Easy Homemade Dinner, Sandwich, Cinnamon Rolls: A Taste & Create Challenge

Last month, I introduced you to a new blog challenge I have enjoyed participating in, Taste and Create.  Each month, two blogs are paired and then they each spend a little time exploring the recipes on the other’s blog.  Then they make the recipe and blog about it on their own site and then post it to Taste and Create.  Not only do I get to try new recipes, I find other excellent food blogs.  For September, I was paired with The Cupcake Project.  Well, you can obviously guess from her blog name that I had a very difficult time selecting only one recipe from Stef’s The Cupcake Project.  And actually, you may be very surprised at what I finally landed on.

I bake bread all year round, but when the cooler weather of fall rolls in, it ushers in an uncontrollable urge to try new flavors, shapes, and textures in my bread baking.  I am much more likely to experiment and test ideas when the warmth of the oven and the intoxicating aroma of fresh bread can fill our home and draw everyone into the cheeriness of the kitchen.  Relenting to an urge just like that, yesterday, I chose Dinner Rolls over at Taste and Create.  We love bread, with a meal, as a meal, in between meals, as a midnight snack… :)  You get the idea.  I didn’t make just 12 little dinner rolls.

The recipe tripled easily, for feeding our voracious crew and of course, I was out of yogurt, as well as honey, so I did a little “tweaking” of the recipe.  I know that doesn’t surprise any of you, by now.  I have to tell you that Stef’s recipe is superb!  And though I did change it up, you would be proud to serve it at any dinner party, or in any of the many different forms I am going to suggest.  This bread is soft and tender and has a slightly tangy flavor.  It is still soft and tender after being stored in zip-top bags on the counter.  It will freeze well, and thus the reason for adding it to our freezer-cooking category, too.  I made sandwich rolls, this time, but this recipe will lend itself easily to small, delicate dinner rolls, hamburger and hotdog buns, cinnamon rolls and though they wouldn’t be so flaky as “canned”, they would be gorgeous and delicious baked up as crescents.  I may even try it as a pig-in-the-blanket roll  or “runza/bierock”  roll and of course, I think it would be a wonderfully soft and tender sliced bread.  Absolutely delicious and a simple go-to bread recipe, with a lot of versatility!

Here is Steph’s original recipe (which she tweaked from Allrecipes.com  — lol, bakers seem to just be a tweaking kind of crowd.).  What follows, below, will be the way I baked it up, here at home.

Easy Homemade Dinner, Sandwich, Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 24 Large Sandwich Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups warm water (not hot, you don’t want to kill your yeast, but it does have to be warm enough to activate it)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbls. yeast
  • 1 cup wheat gluten (sometimes called vital wheat gluten or gluten flour)
  • 1/3 cup granular lecithin (can substitute liquid.) (You could also omit this soybean-derived ingredient, but it will change the texture and shelf-life of your bread, if you do.)
  • 1 Tbls. sea salt (you can use table salt)
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups white flour
  • 5-6 cups whole wheat flour

Directions:

  1. Stir together warm water, yeast, brown sugar, 1 cup of white flour, wheat gluten, lecithin and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer or large bowl if mixing by hand.

    First ingredients in mixing bowl. (Remember you can right-click your mouse on any picture and select View Image, to see the picture full-size.) Yeast and brown sugar have already dissolved in the warm water and are happily getting to know one another. :)

  2. Mix until all ingredients are dissolving and incorporated.  You will still see a few yellow pearls of lecithin, but it will be dissolving.  Now, it’s time to have a glass of iced tea or a Coke and just let this mixture hang out for about 10 minutes.  It will just look like a yellowish, tan smooth liquid, right now.

    First ingredients, mixed, and ready to party! You can still see the specks of lecithin. I promise, it will dissolve and you’ll never see it in your bread.

  3. After 10 minutes, the yeast will have become very active, feeding on the sugar and causing your mixture to bubble and expand.  That’s when you will add the softened butter and sour cream.  Mix it thoroughly.

    See all the bubbling and growing action!!?!! The butter and sour cream are sinking into the “soup”.

  4. Add the remaining 3 cups of white flour and start mixing.  While the mixer is still going, begin adding wheat flour ½ – 1 cup at a time.  In yesterday’s humidity, I used just a little over 5 cups of wheat flour to reach the correct consistency for my dough.  You’ll know you have it right, when the dough pulls together in one clump and cleans the sides of your mixing bowl.

    The dough has completely cleaned the sides of my mixing bowl.

  5. Once I get to this stage, I let my mixer do the real work of bread-making for me.  I put the lid on the bowl, set the speed to medium and allow the mixer to knead the dough for 5-7 minutes.  Once the kneading is complete, place the dough into an oiled bowl and set in a warm spot, to rise.

    Dough in bowl ready for rising.

  6. At this point, I always cover my bread dough with a clean, damp (from warm water) tea towel.  The warmth and moisture continue to encourage the yeast and help to achieve a good rise.  Let the dough rest there, until it’s doubled in size.
  7. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and shape into the particular type of rolls (or loaves) you want to make.  I did sandwich rolls and they were pretty “free form”.  Place your rolls on a greased baking sheet, again covering to rise until they have doubled.
  8. Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes, until the rolls are beautifully, golden brown and your tummy is rumbling from the amazing smell wafting through your house.  At this point, (immediately after removing from the oven), I rub a stick of butter over the top of each roll to butter the tops (not a whole stick for each roll -lol- just one stick for all of them.  It will only use about 1/3 of the stick.)

    Piping hot bread rolls with buttered tops! Yum!

Now, when you’re as obsessed with enthusiastic about homemade bread, as we are, you aren’t always as delicate and refined as you could be about eating it.  As a matter of fact, you might not believe this, but some people in our household have been known to pull piping hot, buttered rolls straight from the baking sheet and tear, rather than slice, them open.  They then proceed to eat that deliciously soft, tender, warm, comforting bread without taking the time to put ANYTHING on it!  Can you imagine!!?!!  :)

Torn open with freshly burned fingers! :)

Once the initial excited frenzy is over, allow the rolls to cool and then store them in airtight containers.  I use gallon-size zip-top bags.  At this point, they will keep about a week in your pantry or you can freeze them for several months.  We used them to make shredded beef sandwiches, with the chuck roast I had cooking away in the crockpot all afternoon.  Delicious!

Shredded beef sandwiches on freshly made rolls. Yum!

Printable Version of Easy Homemade Dinner Rolls

This post is linked to Grocery Cart Challenge.

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