Tag Archives: dough

The Gentleman’s Sweet Roll Dough – for the softest pillow of a dinner roll you’ve ever had

Fluffy pillows of beautiful yeast dough.

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I am in the minority here, but I am not a big bread eater. I know, I know, shut up, etcetera. I know some ladies very close to me who can mow down some french loaf like they’re going to the electric chair. I shan’t name names.

I have one exception. My Mawmaw used to make these insane yeast rolls when I was a kid. Despite her continually worsening Rheumatoid Arthritis, she made these rolls for every family gathering.

As I got older and took on the challenge myself, I realized that there was no way in hell she was following that recipe from the old Betty Crocker cookbook that this recipe supposedly came from. No possible way. To the laboratory!

I know she used butter flavor Crisco. Crisco, are you my sponsor yet? The bill is on the way. After a few years of meddling with it, this is the closest I have come. This asks for 1/2 cup of sugar; if you’re making a true sweet roll (like cinnamon), up that to 2/3 cup.

This is the basic recipe that makes delicious, buttery rolls, but there will be many more recipes to follow for which this is the base.

Diametrically opposed fat sources.

What you need:

  • 5 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2  teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup water, at exactly 115 degrees
  • ½ cup lukewarm milk, scalded then cooled*
  • ½ cup sugar (yes, more, it makes more sense to write it this way)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 1/3 cup good quality butter, softened
  • approximately 3 ½ cups all purpose flour**

*Put milk in a sauce pan. Whisk and gradually bring just to a boil. Turn heat off.

**Air moisture makes a difference; high humidity areas will require a touch more flour. 

Dissolve the yeast with the 2 tablespoons of sugar in 115 degree water. It will foam up.

Add scalded milk, remaining sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and butter.

In the bowl of a mixer, using the hook attachment, add 2 ½ cups of flour. Beat into a soft ball. Add remaining flour. Dough should be an easy to handle but slightly damp ball.

Flour a board, a piece of stone or other hard flat surface. Put the dough ball on the floured surface and knead, knead, knead until it’s elastic. You are going to have to put some muscle into it. It will take 5 minutes. Consider this your exercise.

Spray cooking spray in a decent size bowl. Hopefully your dough is a pretty, even ball. Put the ball into the greased bowl; cover with a towel and place in a warm location.

Allow the dough to rise to at least double – an hour and a half at least. Longer is better.  But you’ll know it’s ready when you can smash your thumb into it and the print remains.

Punch down the dough. Shape into desired shapes or sweet rolls. Allow to rise again, covered, at least half an hour. It should expand to about 2/3 of its original size.

For traditional rolls, brush with butter and salt the tops judiciously.

Bake in a 400 degree oven. Start checking at 10 minutes. You will likely need to rotate them in the oven. Bake till just brown – don’t overcook.

Here’s the printable PDF: The Gentleman’s Sweet Roll Dough

Now, butter one up and stuff your face!

Happy carb loading.


The Gentleman Caller

Perfect Pie Crust

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Kwana – Hannu – Christmas Corridor is here! Time to spread love and cheer! And glut ourselves on fatty carbs! Ahhh, thank the baby Jesus in the manger for elastic waistbands.

Pie is one of the many tools of the devil for me. I love pie. I LOVE PIE. Actually, I like well-executed pie. And I can be a pretty critical taster. As a pie critic, I feel it’s my duty to provide you readers a tool to add to your arsenal. Pie crust is a skill one evolves, but this basic recipe will help you in your plight for pie perfection.

Warning: I am going to use Crisco. Don’t throw your computer out the window or block my site. Give it a try. I shall be waiting here to gloat when you’re ready to concede how good it is.

This recipe is for a double-crust pie or 2 blind bakes.

Here’s what you need!

Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (I like a little more than that personally but that’s just me…) salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes, frozen
  • 1/2 cup (half a log) butter flavor Crisco, cut into pieces, frozen
  • 1/3 cup cold water with two ice cubes in it

This is a deceptively easy list of ingredients, isn’t it?

Sift dry ingredients into the bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and Crisco. Pulse judiciously, about 8 seconds worth of pulsing. (See video for visual in the Holiday Apple Pie post.)

Pour water in a slight stream through the feed tube while pulsing. Add just enough – if it’s humid you might need only a quarter cup. If it’s dry you might need almost half a cup.  This is where judgement comes into the mix. It should not be dry, but shouldn’t be wet or tacky, and you must not process it more than 30 seconds. You can test this by squeezing a little ball together and seeing if it sticks.

Form two equal size balls. Avoid touching it too much or kneading/overworking it. Flatten into disks. Wrap with plastic or put into Ziploc bags.


See the flecks of frozen butter still intact? That’s your goal.

Put your wrapped disks into the fridge for at least an hour! These also freeze really well for future use.

See Holiday Pie entry for further inspiration.

That’s it for now.


The Gentleman Caller