Grandma Mabel's feather rolls & welcoming winter

our first snowfall of the winter arrived yesterday and it meant business.  the sky flurried all day long here, and i got swept up in the beauty of it-  the light in the house, the feeling of warmth, and my desire naturally this time of year to bake something.   white glory, look at those frosty windows!

also, this is my sink.  this means good things are happening in a snowstorm.  

namely,  my Grandma Mabel's feather rolls.   they're rising on the farm table, ready for the oven.

my mom makes these rolls every year for our Thanksgiving meal, and this year I'm making a batch of my own for a down home dinner we're hosting today.

these little buttons of dough will forever give you incentive to whip up a fresh batch instead of buying those perfectly uniform little squares called “buns” at the grocery store.  light & feathery, hence the name feather rolls, these rolls are so delightful straight from the oven, warm with a smidge of butter.   they’re delicate & airy but still perfect for those turkey leftovers sandwiches.  simple & plain goodness.  did i mention fresh out of the oven into your face with a dab of butter? let's explore this.

if you're like me the thought of baking bread feels intimidating.  all your friends are doing it.  food blogs are doing it.  kinfolk is doing it (plus it looks perfect). they all make it sound so easy but somewhere along the line you tried making bread and it turned out like a cement bowling ball.  or is that just me?  well,  this recipe my Grandma & mom have baked for forever made bread seem possible, so i decided i would give it a go.  it worked and it works every time.  bread phobia relinquished!   next maybe we'll bake real big loaves or something fancy like sourdough.  

happy thanksgiving-ing!

Grandma Mabel's Feather Rolls

1 cup of milk ( i use almond milk, but feel free to use whatever milk you prefer )
1/3 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1  1/2 TBSP active dry yeast
1 cup of water
2 cups of flour
3 eggs
3 more cups of flour

In a medium saucepan on the stovetop warm the milk.

*here's the only part you need to give a little special attention.  be sure not to get the milk too hot because you're going to be adding yeast and high temperatures can damage the yeast. ideally the milk should be in the 120-130 degree range, and never over 140 degrees. i use a little kitchen thermometer to tell me this helpful info, like a scientist. 
you have your warmed milk in the saucepan.  now add to it: the butter, sugar, salt & give it a stir. then add the yeast, the water & 2 cups of flour.  

beat smooth with a hand mixer or an antique hand-held egg beater, which is how i roll.

add 3 eggs- beat again until smooth.

stir in BY HAND the additional 3 cups of flour.

the dough will be very soft & gooey.  cover the pan with its lid and let the dough rise to top of pan like magic!   then scoop out your dough, place it on a floured surface because it's really sticky, get your hands floured and start folding the dough into itself to make a nicely workable ball of dough.  use your intuition for this part!  you'll press & shape & press & shape & work in more flour as needed.  make your mound, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin.  don't worry about making it super thin; these rustic rolls can be whatever thickness you'd like them to be.  i make mine about an inch thick. 

cut out your rolls into circle shapes.  i use the top of a wide mouth mason jar as my dough cutter, it works great.

butter a cookie sheet and place your raw dough buns onto the cookie sheet where they will rise for a good while.  i let mine rise for about 2 hours, or until they seem like a nice size.  

finally, bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until the buns are lightly browned.  if desired, brush a little butter on the tops for that extra buttery love.   & voila!  feather rolls for your table and your keeping-cozy-in-winter spirit.