UACES Facebook Bake Up Fresh Homemade Rolls for Christmas
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Bake Up Fresh Homemade Rolls for Christmas

pinching off some dough from a bowl to bake bread
When you are ready to bake your bread, pinch off as much dough as you need from the bowl.


The baking ingredients are the key to getting homemade rolls like grandma used to make. Like most foods you cook, good quality ingredients are important. Luckily you don’t need too many ingredients. In fact, most of the ingredients you need you probably already have.

Yeast is the essential ingredient that makes the dough rise and gives home-baked bread its wonderful taste and aroma. Other ingredients are added to complete the reactions that result in perfect yeast rolls.

In yeast, there are thousands of living plant-like microorganisms. When activated by warm liquid, and fed by starch or sugar, the yeast releases tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas. This gas is what makes the dough rise and achieve its light texture after baking.

There are several types of yeast; active dry yeast, rapid rise yeast, compressed or cake yeast or bread machine yeast. Choose the type which works best for your baking needs.

Flour is an essential ingredient for bread baking. Wheat is the most common type of flour used in bread baking. It includes all-purpose flour, bread flour, and whole wheat flour.

Wheat is rich in gluten, a protein that gives dough its elasticity and strength. When yeast and flour are mixed with liquid, then kneaded or beaten, the gluten forms and stretches to create a network that traps the carbon dioxide bubbles produced by the yeast.

Water is a most important liquid because it dissolves and activates the yeast, and blends with the flour to create a sticky and elastic dough.

Milk, buttermilk, or cream may be added to enhance the flavor or texture. Only add warm liquids to dry ingredients in a recipe, because liquid which is too cool will slow or stop yeast action, and liquid which is too hot will kill the yeast and prevent it from rising.

The ideal temperature ranges are 100 degree F.-110 degree F. when yeast is dissolved in water; 120 degree F-130 degree F when dissolved yeast is added to dry ingredients.

Sweetener is essential in adding the brown color to the bread’s crust, as well as flavor. Brown sugar, honey, or molasses may also be used.

Yeast bread will not work without salt. Salt slows rising time, allowing the flavor of the dough to develop. It also adds structure to the dough by strengthening the gluten, which keeps the carbon dioxide bubbles from expanding too rapidly. 

Eggs add color and flavor to breads. They also help with a tender crust. Some recipes call for eggs to be used as a wash that adds color.

Yeast breads have fat to make the bread moist and tender. Butter, margarine, shortening or oil slows moisture loss, helping bread stay fresh longer. Do not substitute oil for margarine or shortening unless the recipe calls for it.

For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. If you would like a copy of “Rising to the Occasion for the Holidays”  with bread recipes, call our office at 870-779-3609.

This yeast roll recipe is my sister’s recipe that has been passed down to her by her mother-in-law. It is easy to make and can be used to make homemade cinnamon rolls.

Homemade Yeast Rolls

  • 1 package rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 8 cups flour
  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
  2. Cream the shortening and sugar in mixing bowl; add the beaten egg, 2 cups warm water, salt, and yeast mixture. Mix slightly. 
  3. Gradually add flour and mix well. Remove from mixing bowl and knead dough on floured surface.
  4. Place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray and grease top of dough.
  5. Cover with cling wrap or wax paper and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. When ready to use, take as much dough as needed from bowl.
  7. Shape rolls and place in greased pan (pan size will be determined by number of rolls needed-for a small crowd, an 8x8 should work, if cooking for a group you may need a 9x13.) 
  8. Let rise 3 hours and bake in 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes.
  9. Brush lightly with margarine upon removing from oven.
  10. Once cool, remove from the pan and serve.


By Carla Due

U of A System Division of Agriculture
Miller County Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609

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