Why Old Fashioned Yeast Rolls? Let me explain. We were visiting our family last Thanksgiving, relishing in the fact that we weren’t responsible for the feast. While staying out of the way and witnessing all that was going on in the kitchen, I was fascinated as I watched my stepdaughter prepare these old-fashioned yeast rolls. It was a recipe that had been passed down in the family for many generations.
Modern day Yeast Rolls, also commonly referred to as Quick Rolls or Parker House Rolls date back to the 16th century. The first English version of this recipe was printed in 1588 in “The Good Huswifes Handmaide.” At that time, these old-fashioned yeast rolls were called Manchet, Manchette or the French word Michette. The name referred to a wheaten yeast bread of very good quality, a bread that is small enough to hold in your hand.
With many variations, these old-fashioned yeast rolls were particularly popular with the English Tudor Court. Because of the high quality of flour needed to make these rolls, it was rare to find this kind of bread in households outside of the aristocracy.
Today that isn’t an issue and the ability to make them in our home is very easy. Now without further ado let’s start making these old-fashioned yeast rolls.
Old Fashioned Yeast Rolls
Ingredients: Makes 24 Dinner Rolls
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup butter softened or cut into pieces
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 ½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 to 2 tablespoons melted butter
Put on an apron, it helps. Gather and measure all your ingredients. Butter 2 – 9’ x 13” baking-pans. Butter a large bowl. Set both aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of flour and all the yeast.
In a 1 quart saucepan add the milk, butter, salt and sugar, stir and heat just until it’s warm, not hot. DO NOT boil. Once the milk mixture is warm, whisk the flour and yeast mixture until smooth and combined.
Using a stand mixer, pour the starter (flour and milk mixture) into the mixing bowl. Add eggs. Using a regular beater, beat ½ minute at low speed. Increase the speed to high and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Change the beater to a dough hook and then add 1 cup of flour beating for 1 minute. Add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until it reaches a soft doughy consistency.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and satiny to the touch, about 2 to 3 minutes. Place the dough in the prepared buttered bowl; brush the top and sides of the dough with melted butter. Cover with a clean cloth and place in a warm location and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
Remove the cloth and punch down the dough. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and then cut into quarters. Cut and form 6 dough balls from each quarter making 24 dough balls in all. Place the formed balls into the two prepared pans (12 in each pan), cover and let rise for about 1 hour or until they’ve doubled in size.
Remove from the oven; brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter. Pull apart and place in a bread basket and serve immediately. Store any leftover yeast rolls in a plastic bag. To reheat the rolls, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and warm at 325° F for 2 to 5 minutes.
Notes: I’ll use an unheated oven with the light on to proof the dough. It’s the perfect environment for raising dough. I have a double oven making this an easy thing to do. If you don’t have that luxury, use your oven for the first rise. Then place the unbaked rolls on the counter to rise before baking. They will rise just fine, but it will take a bit longer. If you want larger rolls then make them to the size you desire.
I know you must have laughed when I said put on an apron. Flour is light and will get all over you; an apron helps keep the mess down. A stand mixer is great when making any kind of bread. If you don’t have one, a hand mixer along with a wooden spoon in place of the dough hook will work just fine. However, it will be necessary to knead the dough for at least 5 up to 10 minutes to the right consistency. Kneading ensures the flour will be completely incorporated. These rolls will keep for a bit, if they last that long. As I said before you can reheat them or toast them.
The hardest part of making these old-fashioned yeast rolls is the waiting. The smell of these old-fashioned yeast rolls just out of the oven and all the memories it evoked made them so worth the effort. Now I ask you, how can anyone resist that. I know my neighbors sure couldn’t.
Time to eat…
P.S. P.S. Take a moment to check out my recipe booklets for sale on this site and purchase some of the tools I used for this “Old Fashioned Yeast Rolls” below. 🙂