Cowboy Dinner Rolls
Bread is an essential part of ranch cooking. Years back, when I worked on the Quien Sabe Ranch, I would feed the cowboys breakfast and lunch during the fall and spring works. I would also menu plan every meal and you could bet that bread and beans would be a part of every dinner.
I always doubled up when making these dinner rolls because they were such a hit. Cowboys were grabbing four or five at a time, and then one on their way out the door. In fact, now that I think about it, I think they preferred these over dessert!
Remember, when making bread, it’s all about the dough. How you knead it, how much water/milk or flour you add, and whether you use good, fresh ingredients. Make sure your yeast is not expired, sift your flour, and never over-knead.
- 1 envelope Active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup very warm water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup scalding hot milk
- 1 egg – lightly beaten
- 4 1/2 cups of sifted all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons of melted butter for brushing rolls
Sprinkle the yeast over very warm water in a large bowl. (water should feel comfortably warm when dropped on wrist) Stir until yeast dissolves.
Add sugar, the 1/4cup butter and salt to hot milk and stir until the sugar dissolves and butter is melted. Cool mixture to 105 to 115 degrees.
Add milk mixture to yeast, then beat in egg. Beat in 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time to form soft dough. Use some of the remaining 1/2 cup flour to dust a pastry cloth. Knead the dough lightly for 5 minutes, working in the remaining flour (use for flouring your cloth and hands).
Place dough in a warm buttered bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hrs.
Punch dough down and knead 4 to 5 minutes on a lightly floured pastry cloth. Dough will be sticky, but use as little flour as possible for flouring your hands and the pastry cloth; otherwise the rolls will not be as feathery light as they should be.
Pinch off small chunks of dough and shape into round rolls. Place in neat rows, not quite touching, in a well-buttered 13x9x2 inch pan. Cover rolls and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 30-45 min.
Brush tops of rolls generously with melted butter, then bake in a 375º oven for 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned.
Serve warm with plenty of butter. I pour melted butter on top of the rolls right when they come out of the oven.
Recipe makes about 2 dozen!