A few weeks ago my friends were moving and let us raid their fridge. One of the things we ended up with was yeast. To be honest, I have never used yeast before. The only bread I've ever made was beer bread and anything else bread-like was usually made with Bisquick. I decided to grab that yeast and give it a shot. I made tonight some chewy, soft, yeast rolls. If I can do it...anyone can!
I spent all morning searching for different roll recipes. I even dug through my grandmother's old, falling apart Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. First of all, all of the ones in this old cookbook called for a ton of shortening. I finally came upon a few yeast roll recipes and decided to try this one from Tasty Kitchen. I did end up adding some wheat gluten and used my handy dutch oven to bake these.
First you want to start with your yeast. This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of yeast. Unfortunately the packets of yeast are 2 1/4 teaspoon which equals out to 3/4 tablespoon. I had the jar of yeast so it was easy to do 1 tablespoon.
Take your yeast, warm water and sugar and mix together in a large bowl. You don't want the water to be too hot or it can kill your yeast. You want to still be able to touch the water without it hurting. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. You'll start to see the mixture foam and bubble. If nothing happens, your yeast is dead.
Next mix in the salt, butter, bread flour and wheat gluten. The wheat gluten is optional, but it will help make the rolls chewier and will improve the rising of the dough. Here's more about wheat gluten. The only reason I added it in is because my friend Holly (who has been baking bread like crazy) told me that adding that and dough enhancer makes your bread taste so much better. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any dough enhancer.
Now for the fun part. Take off your rings and dig in! Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. I failed to fully read the recipe and my hands were already covered in dough so I didn't want to scroll back through it. I kneaded the dough directly in the bowl and with no added flour. It worked, but it sure was a lot more work for me. Ideally, you want to dump the dough onto a flat, floured surface and knead there.
I also learned the hard way that you should add flour to the dough if it's too sticky and/or coat your hands in flour so this doesn't happen.
Again, it still worked, but was definitely way more messy than it needed to be. You should knead the dough until it's smooth and shiny. It should be holding its shape pretty well. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with saran wrap.
Place the bowl in a warm area for 2 hours. I was doing laundry at the time so I placed the bowl on top of the dryer in my warm laundry room. After 2 hours your dough should double in size.
Knead the dough down just a little bit then start pulling apart small pieces about the size to fit in your palm. You should end up with a dozen balls of dough. Place the dough in a greased dutch oven or a greased 9"x13" pan. Cover again with saran wrap and let sit for an additional 30 minutes. They will rise again just slightly.
Place the dutch oven into a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven with the lid on. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove lid for last 10 minutes. If baking in a 9"x13" pan, bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
These rolls will very easily tear apart. It's difficult to let them cool because your house will smell so delicious. I was pretty proud of myself for successfully baking bread for the first time ever. These rolls were chewy and soft and so, so yummy!
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons butter
3 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon wheat gluten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix yeast, warm water and sugar together in large bowl. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. The mixture should foam and bubble. Mix in butter, salt, bread flour and wheat gluten. Transfer dough to a flat surface lightly covered in flour. Knead dough for 10 minutes or until dough is shiny and smooth.
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with saran wrap. Place bowl in a warm area for 2 hours for dough to rise. Dough should double in size. Gently knead dough down then tear apart into 12 balls that fit into your palm. Place in a greased dutch oven. Cover in saran wrap and let sit for an additional 30 minutes. Balls of dough should rise slightly. Put lid on dutch oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.
*If using a 9"x13" pan bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.