The Epic Fail of the Dinner Rolls

Something had triggered the memory of Donna Blair’s rolls in the kitchen in hers and Wooten’s house on the big hill.  We would go up to visit and Donna Blair would always be making fresh rolls.  They were sweet, a little floury and delicious!  When this memory triggered, I knew I wanted to make some sweet dinner rolls.  This was obviously a mistake because a) I’ve never made rolls from scratch before and b) I don’t bake very well.  But I was bound and determined to give it a shot, which let to my comedy of errors.First off all, let me start out by saying you should never …NEVER bakes stuff in the oven when the daytime temps are over 100 degrees every day.  It will heat up the house to unbearable levels and will basically make you melt.  That being said, I pulled out the water, milk and yeast and mixed it up in the kitchen aide mixer.  I was then supposed to add softened butter.  Here is my first problem.  I didn’t let the butter soften long enough so I basically had little butter chunks floating in the liquid.  This was disturbing, but I figured I might as well press on.I added the egg, sugar, salt and such.  Then I slowly added the flour.  As I got to the end, I switched to a dough hook because the stuff was just to thick.  I let it mix with the dough hook for a couple of minutes, then I removed the bowl from the mixer and covered it to let it rise.  I set the timer for 45 minutes.When the timer went off, I went to punch the dough but oddly enough, it hadn’t risen and was kind of cold to the touch.  But never one to stop a task for such trivial problems, I pressed on.  I broke the dough apart and rolled it into little balls and put them in a pan.  I was going to let them rise another hour, but since everything had seemed cold I moved the pan on top of the stove and covered it.  I had preheated the oven to 400 but since these were going to rise for an hour, I turned the oven down to about 250.When I came back after the second rising cycle, I was pleased to see some progress.  The rolls seemed to have risen nicely and it was time to put them in the oven.  Following the directions, I popped them in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.  When the timer went off, I went and checked and they hadn’t even thought of turning brown  yet.

“Hmmm…”, I thought.  “Lets give them another 5 minutes.”  So I reset the timer and went back to the chair.  When the timer went off I checked them again and still they weren’t even close to brown.  I decided to give them yet another 5 minutes.  I set the timer and sat down and then it dawned on me.  I had reduced the oven temperature to 200 when the rolls were rising.  They were never going to cook at this rate!

I raced into the kitchen and turned the temp up to 400, wondering what I was going to finally end up with out of this fiasco.  I gave them about 8 minutes and they were browning on top so I pulled them out.  I pulled out my wooden cutting board to place them on, turned the pan upside down and shook, waiting for the rolls to pop out.  Oddly, the rolls gave no response.  I shook again.  Still no response.  I banged the edge of the pan on the cutting board.  Still nothing.  Then it dawns on me.  I didn’t grease the pan!  I grabbed a spatula and tried to scrape the rolls out of the pan but ended up just ripping things apart.

I looked down at my failure with scorn, but decided I might as well see what the taste and texture is like.  I gathered some of the mush up on a plate, grabbed some jelly and sat down at the table.  They were not the best rolls I’ve had, but they were definitely edible.  I discovered from the taste that to attempt to recreate Donna Blair’s rolls, I would need to add some more sugar (hers were definitely sweeter) and a bit more flour and salt.

All in all it was a worthwhile experiment and I will definitely try again, but probably not until the weather cools in October time frame.

7 Responses to “The Epic Fail of the Dinner Rolls”

  1. David LeDeaux Says:

    Oh Lans …

    Here’s a couple of tips
    Start with warm water. 110 degrees. It kicks the yeast off nicely. Be careful it’s not hotter or the yeast will be killed.

    When you form your dough ball, work the edges of the dough to the bottom side of the ball. I do a “tuck and rotate” thing. You want a smooth ball with no cracks or crevices. The CO2 won’t escape as much on a smooth dough ball.

    Let the dough rise in the oven with the oven light on.

    I always use parchment paper (not wax paper) instead of oil/grease on my pan. It’s so much easier to clean up, healthier and you look like a pro using it.

  2. Taylor Turtle Trecker Hobart Says:

    oh father, you make me laugh! X)

  3. Lans Hobart Says:

    Thanx, David! As soon as it cools off I’m going to try again with your suggestions.

  4. David LeDeaux Says:

    You can’t let the heat stop you. I’m making two loaves tonight and pizza dough for tomorrow.

  5. Lans Hobart Says:

    This is a real challenge for me. I am a pretty good cook, but baking? Not so much. I still maintain that cooking is art and baking is science and I am definitely an artist. =)

  6. David LeDeaux Says:

    All food preparation comes down to science, Lans. Don’t you watch Alton? 😛

  7. Lans Hobart Says:

    Of course…but I learned from my grandmother!

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