Refrigerator Rolls Deluxe
For the past 30 years (yikes, that might divulge my age somehow) I have been making these refrigerator rolls for Thanksgiving. Since it is rapidly approaching, I thought it might be appropriate to share this recipe with you now.
I started making this recipe in my early twenties. It all began, this bread making thing, in Albany. I had graduated from college, found a job, found an apartment and by the end of the summer, had more time on my hands: boredom set in. Somehow, I thought of bread making. I had never made bread before, so I thought, ok, Challenge: Make bread ! Maybe I could sell it! Make some extra money! The selling part was not a good idea, soon to be squashed by the first guy that responded to my classified ad (yuck). But the bread making continued.
By October, I had moved back home, started figuring out what I was going to do next, worked and continued to bake bread. I also was collecting recipes from my Mom that I thought would make a good mini-cookbook for myself, and this was one of them. It came from a very early edition of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook (and sorry to say is no longer in print). So at my parent’s home, I made this recipe many times, tweaking and adjusting the recipe as I went along.
The following August I transferred to a new college to pursue horticulture as a degree. At school I joined the Horticultural Club and helped re-invigorate the Hort Feast (a symbolic annual feast celebrating the year-end harvest). For that years feast I decided to make the Refrigerator Rolls. After the feast, I brought some leftover rolls to my future husband (he had no idea about that one!! haha) and he proclaimed: “You make the best buns!”
The tradition of making the rolls for Thanksgiving began, when my husband’s family joined my family for Thanksgiving at my parent’s house. My parents were quite the hosts and those times were so good! I wanted to make something exceptional to commemorate this special day together and made the rolls. Everyone loved them and now anticipate them every year!
So since you still have a little time before the big day, consider making these. But be prepared for people to beg you to make them again, and again! Enjoy!
Refrigerator Rolls De Luxe
1 package rapid rise yeast (this is important, make sure you get)
½ cup warm water
1 cup softened butter
1 cup unseasoned Yukon Gold hot mashed potatoes (3 medium or 1 very large) make sure very soft and mashed, otherwise get lumps in your rolls
1 cup cold water
1-1/2 tsp. salt
6 cups Bread flour (no more – and dough WILL be sticky)
In large bowl, sprinkle yeast onto warm water. Stir until dissolved.
Stir in butter, sugar, potatoes then cold water, salt and about 2 cups of flour.
If using a dough hook, attach it now. If not, keep on adding flour (6 cups total) until its combined, then place dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (same if using a dough hook, ~ 5 minutes at the lowest setting) It will be sticky, but adding more flour makes the rolls dry, in my opinion.
Place dough in buttered bowl, and then turn so that all surfaces are buttery. Cover with buttered pan top.
Place dough in cold oven, (if you share your oven, put up a sign: Dough Rising – Do not use oven!) put shallow pan under bread on lower rack, and add hot water to pan, so the condition of the oven is warm and draft free, perfect for bread to rise. It will take 3-3-1/2 hour or more for it to double depending on the humidity of the day and how cold it is that day. Be patient.
When dough has doubled, pinch off 1-3/4 oz. pieces, roll them in your hands to form a ball and place in a greased muffin tin. (I use light-colored aluminum pans – I find that they bake better that way, but if all you have are dark pans just watch them carefully). The recipe should make 36 rolls. You can make the rolls bigger just try to make them the same size so they will all cook the same.
Let the rolls double, approximately 1 hour and then bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Yum.
I do not put them in the refrigerator like the recipe says but you can certainly do that.
So for the first rise, put them in the refrigerator and cover with plastic wrap BUT when ready to bake, make sure the dough is not cold anymore before you start shaping them into rolls.
To make them in time for the holiday, make them ahead of time, they freeze beautifully. 6 rolls/piece of heavy duty aluminum foil, wrap like a present & put in plastic bag.
When almost ready to serve, take out of plastic bag and put into preheated 400 degree oven for 10 – 20 minutes until soft and fragrant.