1 tablespoon lard, shortening, butter, margarine, ghee, olive oil or vegetable oil.
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar, molasses, brown sugar, powdered sugar or honey.
1 teaspoon table salt, or sea salt.
1 heaping tablespoon or 1 package active dry yeast or 1/2 cup of sourdough starter.
1 cup milk, half milk and half water, or half milk and half potato water, or half water and half potato water, or all water.
3 to 4 cups of white or whole wheat flour, or 2 cups white flour and 1 to 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Substitute oat, rice, barley or any other flour for up to a cup of wheat flour.
Warm the liquid (don't let it get too hot to comfortably stick your finger in); add the fat. If you're using solid fat, let it melt.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt and yeast, then pour the liquid with the fat into it. Mix well and add a cup or so of flour, mix again and put it, covered, in a warm place. Go have a cup of coffee or sweep the floor while it begins to work.
In about a half hour, it should be bubbly and smell pleasantly yeasty or like your sourdough starter. If it's not yet, wait another half hour or so. Stir it down gently and begin adding flour (use a wooden spoon if you have one) until it becomes a soft dough, still a little sticky.
Flour a board or smooth table top generously and turn the dough onto it and knead it, adding flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and silky to the touch. This should take about 5 minutes, maybe more. If you enjoy kneading, it won't hurt it to knead a little more. Kneading not only smooths the dough, it develops the gluten which holds the mixture together, and allows it to rise.
Kneading is an important step in any bread, and you can laugh if you want to, but steel kneading appliances just don't give it life. The touch of a human hand is necessary - bread making is an art, not a science, and one has to feel their way through from ingredients to finished product to appreciate it.
*instead of frying in the skillet, I put them on a cookie sheet and let them rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. I baked them at 350 until they were beautiful and golden, buttered the tops, and Oh. My. Gosh. Dinner rolls
Thanks, Kim! :D
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