Here is a straightforward yet yummy recipe for those of us who are frightened by bread hooks and fail to see why yeast needs to prove itself. Many bread recipes call for 6 1/2 to 7 cups of flour, which is a bit overwhelming - this recipe, which I adapted from one on the side of a bag of flour several years back, is much more manageable. - wssmom —wssmom
Test Kitchen Notes
These dinner rolls have a tasty chew on the inside with a beautiful, golden brown crust. The dough is very easy to work with; I made them without the use of a dough hook or beaters of any kind. Originally made for Food52 testing and then to enjoy, they were so tasty, quick and easy, that I made them two more times; a batch the next morning, just a few hours before taking them to a dinner party. The first two times they were baked in a 9 x 13 pan instead of on a baking sheet, resulting in beautiful pull-apart rolls. Finally, the third time, I let the dough rise an hour before kneading, shaping into egg sized spindles and then baking freeform on a flat baking sheet…those rolls were great for a French dip! I had tremendous success making these rolls and received rave reviews from everyone who ate them. I will definitely make them again. —lapadia
envelope active yeast
cup warm (100-110 degree) water
2 - 2 1/2
cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
teaspoons kosher salt; less if using regular salt
In a large bowl, sprinke yeast over the top of the warm water; let sit for 5 minutes or so.
Add to the yeast one cup flour, salt, honey, shortening, and water; using a hand mixer, beat two minutes at medium speed.
Add about a half-cup flour and stir with a spoon to make a soft dough; add up to another half-cup flour and stir until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. (If you have a heavy-duty mixer, go ahead and use it; mine begins to whine in protest at this point)
Turn dough onto a floured surface and begin to knead, adding flour as you go to keep dough from getting sticky. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be pretty elastic but not totally smooth. Cover and let it sit for another 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 more or less equal pieces; roll into vaguely egg-shaped balls. Place on a greased baking sheet, flatten slightly, cover, and let rise in a warm part of the kitchen until they're all puffed up, about an hour.
Combine the cornstarch and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring all the while, until thick and clear, about two minutes.
Brush tops of rolls with the cornstarch mixture. Using a sharp serrated knife, make a half-inch deep slash lengthwise across the top of each rolls. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.