Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I thought it would be fun to share these little clover pillows with you in celebration.
Can you believe it’s already the middle of March? January was painfully slow, but it feels like the last month and a half have gone by in double time. I find myself cooking even lighter and healthier as summer approaches, so I am welcoming today’s high of 71° with arms wide open.
Paul and I road tripped to visit my parents and grandparents last weekend, into the frozen tundra that was Wisconsin. It was a balmy 25°. You almost didn’t need a second coat. We hadn’t seen my family since Christmas and it was so nice to spend a relaxing weekend with them. I also got to spend some time in the kitchen with my mom. We cooked in our jammies with a fire by the table, and she taught me how to make these dinner rolls that my great grandma taught HER how to make years and years ago.
That’s one of my favorite things about cooking. It’s a special thing to pass down a family recipe. To hear stories about what she was like in the kitchen, and how she taught my mom to knead bread. To spend time with my mom doing something that we both love and enjoy. Some recipes require special ingredients to bring together a wonderful dish. Other recipes, like homemade rolls, are basic ingredients that require special technique. For me, the easiest way to learn these recipes is to WATCH, and to practice. You’ll see below that I included some videos of my mom working, so that you too can watch and learn the technique it takes to deliver the perfect roll.
The recipes starts by mixing warm water, sugar, and yeast. After you’ve combined the ingredients you need to let it sit for approximately five minutes so that the yeast can activate. The picture below shows activated yeast that is ready for flour.
Next you can add in just 3 cups of flour, flax, oil, your egg, and salt. Mix on low until just stirred in. You are not “beating” these ingredients, you are simply combining them. Add your next 4 1/2 cups of flour one cup at a time. Use your hand and a wooden spoon to stir in the last cup, as the mixture will be thick. Place a baking mat on the counter and sprinkle with flour, then place your dough on top. The video below shows how my mom gently pushes and folds the dough over, adding a little flour as she needs, until it is rounded, or as my great grandma used to say, “looks like a baby’s bottom.”
I want to be honest with you guys and tell you that the first time I kneaded bread, my dough was definitely a little lumpier than my mom’s. The rolls still tasted fine, they just didn’t look as pretty as her’s and weren’t quite as soft. These things take practice you guys. The huge trend right now is simple recipes. Recipes you can fit into a one minute video. One pot and one pan recipes. And I love them!! But I’ve noticed in some cases, that certain recipes seem to be almost downgraded, because taking out a “complicated” step makes it easier to video. I love doing easy recipes and little videos, if you’ve been following me you’ve noticed that I’ve already done a couple, but I don’t want to shy away from recipes like this just because they take a little practice. What I’m trying to say, is that you CAN make these, and they will turn out GREAT! Just don’t be disheartened if your dough doesn’t look like you’ve been doing this for a decade in a bakery.
When your dough is formed, place into a buttered, large, round bowl and cover with a flour towel. Set it in the warmest part of your house, and let it rise for one hour. Note: your dough is going to double in size as it rises, make sure your bowl is large enough to accommodate. When your dough has risen, remove from the bowl, and place back on your baking mat. We will now form the rolls by making three clovers each, based on the video instructions below. [Pro tip: coat your fingers with butter before you start to help form the dough into balloons!]
Cover your dinner rolls and let rise for 15 minutes until they are the pillowy doughballs of perfection that you see below.
If you don’t want to make these dinner rolls as clovers, you can just roll them out and use a glass to cut out regular rolls! My mom proved that you don’t actually need a rolling pin to do this…she grabbed a glass out of the cabinet and when she started rolling, laughing, I asked, “Mom do you not have a rolling pin? Do you need me to buy you one?” She does. Apparently, when her and my dad were newly married, she didn’t own a rolling pin, and all she had to use was a glass. Now it’s just the way rolls get made in the Tindall house. I suppose whatever you have to do to gently roll out your dough an inch thick will do!
Side note: My parents actually have windows and natural light in their house, so I got a little excited with picture taking this weekend. It’s a lot easier to photograph there, than in the dark cave of a kitchen I work in. Hence five times more pictures, and bonus videos, than my regular posts 🙂
Your rolls will bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes until golden on top. I topped my roll with butter and the most amazing creamed raspberry honey that my mom got from a local farm in Iowa. I have no idea where you can find some, but if you ever come across it, buy three. As I went to pull butter from the fridge to set up my table, she instructed that I needed to grab the “good butter,” and in her true Irish fashion, proceeded to pull Kerrygold out of the fridge.
- 2½ cup warm water
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 packages of yeast
- 7½ cups flour divided
- ½ cup flax seed flakes (optional)
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp salt
- Mix water, sugar, and yeast together in a large stand mixer
- Let sit for 5 minutes to let yeast activate
- Add in 3 cups of flour, flax, oil, egg, and salt
- Mix together on low until just combined
- Add in remaining flour, one cup at a time, mixing the last cup in by hand
- Place dough on a floured baking mat
- Knead dough by pushing and folding it over, adding ½ tbsp of flour at a time as you go, careful not to overknead, until your dough is smooth and round on top
- Cover with a flour towel and let rise for one hour
- Remove risen dough from bowl and preheat oven to 350°
- Take a small strip of dough and gently fold it down to create a balloon (do not roll into balls). Place clovers/"balloons" in groups of 3 in a large muffin pan
- When all your rolls are formed, cover and let rise for 15 minutes
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top