Aunt Mariah's Rolls

June 25, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

This recipe is at the end of a long journey I went on to find the key to my missing family (allow me to explain, here. The recipe serves a crowd, because that's what Aunt Mariah would do with them. —EmilyNunn

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe was featured in our My Family Recipe series. —The Editors

  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 4 dozen
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup powdered skim milk
  • 3 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted (plus more for brushing the rolls before baking)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
In This Recipe
  1. In a very large bowl, dissolve the 1 teaspoon sugar, the ginger—do not leave out the ginger, no excuses—yeast, and water. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, mix the powdered milk, eggs, salt, the 3/4 cup sugar, and the 1/2 stick melted butter and add to the yeast mixture (make sure this has begun to foam slightly; if not, you may need new yeast). Slowly add 2 cups of the flour to this, mixing well. Gradually mix in the remaining 4 cups flour; if the dough is still sticky, add more flour, a bit at a time.
  3. Cover the bowl with a clean dishcloth and put in a warm place to rise. Once it has risen to its full glory (meaning when it has doubled in bulk, which takes about 1 hour), punch it down and knead gently for a minute or so on a floured board. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out circles with a 2 3/4-inch biscuit cutter (or a water glass, which is what old ladies in the South do). Fold over (pinch them down a bit so they stay folded) and place on baking sheets very close together but with the sides not quite touching, and brush with the melted butter. Cover and let rise again, for about 1 hour, by which time they will have doubled in bulk and their sides will touch. This is very important. You don’t want flat rolls; you want fluffy rolls.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. If you plan to freeze them, bake only until they are very lightly browned.

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