Serves a Crowd

Ode to Ocelene's Rolls

December 14, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves A Crowd
Author Notes

Ocelene is one of my favorite people in this world. In the 50s and 60s my grandmother had to have help with her four children because her husband was in the military. Ocelene was recruited to assist my grandmother in making sure dinner was ready for the children every night, while keeping her company on the days her husband was away. Ocelene soon became famous with the children for her irresistible rolls. She started making them in bulk and freezing the extras. Ocelene stayed with my grandmother through the years to watch my grandmother's children grow into adults, for the birth of her grandchildren and even the death of her husband. Ocelene is now the lovely age of 86, and is still my grandmother's best friend. Unfortunately, Ocelene can no longer create her rolls as she is immobile due to her health, but the Williamson family will always have a special place in their heart for Ocelene's Famous Rolls. Happy Holidays and let us give thanks for all the 'Ocelenes' in our life this season! - Table9 —Table9

Test Kitchen Notes

I made these rolls confident based on the recipe that they’d be terrific. I was right. With a mild, balanced flavor, and a texture that is a bit chewy without being heavy, these resemble a classic Parker House roll. The supple, luxurious-feeling dough came together quickly and was particularly easy to knead. (I used about ¼ cup more flour while kneading.) I let the dough rest twice, for a few minutes each time, while kneading. When I resumed, I noticed that the dough had almost instantly become even more elastic and silky-smooth. Thank you, Table9—and, on behalf of me and my family, I hope you’ll also thank Ocelene—for this terrific recipe! —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 5-6 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 packet Dry Yeast
  • 1 Stick Unsalted real butter, cut in 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons Crisco
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup Warm Water
  • Dash of Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Heat milk in saucepan over high heat until boiling. While milk is reaching its boiling point, mix the butter, Crisco, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Pour hot milk over butter mixture. Allow the butter and Crisco to melt in the milk. Beat the eggs and add to this mixture. Set aside.
  4. Put the warm water in a cup and add the dry yeast to it, stirring well. Then pour it into the milk mixture.
  5. Gradually add the flour, cup by cup, to the milk mixture until the dough is almost like rubber. When finished combining, cover bowl with a heavy dish cloth and let sit for at least an hour.
  6. After the hour, roll out the dough and cut into desired size. Put a little butter into the center and fold over. Let these rise for another 45 minutes.
  7. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until golden brown.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Twila Cain Pierce
    Twila Cain Pierce
  • ChefJune
  • TiggyBee
  • AntoniaJames
  • Table9

7 Reviews

Twila C. February 8, 2019
Was Ocelene from Greenville Alabama?
ChefJune December 15, 2010
These rolls look so lovely. If I wasn't serving Orange HOney Crescents Christmas Day, I'd be tempted to make these. Thanks!
Table9 December 16, 2010
Thanks so much! They are really divine...Yummm the Orange Honey Crescents sound great though.
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
These are really lovely. Thanks for sharing your story!
Table9 December 16, 2010
Thanks so much Tiggy Bee. Glad I could share.
AntoniaJames December 14, 2010
Love this story. And yes, thanks for Ocelenes in our families' lives is such a nice idea. The rolls look good, too!! You're lucky to have gotten dear Ocelene's recipe. I hope you print this out and give it to her, perhaps with a small basket of the rolls!! ;o)
Table9 December 16, 2010
I actually was going to frame the story and the recipe, then give it to her for Christmas!