Usually, Sunday meals included cornbread or buttermilk biscuits, but every once in awhile dinner rolls would be served.
Great Granny Eary used a particular recipe for her rolls which included two rounds of proofing (rising). It could be used to make bread loaves or placed into muffin tins for rolls.
Granny Betty used that same recipe frequently — but not on Sundays.
She used a different recipe when making rolls for Sunday meals which only required one shorter proofing (rising) period. I suppose this was because it made the work load and timing everything to hit the table hot and perfect much easier.
I will start with Granny Betty’s Sunday meal yeast roll recipe. However, I will also include Great Granny’s recipe afterwards — even though not typically used for Granny Betty’s Sunday meals.
Granny Betty’s Sunday Yeast Rolls
Grandma Betty made these by hand. I’ve added some tips below for using a stand mixer and how to use this recipe to make garlic cheese bread sticks.
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp dry rapid acting yeast
6 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup sunflower or safflower oil (I just use canola or olive oil)
1 egg, whole, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
Pre-heat oven to 400 F degrees.
Combine water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes.
After sitting, stir oil and egg into the yeast mixture.
Sift flour and salt together twice.
Stir in 1-1/2 to 2 cups of the sifted flour into the wet egg mixture until using a spoon no longer works. Scrape any dough off spoon back into the bowl.
Add 1/2 cup more flour and work it in by hand until well mixed.
Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time mixing by hand only until well blended.
Knead in the bowl about 5 times more. Do not over work.
Shape the dough into 12 equal balls and place on a buttered baking pan.
Brush the dough balls with melted butter and let the dough balls rest in a warm area on the counter top right next to the stove without drafts until risen and puffed.
(Depending upon weather conditions, temperature, humidity, and altitude they will rise, puff, and swell up within anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes).
Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until an even light to medium golden brown. Rub tops with a stick of cold butter and serve hot.
Makes 12 rolls
Modern Day Tips for Granny Betty’s Recipe
Using a Stand Mixer:
Today, they may also be made using a stand mixer but it only works well if specifically using a dough hook attachment — otherwise follow the directions exactly — while stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
Use a lower speed each time adding flour until it is moistened to prevent it flying out in a cloud of dust before increasing the speed to actually blend/mix/incorporate it. Stop when it is blended and starting to climb up the hook.
Tam’s Garlic Cheese Bread Sticks:
Sometimes, if I am making these to serve with an Italian food meal and/or with garden salads, I will make the dough into 6 to 12 little bread stick shapes instead of balls, sprinkle the tops with garlic powder after buttering the tops just before proofing (rising) them, and then once baked and the tops have been rubbed generously with butter (or brushed lightly with olive oil) I lightly shake on some granulated Parmesan or Romano cheese while they are still hot from the oven, put the pan back into the oven for 20 to 30 seconds, then let them rest for the melted cheese to set up before putting them in a bread basket to serve.
Also, instead of buttering the pan, I line it with a sheet of parchment paper. When they come out of the oven cheesy I slide the parchment paper with the bread sticks off of the pan to prevent the bottoms from over browning to rest on the counter top until they’ve cooled slightly and the melted cheese sets, firms up. That way they don’t stick together when put into the bread basket.
Great Granny Eary’s “Crusty Yeast Bread” and Muffin Tin Dinner Rolls
Great Granny Eary made this by hand using an egg beater (hand cranked mixer) for creaming, as well as in the early stages of beating — before the dough became too sticky and thick — followed by using a spoon or fork and her own two hands when required.
You may of course use an electric hand mixer for creaming and early stages of beating as Granny Betty did.
I have also included a list of other modern day kitchen tips below for using an electric stand mixer like I do — as well as using a microwave to heat up the milk and/or using it as a bread proofing drawer.
5 tsp. rapid acting yeast
1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
2 Tbsp honey or sugar
1-1/2 cups evaporated milk
1/4 cup shortening, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 heaping teaspoon salt
5-1/2 cups Gold Medal all purpose flour
In large bowl, mix yeast and honey into warm water and set aside.
Pour 1/2 cup evaporated milk into a small pan and heat just until gets too difficult to hold your finger in it. Take off heat. Pour in remaining milk and stir well. Set aside. If you don’t have evaporated milk on hand, you can use buttermilk or regular milk.
Cream shortening. Add eggs and cream together.
Beat creamed eggs and shortening into yeast mixture with 1/2 cup flour.
Pour in milk and half of the remaining flour and beat until moist.
Add salt and remaining flour and beat until well blended — about 100 to 150 strokes.
Cover and let rise until doubled in size.
Punch down, divide up equal portions and put into greased loaf pan(s) or into greased muffin tins. Fill muffin tins 3/5 full. Do not overfill. Let rise again — uncovered — about 45 to 50 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven 350 F degrees.
Bake until done and golden brown.
Remove and butter tops generously right away. Remove from pans or tins and serve warm with some butter and honey on the side.
Bread loaves take much longer to bake — about 45 to 50 minutes. Thump bottoms to check doneness.
Tin rolls take about 20 minutes, give or take 2 to 3 minutes. Watch close after 15 minutes.
Modern Day Tips for Great Granny Eary’s Recipe
How to Tell if Bread Is Done or Not:
Actual bake times may vary with type and size of pans or tins, altitude, weather conditions, individual oven variations (individual ovens can vary by up to 25 F degrees normally), etc.
I was taught how in the kitchen by actually listening as Granny and Great Granny thumped the bread loaves on the bottom — and then told me this sound means it isn’t done yet and this sound means it is done, but I really wasn’t sure how to actually go about describing it to others here. It depends upon just how hollow the sound is — but all the thumps are hollow sounding — just at differing amounts of hollowness. How do you actually describe that to someone else without showing them and letting them listen in the same way I was taught?
So I spent the last several minutes doing some research and found what I thought did a really good job of describing how to do so — as well as providing other alternative ways to check.
The following link has excellent advise and what I believe are really the best descriptions and other tips on how to tell when bread loaves are done:
If browning too quickly on top but bread is not yet fully baked, place a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over top until it finishes baking.
Using a Stand Mixer:
Add yeast, water, and honey to mixing bowl and let sit 5 to 10 minutes. Add shortening and eggs and using whisk attachment cream them together in the yeast mixture. Switch to dough hook when start adding flour. After first 1/2 cup flour is mixed in, add flour 1 to 1-1/2 cups at a time and beat on low just until moist. Once all the flour is added and moist, it is safe to increase the speed (flour won’t go flying out). Stop as soon as it is well blended and starts to crawl up the hook.
Warming the Milk:
May warm half cup milk in microwave in 30 second increments (careful not to boil) before stirring in the remaining milk and set aside — or, simply warm all of the milk together at same time until only just lukewarm (not hot; about 110 to 115 F degrees) right before adding it to the recipe.
To Proof (Rise) Bread:
In microwave, heat a cup of water to a rapid boil steaming up the microwave. Carefully move cup of water to a back corner.
Place bowl of bread dough inside covered with a see through shower cap.
Or, cover loosely with plastic wrap with a rubber band if needed to secure the edges if not sticking well and protect dough against contact with the surrounding air and humidity. Leave cling wrap loose enough across the top to allow for dough expansion and prevent collapse of dough if contacts with a tight covering.
Quickly close the door and leave closed for the suggested proofing/rising time.
Do NOT open the door until time is up. Do NOT turn on the microwave.
This provides the perfect environment to ensure a good rise no matter what the weather or other conditions may be within the designated time — like the bread proofing drawers used by professional bakers.