We are surviving in trying times. Pandemics, recession, political unrest, high prices on utilities, food, and shelter. These are overwhelming and daunting times. We need stress relief, we need hope, and we must be THANKFUL for the strength that we have. Thankful for our loved ones, our health, and the love we can give and receive. Remember when our families all looked forward to gathering together for reflection and gratitude that we had each other?
“The aroma of the fresh collard greens from Mama’s garden teased our appetites. The tables were laden with platters of ham and turkey, sweet potato pies with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg inside, buttery hot yeast rolls, and an array of vegetables. We gathered together, and hand in hand we prayed. From the tiniest to the tallest, voices spoke of what we were thankfulfor on that special day.”A Sampling of Life one Taste at a time.
I always make it a point to recall and share with my family the wonderful thanksgiving celebrations that we shared. Even though many of our elders are no longer with us, we manage to get together and enjoy each other’s company and the comfort of the meals that we shared, many were recipes of yesteryear. Gather together, reminisce and enjoy ! Remember there is always something to be thankful for. Break bread together.
Like this recipe? Find more in Martha MccCray Wallace’s food memoir, A Sampling of Life, One Taste at a Time.
Mama’s SOFT AND BUTTERY YEAST ROLLS
1 pkg active dry yeast (equals 2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 c warm water
1/3 c white, granulated sugar
`1/4 c butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1 c hot milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 1/2 c sifted all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter, melted (for brushing rolls)
1. Sprinkle yeast over very warm water in large bowl. Stir until yeast dissolves. Leave to foam about 10 minutes.
2. Add sugar, the 1/4 cup butter and salt to hot milk and stir until sugar dissolves and butter is melted.
Cool mixture to 105 to 115 degrees.
3. Add milk mixture to yeast and then mix in egg. Beat in 4 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, to form a soft dough. Use some of remaining 1/2 cup flour to dust a pastry cloth.
4. Knead the dough lightly for 5 minutes. Use remaining flour for flouring pastry cloth and your hands.
5. Place dough in a warm, buttered bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
6. Punch dough down and knead 4 to 5 minutes on a lightly floured pastry cloth. Dough will be sticky, but use as little flour as possible for flouring hands, otherwise rolls will not be as feathery light as they should be.
7. With large knife, cut dough ball into four (4) pieces. Cut each piece into four (4) more pieces OR simply pinch off small chunks of dough and roll into round balls about 1 3/4 inches in diameter. As you roll into balls, pull sides down and under to shape roll. Place bottom side down in neat rows, not quite touching, in well-buttered 13 X 9 X 2 inch pan.
8. Cover rolls and allow to rise in warm place until doubled in bulk; 30 – 45 minutes. When doubled in bulk, brush tops with melted butter and bake in 375 degree F oven for 18 – 20 minutes or until nicely browned. My oven runs hot so I usually bake @ 350 degrees so tops do not brown before rolls are done inside. Adjust your oven temp accordingly.
9. If desired, brush (or bathe!) rolls in more melted butter when they are hot. The butter will sizzle down sides and bottom of rolls for a buttery soft crust.