Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thompson Family Dinner Rolls

Many families have their own coveted recipes that have been passed down through the generations. In my family, we have a fabulous recipe for dinner rolls that are delicate, flaky, moist, and flavorful. They are well revered amongst all of my father's side of the family, and we often have them at large family gatherings (partly because we love them and partly because the recipe makes 144 rolls!). The person that makes them for family gatherings is seen as some sort of saint because few people in my family take the time to make them.

I am one of the few family members that dares to make these rolls. I don't think they are particularly difficult or labor-intensive, but the recipe is a two-day process. If you want to make these but don't often have large gatherings, go ahead and make the entire recipe. It's worth it because they take so long, and they freeze and reheat extremely well. You will have easy go-to dinner rolls on nights where you need some sort of starchy side in a hurry.

The dough itself is also quite versatile. We have another recipe for cinnamon rolls that uses the dough from this recipe. I'm sure you can use it in many other applications that call for a basic dinner roll dough, like monkey bread.

Without further ado, here is the recipe! I am pretty much copying the words verbatim from the recipe card, and I think you will find some of the instructions amusing. If there's something that needs further explanation from me, I will put it in parentheses after the instruction.

Grandmother Thompson's Prize Rolls

  • 4 cups milk (scalded in a pan)
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  1. Cream sugar and crisco together, then add 1 cup of mashed potatoes and mix well. Mix in the hot milk, and cool until luke warm.
  2. Add in first cup of flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and yeast. Mix well. Add another 5 cups of flour and mix. Let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  3. Add the next 6 cups of flour by hand, kneading in the last two. Knead the dough for 30-45 minutes until it feels like velvet. (I definitely do not knead the dough for 30 minutes. I think 15-20 minutes is fine. It takes longer because there is a lot of dough. Just make sure you have a smooth and not very sticky dough and it works fine).
  4. Let stand in a lightly greased bowl in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours (this step is crucial. It gives the rolls amazing flavor).
  5. Take the dough out of the fridge and punch down. Pull out a large handful of dough at a time and roll into a rectangle of 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into triangles and roll up into crescents. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375-400ºF for 10-15 minutes or until browned (use the higher heat if you are at a higher altitude). 


Barbara said...

Hi Aly, this is Barb, Mary Thompson's sister. I've been hearing about these rolls for years and they look delish. I will try them soon and love your blog.

telesma said...

Very nice. I pinned this for later so I don't forget about it, you might get some traffic from that. :)

Kathy said...

Lovely recipe. My family loves crescent rolls, but we've never made them homemade~ have got to try this

Kemi said...

This looks delish! For the mashed potatoes is it boxed mashed potato mix or an actual potato mashed? I hope my question made sense.

Aly Cat said...

Kemi, you could probably use either. I have never used the boxed with this, but as long as you get the same general consistency you should be fine. The starch in the potato is what matters in the baking process. It gives the dough a special texture.

Kemi said...

Oh, I get it. Great because I hardly ever buy boxed mix. I think I'm going to try and make these rolls for dinner tomorrow. :)

Aly Cat said...

Kemi, that's awesome! Glad you're going to try them. Let me know what you think.