UACES Facebook Easy Refrigerator Rolls for the Holidays
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Easy Refrigerator Rolls for the Holidays


For as long as I can remember, we always have homemade bread during our Thanksgiving dinner. The aroma from baked bread fills the house, and that melt in your mouth taste … I can almost smell and taste it now.

There are two types of yeast breads: short breads and kneaded breads. Short breads are easier to make because they do not require kneading the dough. The dough is mixed with an electric mixer, placed in a pan to rise once, and baked. This type of bread will have a coarse texture and pebbly surface.

Kneaded breads are when the dough is kneaded and ingredients are distributed evenly. Kneading develops the gluten in flour, which provides strength, elasticity and structure to the bread. Kneading gives bread an even texture and a smooth rounded top. Kneading can be done by hand, with a heavy-duty mixer with a bread hook, or with a heavy-duty food processor. Kneaded breads are usually shaped and usually require two risings.

I love to make yeast bread that requires kneading. It is therapeutic and relaxing, although when first starting in my bread baking adventures, I had many failures. Many times the bread wouldn’t rise, or my bread would be “tough”.

Some individuals are reluctant to make yeast bread because handling affects the results of baked goods. If you want to make yeast bread for the holidays, here are some tips that will help take the mystery out.

Make sure your yeast is fresh. Check the expiration date and discard any that has expired.  Expired yeast will not become active and the bread will not rise.

If you have rapid or quick rise yeast in the pantry, it can be substituted for regular yeast, just reduce the rise time by one half.

If you are unsure about the freshness of your yeast, test it before beginning. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in one half cup of warm water (110 to 115 degrees F.). Slowly sprinkle one packet of yeast into the water. Stir the mixture and set a timer for 10 minutes. In 3 to 4 minutes, the yeast should have absorbed enough liquid to activate and will come to the surface.

If at the end of 10 minutes, the yeast has multiplied to the 1-cup mark and has a rounded crown, it's still very active and fresh and can be used in your recipe. Remember to deduct the one half cup of water used for the test from the total liquid used in the recipe. This process is sometimes referred to as "proofing the yeast."

Use a food thermometer to determine the temperature of liquids. Yeast is a living organism. If the liquid in is too hot, it will kill the yeast cells. If it's too cold, the yeast will remain dormant and won't raise the dough. Use very warm liquid (120 to 130 degrees F.) if the active dry yeast will be added to dry ingredients. If it's to be added to liquid ingredients, use warm liquid (110 to 115 degrees F.).

Once the bread has been made and it is time to raise, place the dough in a warm spot to rise. Yeast dough’s rise or "proof" best when the temperature is 80 to 85 degrees F. To make sure the dough is warm enough, cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and then cover with a clean dish towel. Place the bowl on a wire rack over a pan of hot water in a draft-free spot, or place the bowl on the top rack of an unheated oven. Put a pan of hot water on the rack below it.

Once the dough has risen you may want to test it to make sure that it has risen sufficiently. When you think the dough has doubled in size, lightly poke two fingers about one half inch into the dough. If the indentations remain, the dough has risen enough.

As you bake for the holidays, why not start a family tradition at your house with home made yeast rolls. This recipe has been used in our family for as long as I can remember. It can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until you need the dough. Try it yourself for the holidays. 

Grandma Browns Refrigerator Rolls

2 cups very warm water (120 to 130 degrees F.)

1/2-cup sugar

1-tablespoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

2 packages yeast

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1-teaspoon sugar

2 eggs, beaten

8 cups all-purpose flour, sifted


Mix 2 cups warm water, sugar, salt and shortening. Dissolve yeast in one fourth cup lukewarm water and 1-teaspoon sugar. Add to first mixture. Add beaten eggs slowly and carefully.  Stir in flour, one cup at a time blending thoroughly until dough is smooth. Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth. Place in large buttered bowl. Cover bowl and set in refrigerator, use as needed. Knead dough every time you use it. Make dough in rolls and let rise until double in size, about one hour. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until brown. Brush lightly with melted butter once removed from oven if desired.

 For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at

By Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609


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