Sometimes the simplest breads are the ones that give you the greatest pleasure. It's a fact. Sometimes, when your supper consists of nothing more than a nice, thick bowl of soup, or maybe a green, crisp salad filled with all kinds of goodies, the only thing you need to go along with it is a soft, dinner roll. To sop up the soup, maybe. Or the juices from the salad. Not only are rolls like this ideal for simple meals, they are also very easy to make! This recipe is loosely based on two other recipes I found online, from Chef John at www.Foodwishes.com and Laura Vitali at www.Laurainthekitchen.com. and includes a few of my own touches. About 2 hours from start to finish they will surely become part of your repertoire!
Here's what you'll need:
Start with 2 1/4 tsp. of instant yeast dissolved in 1/4 C of warm water. Put it on the side until it starts to bubble (about 10 minutes).
In the meantime, take 1 C of milk and add 3 Tbs of butter to it. Heat this on the stovetop or in the microwave until the butter melts. Put it on the side to cool. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast when we add it in.
Mix together, 1 beaten egg, 2 Tbs sugar, 3/4 tsp salt and 1 C flour. Add this to the yeast mixture along with the milk and melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Then add another cup of flour, and mix it, now using a spatula as it gets thicker. Finally, add another cup of flour (3 in total) to get a soft, sticky dough. Place this dough on a floured board and knead it gently, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking, for 6 or 7 minutes. When it is smooth and elastic, place it in an oiled bowl, and cover, to rise until doubled. This will take maybe an hour and a half or even two hours.
Finally, divide the dough into about 12 equal-sized pieces, and shape them into balls. Place them in a baking pan about 3mm (1/2 in) apart, and cover for the final proofing, about 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350F (180C). Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. To add extra richness, you could brush the rolls with melted butter, when they emerge from the oven and while still hot.
I guarantee you will never buy store bought dinner rolls again after you try these rolls!