My third attempt at a new recipe for yeast rolls was my friend Iris’s “Oatmeal Dinner Rolls.” There were two reasons I decided to try these rolls: (1) I’ve really been into oatmeal lately, and (2) I was curious to try a recipe that doesn’t call for milk as the previous two roll recipes I’ve tried included milk.
Step 1 of the recipe told me to soften 4 ½ teaspoons of yeast in 1/3 cup of warm water. In my earlier roll attempts, I’ve had trouble getting my yeast to “bubble” or become frothy, so this time I made sure the water was warmer than the last time I softened yeast, and I also let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. It worked! My yeast was frothy and bubbly just like I wanted.
Step 2 went well. I melted butter in a bowl, then added the oatmeal and 2 cups of boiling water. Next I mixed in the sugar, salt, and 2 cups of flour (that is, 1 ½ whole wheat flour and ½ cup white flour).
Step 3 turned out to be an ordeal. First, I added the yeast mixture immediately after completing step 2. As a result, the mixture was really, really hot when I began to add more flour to it. In fact, I had to add almost all of the flour just to cool the dough enough to handle it. Then I had to add the rest of it—all of it—as I kneaded because the dough was so sticky. During this stage, I began to freak out because I just can’t tolerate sticky hands. At one point this scene happened:
“Chris, please—come help me!”
“I need you to pour flour for me!”
“Please! My hands are sticky!”
“Your hands are sticky?”
“I can’t get the dough off!”
“So you need me to pour flour on something …”
“Pour it on the dough! Pour it on the dough! If you flour on the dough, then I can get this stuff off my hands!”
“Okay, it’s done.”
“Oh, THANK GOD!!!!”
And there were a lot of other similar exclamations during this process.
Part of the problem I had with the kneading was that I tried to knead the dough on floured wax paper, but the wax paper slid all over the place and also stuck to the dough. So then I had to resort to flouring and kneading the dough on my oven, because it was the only surface I had big enough to work on. By the end of the kneading process, I was something of a wreck. So yesterday, I purchased a pastry mat from Amazon.com.
Anyway, on to Step 4. Jonah, in for the fun of watching his mother act like a maniac with her hands covered in flour and sticky dough, enjoyed this part. He watched me dump the giant mound of dough (remember, I added all five cups of flour) into a greased glass mixing bowl and cover it up. Then I told him we had to wait an hour for it to rise. At the end of an hour, the dough had risen up above the top of the mixing bowl, and Jonah got to punch it down. I kind of wish I’d gotten to punch it myself. Stupid dough!
Next I formed the dough into rolls and placed them in two 9×13 pans. I wound up with 40 rolls, not 48. Next I brushed each roll with melted butter. Then I tried to let the rolls rise a second time, but they hadn’t changed after 15 minutes, so I went ahead and baked them as directed, for approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
The finished result looked odd to me. They didn’t brown on top, although they browned on the bottom. Unless things are brown on top, I tend to think they’re not done. However, I tasted a roll from each pan, and they were definitely done, and tasty! Just not brown.
I do not know why. It might be partly because the rolls didn’t include milk and partly because they included wheat flour—or even because they were baked at 350 rather than 400. Ultimately, though, I don’t have an explanation.
We had plenty of rolls for dinner plus enough to freeze for two-three future meals. Also, Chris’s friend Drew ate about a half dozen at dinner, which was reassuring. And, I ate some for dinner last night, after they’d been sitting on the kitchen counter in a bag for two days—still yummy.
Given my aversion to touching sticky dough, these rolls were tough to make. But a challenge is good for me. And, because they taste so good, I will make them again, with some adjustments, including letting the base dough cool down before adding the rest of the flour and using a pastry mat to knead the dough.
Oatmeal Dinner Rolls
From Iris Goodding
Makes 48 rolls. Freeze them right after baking to keep a fresh tasting roll on hand for a quick meal enhancement!
1/3 cup warm water (about the temperature of baby bath water)
2 pkg. Yeast (equivalent to 4 ½ tsp of bulk yeast)
3 Tbsp. butter or oil
1 cup oats, quick or regular
2 cups boiling water
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 tsp. Salt
5 cups flour (I prefer 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour in this)
- Soften yeast in 1/3 cup warm water in a bowl.
- In another bowl, melt butter and soften oatmeal in the 2 cups of boiling water. Add sugars, salt and 2 cups flour. (I recommend putting the whole wheat in the first mix).
- Add yeast mixture and knead in enough flour to make dough smooth and elastic. Let rise until double (1–2 hours*).
- Form into rolls and bake 20–30 min. at 350 degrees. These will go in a jelly roll pan, two 9×13 pans or four round cake pans.
Note: Keep a close eye on these as they bake. They are done when they are golden brown on the tops. You want to avoid over cooking them. Some days I find that they don’t take long to bake, and other days they take longer.
*Usually one hour is just about right. I have done only 1/2 hour before in a pinch. Also you can let it rise longer. You might want to punch it down after an hour. If you let it rise too long (3 or 4 hours) it might begin to taste “yeasty.” For the most part, bread is pretty forgiving if you don’t do exactly as the recipe says.