a.k.a. Betsy Cole’s Never-Fail Bread Rolls
Betsy’s take on her recipe–“It’s a fairly standard recipe and I got it from a friend”*–fails to express the mystique this roll has acquired in my family. Let’s face it: something magical happens when fat, sugar, salt, refined flour, and happy memories work in concert.
*Betsy’s daughter informs me that Betsy thinks of these as “Anne Southworth’s Rolls.” I wonder what name Anne attached to them . . .
Stir the yeast into 1 cup warm water. While it dissolves, melt 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening in the microwave, and pour them into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add to the melted fat 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 cup of room-temperature water, and 2 eggs. Beat till combined.
Add water and yeast mixture. Beat till combined.
Add 6 cups of white flour. Knead with the dough hook for 5 minutes. If it’s not forming a ball and cleaning off the sides of the bowl, add a little more flour–up to 1/2 cup. Knead 3 more minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl and dump onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand for a minute before forming into a ball and returning to the bowl.
Cover and let rise on the counter till double. Then refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24.
Now comes the fun part: form into rolls. I weigh mine out to about 50 grams per roll, push my thumb in the center and purse the edges into the center around it, creating a taut ball. Place on a greased pan seam-side down. They fill a half sheet pan: seven down and five across for a total of 35.
Let rise at least 2 hours–until puffed and touching each other. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. The interior temperature of the dough should be at least 190–but it’s forgiving if you overbake a little, on account of all the fat. Yum.