packets powdered yeast
cup Warm (115 degrees F) water
cups unsalted butter, melted
- Combine the Crisco, sugar and milk in a sauce pan. On a low temp, heat until the Crisco has melted, stirring often. Once melted, set aside to cool.
- Once the Crisco mixture has cooled, add in the beaten eggs. Set aside
- Sift the dry ingredients together.
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water until foam appears.
- Add two cups of the dry ingredients to the egg-Crisco mixture. Stir gently just to combine.
- Add the remaining flour alternately with the yeast water, stirring to combine.
- Place the sticky dough in a large, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate overnight and up to 4 days.
- 2 hours before meal time, take out the desired amount of dough, knead (a long kneading is not necessary) and shape into rolls. (I make them the size of a Ping-Pong ball).
- Place roll in a greased pan ( I use a cast iron skillet), remembering that the rolls will now rise to at least double in size. Cover with wrap and place in a dry place. (Microwave is a good nest).
- After the rolls have doubled in size, brush with melted butter. If you want to be fancy, you can sprinkle on freshly grated parmesan, sesame seeds, poppy seeds or whatever you like. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown. (About 10-12 minutes). Once out from the oven, I give them a second slathering of melted butter. Why not?
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