|Overnight Refrigerator Rolls|
Do you want hot rolls for a special meal but don't have the time to measure and wait and roll? I have an easy solution for you: overnight refrigerator rolls. Mix, let rise in the refrigerator, and the dough is good for up to four days (I find a maximum of three days is best for the best rise). Take your dough out about 90 minutes before you are planning to serve, roll quickly into little balls and let rise and bake. Easy peasy lemon squeezey. I kid you not.
Some good years back, too many to recount, I received a solicitation from a recipe club or a book company or some such organization to receive laminated recipe cards in the mail every month, along with a handsome box and separator cards identifying each section. Along with this amazing offer I also received some sample recipe cards with drool-worthy photos of the recipe. And among those, was this recipe for overnight refrigerator rolls.
I never did sign up for the recipe cards (I was skeptical that these were the best of the lot--kind of like a movie trailer where they show you the best two minutes of the movie and the rest of the movie is a yawner). Anyway, never mind all that. What's important is that I tried the recipe and I've made it numerous times through the years. Numerous. Almost every holiday. Almost every family gathering. I've made this a lot of times.
They are fluffy and warm and golden brown goodness. And they can be timed to pop into your oven when you take out your roast or casserole (if you happen to be making one) if the oven temperature is different, to let the other food rest while these are baking and then bringing everything to the table all hot and perfect at the same time. Now that's a feat!
(makes 2 dozen rolls)
1 cup of warm water (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 packages active dry yeast (not instant yeast) (4 1/2 teaspoons if going by volume)
1/2 cup butter melted
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 4/1 cups all-purpose flour (may need more less depending upon humidity)
additional butter for brushing on top of finished rolls - optional
In a large bowl, combine the warm water and yeast, proofing the yeast for about five minutes until it's foamy. If it doesn't become foamy, you need to start over; the yeast isn't any good or your water was too hot.
Stir in butter, sugar, eggs, and salt.
Beat in the flour, one cup at a time, until the batter is too stiff to mix, but it will still be kind of goopy, if you know what I mean.
Cover and refrigerate anywhere from 2 hours, up to 4 days.
Grease a 13"x9" baking pan.
Turn the chilled dough out onto a slightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 24 equal-sized pieces. Roll each into a smooth ball. Place balls in even rows in the pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until double in bulk, about one hour. (Allow consideration for the temperature of your room, may take more or less time.)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place rolls in oven and bake until they are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Brush with melted butter if desired. Break apart rolls to serve.
COOK'S NOTES: A couple of thoughts on this recipe. This dough will RISE in the refrigerator, and if you used a bowl that's too small, it will overtake your shelf. No kidding. I have a huge Jadeite mixing bowl I use and it's just about right. It may need to be punched down to keep it in control, grins.
You don't have to bake all two dozen at the same time. Only want or need 8 rolls, then that's all you need to bake. Just use a pan small enough to accommodate them and bake fresh rolls daily. Muffin tins work great, one ball in each muffin cavity and you're good, or if you're feeling fancy, you can make cloverleaf rolls.
And a caveat: The original recipe as I've posted it, says to bake in a 9"x13" pan. Well, I've tried that on a couple of occasions, and for the life of me I cannot get the middle row of buns to thoroughly bake without the outside row of buns being overdone. What I've found to be a much better solution is to do what my grandmother did and that was to use a cake pan, 8 or 10 in a cake pan. I baked 8 in a pan this last time, and I probably should've gone smaller and made 9 or 10. There's no wrong in any of this, just preference.
And a bonus: A friend asked if I cinnamon rolls could be made out of this. Well, I hadn't thought of that. I had the other half of the dough left over from this batch, and I thought, why not. Next morning, I rolled out the dough, spread butter on it, sprinkled generously with sugar and cinnamon, rolled dough into a cylinder, cut into 8 gorgeous slices, let rise, baked, and voila! Cinnamon rolls. A little glaze and we were enjoying nice hot cinnamon rolls for breakfast.