This recipe yields A LOT of rolls – approximately 3 dozen. I recommend Yie’s method of par-baking a couple dozen and then freezing. This was her secret to a constant supply of fresh rolls within 10 minutes of a request. However, you will find that an entire batch easily disappears especially if one of “the boys” (or my husband in this batch’s case) is nearby.
2 cups milk
2/3 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 packages instant yeast
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 tsp sugar
2 large eggs
9-10 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat until just before it comes to a boil. Do not let the milk boil. In a small bowl, combine the warm milk, oil, salt and 3/4 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of stand mixer combine the two packages of yeast, sugar and warm cup of water. Stir gently with a fork to break up any clumps and let stand 5 minutes or until mixture becomes bubbly. Pour the lukewarm milk mixture into the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine.
3. On low speed, begin to slowly add the flour, one cup at a time until a loose dough forms. There is no precise measurement for the flour as it will vary depending on your individual environment’s humidity, elevation, etc. but it will be somewhere between 9 to 10 cups. The finished dough will be slightly sticky and slack, but still hold together well.
4. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead, incorporating more flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and the counter top. Knead by hand for 6 to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, gently poke your finger into the dough and if the indentation remains but slowly comes back, you have kneaded long enough. Place dough in a large lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm draft-free place and let rise until dough doubles, about 2 hours.
5. After the first rise, gently remove the dough and knead lightly 2 or 3 times on a floured surface to remove any large air pockets. Next, divide the dough into 2 ounce pieces preferably using a kitchen scale. If you do not own a kitchen scale the dough should divide out into roughly 3 dozen small pieces and once shaped, be about 1-1.5 inches in diameter.
6. Shape dough pieces into rolls by either pinching two opposite sides of the dough and then pinching together the other two sides to form a ball. For the second method, spritz your work surface with water for friction and place the piece of dough in the misted water. Cup both of your hands lightly around the dough and with your hands grazing the counter, first nudge the dough back towards your body and then push it away, in a clockwise circular motion. For more details on this shaping method, you can consult the boule shaping video referenced in the posting on Potato Rosemary Bread.
7. Place shaped rolls on greased sheet pans with enough room for them to rise without touching and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly beat one large egg with a splash of water and paint egg wash gently over each roll. Bake rolls for 12-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool finished rolls on a rack and re-warm before serving.
9. To par-bake the rolls simply remove the partially cooked rolls after 7 minutes, let cool, and freeze in heavy duty plastic bags. To finish, place frozen rolls on a greased sheet pan and cook at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Frozen par-baked rolls will keep in your freezer for several months.