Make Ahead

"Miss Mary Loyd's" Dinner Rolls

December 10, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

Miss Mary Loyd Young (actually, I think, she was a Mrs., but it's the South, so she gets called Miss) was a standout cook in a church-full of standout cooks at First United Methodist Church in Marion, Arkansas. If she is still alive, she must be some past 80 by now; if she is, I hope she's not online and reading this site, else I'll be in big trouble for either getting her age wrong, or telling it if I got it right. In any event, when the Methodist church served the pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner every year (social event of the season, and they paid for the Fellowship Hall with five years' worth of it), Miss Mary Loyd always made the rolls. 1,200 of them. Because they stopped selling tickets at 600, and everyone got two rolls. No more. And no one passed up the second one. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I go to my Methodist cookbook and turn to the page that's the most spotted with water and butter and flour and such, and I make Miss Mary Loyd's rolls. In between, I use the same recipe to make loaf bread on cold Saturday mornings when I just want a treat, and rolls with some ruffles and flourishes (rosemary in the batter, or stuffed with grated cheese, or shaped like a biscuit and baked on a cookie sheet for ham sliders), or cinnamon rolls, for other special occasions. Thanksgiving and Christmas, though, get Miss Mary Loyd's original recipe because some things are just about tradition. I think she'd like that. - Kayb —Kayb

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe made an absolutely perfect, light, airy, church supper dinner roll. A sweet, crispy exterior crust gives way to layers of yeasty light, airy, flaky goodness. I think the roll needs a touch more salt, and next time will brush them with melted butter when they come out of the oven, and sprinkle on Maldon or other crunchy salt. A few other details: the dough was quite damp when I first scraped it out of the bowl, but after resting for 10 minutes, was no longer sticky. The dough doubled in size in 90 minutes. After the first rise, I cut the dough into sixteen equal pieces and tucked them into a 10" round cake pan lined with buttered parchment. The second rise was finished in 30 minutes, after which I baked them at 375┬░ for 25 minutes. A very nice dough with a sweetness that will surely make an exceptional sticky/cinnamon roll. —MrsWheelbarrow

What You'll Need
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (Miss Mary Loyd specified Gold Medal or Pillsbury, so that's what I use)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 11/2 cup hot tap water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup softened butter or vegetable shortening
  1. Sift together two cups of the flour with the sugar, and stir in the yeast. With mixer at low speed, blend shortening or butter into the flour mixture.
  2. Add the hot water (the hottest it comes from your tap, Miss Mary Loyd specified) all at once, with mixer running.
  3. Add the egg, and continue mixing.
  4. Stir in remaining two cups flour with a wooden spoon, to make a soft dough. Knead lightly on a floured board and shape into a ball. Put into an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled, about two hours.
  5. Punch dough down. At this point it can either be refrigerated or shaped in rolls or loaves and allowed to rise a second time until doubled.
  6. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until barely brown. May be frozen after baking and reheated to serve.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Joyce
  • Roger Dube
    Roger Dube
  • Kayb
  • Shalala
  • Lori Lyn Narlock
    Lori Lyn Narlock
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!

26 Reviews

Joe April 30, 2017
This recipe ill-advisedly calls for hot tap water.

In the United States, hot water drawn directly from the tap generally is not potable. From one city's department of health to another, one will learn that heat-friendly bacteria may grow in the boilers that heat the water, and these bacteria may make one ill, sometimes seriously ill.

Hence, municipal departments of health generally advise using cold tap water for drinking and eating which is then heated over the stove or in the oven to the desired temperature.

Please correct this recipe and the many others on this site that advise the use of substances that are known to make one ill and caution readers to avoid this danger.
Debra V. December 5, 2016
These rolls are a huge hit in my house. I've made them several times. They are better when you remember to add the salt (the directions make no mention of salt).
Joyce October 19, 2014
This is my first time baking a bread and as I am vegan, I swapped the egg for applesauce. Have to say your recipe is great, even for a first timer and veganising it, the bread turned out fantastic! Crusty on the outside and really soft inside!
Roger D. December 14, 2013
I made these for Thanksgiving. Halfway through the first rise, the quote "we're gonna need a bigger boat" came to mind. They were HUGE and AWESOME!!!
Storm December 1, 2013
I'm afraid these rolls were supremely underwhelming. :(
Kayb November 27, 2013
The other thing you can do, should you want to make them WAY ahead, is let the dough rise, make the rolls, then freeze them on a cookie sheet. After they're frozen, you can move them to a plastic bag and keep them frozen for a good while.
Kayb November 27, 2013
I'd let the dough rise, make the rolls, then put them in the fridge overnight for a refrigerator rise. If they're not quite as risen as you want the next a.m., take them out and let them sit on the counter for an hour or so. I'm afraid if you let them rise and then refrigerated them, they'd fall. Good luck, and I hope they're a huge hit for your Thanksgiving! (I'm getting up in the morning and making mine!)
Shalala November 27, 2013
Is it possible to let them rise twice and then pop them in the fridge for the next day? Using them for our Turkey Dinner and was wondering if I could make the dough ahead without putting them through a full bake. Would love to keep it as fresh as possible!
Kayb November 27, 2013
What I'd probably do is let them rise the first time, then when I made the rolls, put them unrisen in the fridge overnight and let them do a refrigerator rise. If they haven't risen as much as you want, take them out and give them an hour on the counter before you bake. I think that'll work. I'm afraid if you let them rise and then refrigerate, they'd fall.
Lori L. December 26, 2010
I couldn't resist trying these when I saw the name, alone. But, I was a little nervous because after a winter of yeast-filled bread baking a few years ago, I've had little luck getting bread to rise--I either killed the yeast or the yeast was old or I just can't seem to read the recipe right as you'll note in a minute. I can happily report that these rolls are completely foolproof. First, I added all the flour at once and thought, "oh well, I've ruined them." Then, I forgot the egg and had to add it at the very end. I was shocked when lo and behold the dough still rose and rose and rose. The only problem I encountered was the baking time. I started at 20 minutes and then lost track of how much longer it took to bake them. Still they were delicious! These will be a go-to recipe for me for sure. I can't wait to use it again on Friday and to maybe divide it and make a few flavor additions as well as, as is. Thank you Kayb for sharing this recipe!
Kayb December 26, 2010
You are so very welcome! Glad you enjoyed them, and yes, they're pretty foolproof, as I am no baker, either -- that's why I depend on these!
Kayb December 25, 2010
Cathy, the baking technique is really a matter of personal preference; if you want a roll with an all-over crust, do the baking sheet; if you want a taller roll with soft sides, do the cake pan. I don't brush mine with anything, though if you want, you can brush the tops with melted butter after they come out of the oven. You can also take half the dough, roll it out into a rectangle, and make some of the best cinnamon rolls you ever had! Have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you enjoy the rolls!
MrsWheelbarrow December 24, 2010
Kayb, I'm so excited to be testing these rolls. I'll be making them tomorrow, for Christmas dinner. Would you suggest I nestle the rolls next to eachother (touching) in a round cake pan, or separately on a baking sheet? Are the tops brushed with anything? Thanks! - Cathy
mrslarkin December 13, 2010
Great recipe and great story, Kayb.
Kayb December 12, 2010
Y'all, don't you think that food is intensely enhanced when it has a story or tradition to go with it? I love new recipes....but it's hard for them to come up with the ones that Mama or Grandma or Aunt so-and-so made. That's why I really love the recipes here that have a story with them....
lapadia December 14, 2010
I agree, with your comment, and thanks for sharing yours!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 14, 2010
Amen! Thanks for sharing the story and the recipe!
TiggyBee December 11, 2010
Everything about this is just adorably lovely!
marynn December 11, 2010
It's blizzarding here in the Twin Cities, yet I am smiling reading your entry. I can see those ladies busting out these rolls and can only imagine the smells in that kitchen.

I have a bit of yeast phobia and want to use the right one to do this recipe justice. Do you use active dry or instant?
Kayb December 11, 2010
You can use either. I usually use active dry yeast, because that's what I typically have on hand. If you're using bulk yeast from a jar, it's about 2 1/2 teaspoons.

They'd have days where they'd gather at the fellowship hall kitchen and make 300 or so rolls, cool them and freeze them, before Turkey Dinner Day. My office was next door to the church, and I'd walk outside and smell that aroma, and sure enough, it smelled like heaven, right there in the parking lot. I'd often stroll inside, look pitiful, and they'd give me a roll. Most of the older ladies have either passed on or are too old to do much with the dinner, but the next generation (mine) has taken over. It's one of the few things I regret about moving from Marion -- I sure do miss the Turkey Dinner!
Midge December 10, 2010
I bet these are delicious, but this is finalist material on the story alone.
Kayb December 11, 2010
Thanks, Midge. The best part of most any food is the story attached to it!
dymnyno December 10, 2010
What a sweet story about your church and one of its wonderful members...I am looking forward to seeing the rolls.
drbabs December 10, 2010
Great story, Kayb. The 600 diners at the Methodist church and Miss Mary Loyd would be so proud!
Sagegreen December 10, 2010
Love your story! These rolls will be such fun to see this week.
Lizthechef December 10, 2010
Even I ought to be able to make these - great story and recipe!