I know you're really busy, now more than ever since you and your Tall Man are expecting your second child. Sorry, I don't mean to shout, but I'm very excited. See, I've never successfully baked bread before. I have a powerful and yes, irrational, fear of yeast. But your post on November 25, 2008 changed that. At the time, my kitchen was under construction, but this recipe, and the ease with which it can be made, was burned into my memory, which is normally not a good place to store information I'll need later.
We have foaming!
In a fit of kicking myself over not having joined the Bread Bakers Apprentice group now that they're closed to new members, that little voice in the back of my head (the one I usually ignore) said "Why not just make Anne's rolls?"
Why not indeed. So I did. Most normal people wouldn't start making rolls at 8 PM, but I did. At 11:37, the intoxicating smell of baking yeast rolls wafted through my home. I knew they would need to cool off some before I could test them, so I waited a full minute. I know, I'm very patient.
I made the plain ones and goodness are they tasty! In fact I ate...several...of them before staggering off to bed. I know, not a good idea, but I hadn't eaten dinner. That was my rationalization and it worked for me. I ate one after screaming cats woke me up at 4:30 AM and it was infinitely better than the ones I scarfed down when they came out of the oven. I ate others with grainy mustard and sliced turkey. Still others with Trader Joe's Apple Cranberry Chutney. They were all fabulous.
Anne, I can't tell you how excited and, yes, emotional I was. This was conquering a lifelong belief that I couldn't make yeast breads. Too hard. Too finicky. Requires big muscles. Requires the bread gene, which I was born without. Thank you from the bottom of my bread loving heart.
Ever since Anne at Anne Strawberry wrote about these rolls and how easy they are, I planned to make them one day. At the time, I had a good excuse not to because the kitchen was being renovated. But the kitchen has been done for more than 6 months, and still no foray into the world of yeast that I fear so much.
Anne's recipe is so accessible and idiot proof (and therefore perfect for moi) that it requires no big muscles, hauling out the KitchenAid, or special flour. All you need is a couple of bowls, a fork and a baking sheet. Because Anne assured me that anyone could do it, I felt calm and in control (which I normally feel in the kitchen, but this is yeast, my nemesis). Because I started this odyssey at 8 PM, I cheated a little and used the "bread proof" cycle on my oven because the second rise was taking forever (not really, but it was 10:15, and I was tired). That made the second rise go much faster.
Since M. was still out of town and not due back for a few more days, I froze one third of the unbaked rolls (before the second rise), and I refrigerated the other third. Both of these batches sprung back to life when left at room temperature and were identical to the ones I baked fresh. Well, except the frozen batch. I brushed them with garlic butter before baking them, so they were nice and garlicky.
If you've struggled with yeast doughs before, try Anne's recipe. It's so easy, even I could do it. And that's saying something.