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, 1 cup
Shortening (part or all butter or margarine), 1/3 cup
Sugar, 1/2 cup
Salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons
Yeast, 2 packages
Water, warm, 1/4 cup
Enriched flour, sifted, about 5 cups
Eggs, beaten, 2
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; add the beaten eggs; beat well. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough; mix thoroughly.
Turn out on lightly floured board and knead about 10 minutes, or 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. Turn out on a 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.
Butterfly Rolls: Roll dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches wide. Brush with melted butter or margarine and roll jelly-roll fashion. Cut in 2-inch widths. Make a depression down the center of each piece, using a small wooden handle for the purpose.
Finger Rolls: Shape into balls 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter; cover and let stand about 15 minutes; roll between hands until 3 or 4 inches long.
Parker House Rolls: Roll dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick; cut in rounds with a 2-inch biscuit or cooky cutter. Brush very lightly with melted butter or margarine. Make a crease across the center of each round, using the dull edge of a knife; fold over.
Westchester Rolls: Roll dough into an oblong about 1/4 inch thick and 9 inches wide. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Fold into thirds lengthwise so that the oblong will measure 3 inches wide. Cut crosswise in 1-inch widths.
Kirk, Dorothy, ed. Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book. New York: P. F. Collier & Son, 1953. Print.