The Dinner Roll Challenge

I’ve come to the conclusion that my kitchen is going to remain in a state of disarray until after the holiday season.

What can I say.  I’m a messy cook.

I’m trying to convince my husband — who is a bit of a neat freak — that beauty can be found in the messiest of places.  That brown sugar spilling over the sides of a measuring cup can be viewed as a gritty, sticky mess… or as a scoopful of sweet, sparkling chrystals.  😉

My holiday cooking hasn’t even officially started yet.

I guess you could say that I’m just in practice mode to make sure that I’ve still got the knack.  I spent Friday evening baking molasses cookies for my Pepere… and trying to ignore the fact that I have two weeks left to learn how to make homemade, dinner rolls.

No pressure.

It’s no secret that I love to bake, but I’ll be honest.

Bread scares me.

I come from a long line of amazing bread bakers, starting with my Memere who would pull warm, homemade rolls from the oven on a weekly basis. They were perfect.  Crispy and browned on the outside — with a chewy, fluffy center —  they would easily melt thick pats of butter and bring a sigh of complete happiness from children and grandchildren alike.

(And, no, bread machines were not used.  It was all from scratch, right down to kneading by hand and rising dough in a warm, dry corner of the house).

My mom took over the bread making tradition, as though she had been born for the part.  I, on the other hand, have ruined more breads than I care to remember…. or admit.

But the moment of truth has arrived.

Nate’s mother asked me to bring dinner rolls to Christmas dinner this year.  She, of course, expects me to come with purchased rolls.  I, of course, know that I have never brought a purchased dessert or side to any holiday dinner.

It’s a matter of pride.  (A trait I did quite successfully inherit from my Memere).

Nate knew what it meant when he saw that handwritten list, which asked me to bring twenty dinner rolls to dinner.  It meant two weeks of a flour covered kitchen.  And it meant fourteen days of complete torture or amazing success.

Can I pull it off?  Let’s hope it’s not any more complicated than making molasses cookies.

Oh, wouldn’t that be nice!

Just to be safe, however, I will have a bag or two of dinner rolls purchased in time for Christmas. Hopefully they’ll end up in the freezer, as apposed to becoming a part of the Christmas dinner spread.

But I came to the conclusion that the possibility of letting my pride go for one day would be better than not having any rolls at all.  😉

Let the fun begin!

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6 Responses to The Dinner Roll Challenge

  1. fivereflections says:

    what a messy baker 🙂 (i’m teasing)

  2. Baking bread freaks me out too. Big time. Good luck!!

  3. Rob Rubin says:

    This is what they make Pillsbury for. No one will know.

  4. Do you have the recipe already? If not, let me know. There’s a good one in the Bread Baker’s Apprentice cookbook that I can e-mail to you.
    The thing I like about making dinner rolls is that they’re very easy. First, they only take about a day because the dough is so enriched that it doesn’t really benefit from any sort of prefermentation. Secondly, the dough is ideal to work with by hand — not too lean, or too sticky, or too wet. Third, they have an amazing sweetness to them and they taste a million times better than anything store bought. Honestly, even if you f them up, people will still love them.

    • Nicole says:

      I’m going to try my mom’s recipe first… but I’ll totally take your recipe just in case! Ha, ha. I’m determined to try a couple times if my first attempt doesn’t succeed! Thank you! (nicole_leb@hotmail.com)

  5. Sarah says:

    I love that brown sugar photo. Something about it screams cozy to me. Or maybe I just really want a molasses cookie (very likely.)

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