This recipe is transcribed from one of my Grandmother’s old cook books, given to her by her mother. I’ve written it down here as a way to preserve it, and also because I strongly believe that some dishes are best in their simplest form. When learning to cook anything new, I like to begin with the traditional method before experimenting with my own take on things. All ingredients and instructions are as written in the original text.
Milk, 2 cups
Shortening (part of all butter or margarine), 1/4 cup
Sugar, 1/4 cup
Salt, 2 teaspoons
Yeast, 2 packages
Water, warm, 1/4 cup
Enriched flour, sifted, 5 to 6 cups
Bring milk to a boil, add shortening, sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm.
Sprinkle yeast over warm water. After 5 minutes, stir and combine with cooled milk mixture; add about half the flour; beat well. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough; mix thoroughly.
Turn out on lightly floured board, cover with mixing bowl and let rest 10 minutes, until smooth and satiny.
Place dough in a warm greased bowl; brush surface very lightly with melted fat; cover and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 F.) about 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Do not punch down. Turn out on board and shape into rolls as directed below.
Place on a greased baking sheet; cover and let rise 1/2 to 3/4 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Brush with milk, melted fat, diluted egg white or diluted egg yolk. Bake in a moderate oven (375 F) 15 to 20 minutes.
Biscuit Rolls: Roll 1/2 inch thick; cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter.
Bowknots: Roll pieces of dough into ropes about 1/2 inch in diameter and 6 to 8 inches long; tie each length loosely into a knot.
Cloverleaf Rolls: Shape dough into tiny balls; dip in melted fat and place 3 balls in each section of a greased muffin pan.
Crescents: Roll 1/4 of the dough into a circle about 9 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick, marking with a cake or pie pan to obtain an exact circle. Cut into 10 or 12 wedge-shaped pieces and roll each jelly-roll fashion, beginning at the round edge. Place on greased baking sheet with point of dough on the bottom. Curve each roll into crescent shape on the baking sheet.
Hot-Dog and Hamburger Rolls: Roll dough 1/2 inch thick; cut with a large biscuit cutter. For frankfurter rolls, let stand, covered, about 15 minutes, then gently stretch rounds into oval shape.
Poppy-Seed Braids: Roll pieces of dough into slender ropes about 1/4 inch in diameter and 12 to 14 inches long. Braid 3 ropes together; cut off into desired lengths and press ends together firmly. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Rose Rolls: Follow directions for bowknots. After tying, bring one end up and through center of knot and other end over the side and under.
Kirk, Dorothy, ed. Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book. New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1953. Print.