Thanksgiving is one of those times when my dreams of a perfect meal are bigger – way bigger – than the stomachs of the two people in this household, and therefore, I tend to needlessly go all out. Now, that’s not to say that if you want to go all out, Thanksgiving isn’t the perfect time to do so. Because it absolutely is. And this is my justification that despite the fact that we can’t possibly eat all the food I make, I’m going to do it anyway, because I want to.
For me, Thanksgiving is all about the sides. The turkey is almost an afterthought, and probably about my least favorite part of the meal. That’s not saying I don’t love it, I just love it a little less than the rest of the food options. I make turkey every year for 2 reasons: 1) it’s tradition and just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it, and 2) without leftover turkey, I wouldn’t be able to make my super-awesome After Thanksgiving Wreath recipe (which I plan to share with you soon, btw!) So, basically, I make turkey so I can have it as leftovers? Yep. That’s correct.
Now. The sides. This is what it is all about; because the special blend of flavors that is everything Thanksgiving only happens once per year. I mean, honestly, who makes real stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie all together for a single meal, unless it is Thanksgiving? Ummm… no one… just doesn’t happen. So while, you may enjoy a sweet potato, or a slice of pumpkin pie outside of Thanksgiving, it is the medley of flavors blending together bite after bite that makes a Thanksgiving meal a once per year pleasure.
That brings me to these rolls. They are out-of-this-world good. The perfect roll for your Thanksgiving feast. I make these rolls rarely because they take a little bit of work, and they are indulgent. They are not a day-to-day type dinner roll. These are special. And so… they are reserved for special occasions. Basically, Thanksgiving. Sometimes Christmas or Easter, but always Thanksgiving.
If ever a dinner roll could be described as ethereal, these would be it. They are delicate and tender with a rich, slightly sweet flavor. The interior is soft and pillowy, while the exterior has a gold-kissed glow and just a touch of crustiness that creates a delightful contrast in textures. When still warm from the oven, with a little spread of salty-sweet butter melting into the crevices, there is almost nothing better in the world.
Plus! Yes, there is another little perk to these delightful rolls… you can make them ahead of time. Like this weekend… when you actually have a little time to do the hardest part of making these rolls. Then you just freeze them until Thanksgiving, plop them out on a baking sheet, let them thaw/rise for 3-5 hours, and simply bake for 15 minutes. Voila! Homemade rolls, baked fresh on Thanksgiving Day, that actually allow you to focus on everything else you have to do besides make bread! Perfect!
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) dry active yeast
- ⅓ cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
- 9 cups all purpose flour, divided
- 2 cups warm milk (110-115 degrees)
- 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature (or shortening)
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 3-4 tbsp butter, melted
- In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Add 4 cups of flour, milk, butter (or shortening), sugar, eggs, and salt; beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth.
- Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board; knead lightly until smooth and elastic.
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2-3 hours (or 60 minutes for quick yeast).
- Punch dough down. Divide into four equal parts. Roll each into a 12 inch circle. Brush with melted butter. Cut each circle into 12 pie-shaped wedges; roll each wedge up from the wide edge to the tip of the dough, pinching to seal. Place the rolls, tip down, on baking sheets; freeze immediately.
- When frozen, place the rolls in freezer bags and keep frozen until needed.
- To bake, place the rolls on greased baking sheets; thaw 5 hours or until doubled in size (time will be a little less for quick yeast). Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove from the baking sheets and serve immediately or cool on wire racks.
I like to let my bread rise in the oven. I turn the oven on to warm for about 5 minutes, then turn the oven off and place my dough, covered into the oven to let it rise. It is the perfect warm, draft-free place!