I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is almost here! I’ve always been glad that Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October – it’s such a perfect time of year. Changing leaves make for a beautiful backdrop, the last of the garden vegetables end up on our plates, and it’s usually still warm enough for some outdoor fun. Thanksgiving at my in-laws’ always includes a round of themed activities for the young cousins – at my parents’ house we often end up in the hot tub after dinner! By American Thanksgiving it’s often pretty much winter here, and my sights are already set on birthdays and Christmas.
I love this time of year so much that my husband and I actually got married on Thanksgiving weekend. We’ll be celebrating our second anniversary next week. We didn’t have Thanksgiving on the actual weekend that year, and we won’t this year! My family isn’t getting together until the next weekend. These rolls are already tucked into the freezer awaiting our dinner.
Every family’s Thanksgiving menu looks different, but nearly all of them include rolls. We don’t usually give those rolls any more thought than picking up a bag at the grocery store, especially when tackling a turkey, sides and dessert. We always got awesome rolls from a local market – until I discovered how easy they were to make myself!
This recipe comes from Handle the Heat and is the result of her scientific search for the “Ultimate” roll. It’s that good!
You’ll need warm water, milk, butter, eggs, sugar, salt and instant yeast. And of course flour! This recipe uses bread flour, which helps the rolls rise while keeping them sturdy and chewy. If you’re at all interested in breadmaking, bread flour is a good ingredient to keep on hand, and you can also use it to make deliciously chewy chocolate chip cookies.
We’ll start with a little prep. Warm the milk in the microwave in 15 second increments. Stir the milk gently after each increment, then take the temperature. You want it somewhere around 100-115°F. If your kitchen thermometer finally runs out of batteries and konks out, it’ll feel warmer than body temperature, but not unbearably hot. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and beat just enough to scramble them up. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter (set the other tablespoon aside for now.)
Next step is pretty simple – just dump it all in the bowl! The water, milk, eggs, melted butter, sugar, salt and yeast all get combined the bowl of your mixer.
Stir it up a bit, then add two cups of the flour.
Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until combined. It’ll be thick and gloppy at this point, like muffin batter.
Pop the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook.
Mixing at low speed, gradually add the rest of the flour.
Turn the mixer up to medium-high and knead for 4-5 minutes, until the dough forms a smooth, elastic ball. Touch a fingertip to the dough – it should feel tacky but not sticky. If it’s still sticky, knead a minute or two longer.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and plop the dough in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size.
This is just enough time to wash your dishes and tidy up your kitchen. Or in my case, to throw dishes into the sink a little too violently, plunge your hands into the dishwater, discover you broke a glass, slice your finger, and cajole your husband into finishing the dishes while you attempt to stop the bleeding. Thankfully, my hand is fine. Back to the rolls…
Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and large cutting board or work surface with cooking spray. Punch the dough down, and turn it out onto the work surface.
You want to divide the dough into 15 sections. I like to form the dough into a rough rectangle, and use a pizza cutter to divide it into 3 strips. Cut each strip into 5 sections. If you want your rolls to be identical in size, I suggest using a kitchen scale to weigh the dough. I’m not usually that meticulous!
Form each piece of dough into a ball. Pinch the corners of the square together and keep pulling them until the top of the roll is smooth and rounded. Place the balls into the prepared pan.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Remember that tablespoon of butter we set aside? Melt it now and brush it over the tops of the rolls.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Rip off a roll and slather it with butter!
The rolls can be made up to 3 days ahead, or frozen several weeks ahead.
What are your favourite Thanksgiving foods?
Adapted from Handle the Heat
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 1 cup milk (warmed to 100-100°F)
- 2 tablespoon melted butter, divided
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) instant yeast
- 4 ½ cups (20 ounces) bread flour
Combine the water, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined (the mixture will be thick and gloppy, like muffin batter.)
Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn it on low speed. Gradually add the remaining 2 ½ cups flour, stopping and scraping the bowl if necessary. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and knead for 4-5 minutes, until the dough forms a smooth ball. The dough will be elastic and should feel tacky to the touch. Knead for a minute or two longer if it still feels very sticky.
Spray a large metal or glass bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.
Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Punch down the dough, and turn out onto a work surface sprayed with cooking spray. Divide the dough into 15 equal sections, using a knife, pizza cutter or bench scraper. Form each piece into a smooth ball and place in the pan.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°.
Bake the rolls for 15 – 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.