Well, I did it, everyone!  If you’ve been reading my recipes for a while, you might know I’ve been intimidated by the bread-baking process for quite some time.  Sure, I’ve thrown ingredients into a bread machine and made loaves that way, but I’ve never made any kind of leavened bread from scratch, by hand.  Well, a rare cool and rainy summer afternoon gave me the opportunity to try out a recipe for “one-hour yeast rolls”.  I did cheat a little: I used a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook, but close enough, right?  (Hint: the answer is, “yes”.)  I’m just so tickled with this recipe; it was so simple and so forgiving, that I was already considering making a second batch when the first one went into the oven.  Since I didn’t want rolls coming out of my ears, I decided to hold off on the next batch, but I’m truly looking forward to the next time so I can perfect my technique.  Next time, they will be a little more uniform in size, and I think they could rise a little more, but for my first attempt, they turned out great!  They’re soft and fluffy and just the perfect things to start your baking habit, or to add to your already “blooming” repertoire.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 c. warm water
1 T. yeast
2 T. sugar
2 T. butter, softened
1 t. salt
4 c. flour, more or less as needed
3 T. melted butter, for brushing on top
sea salt, for sprinkling on top

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, dissolve the sugar in the warm water and stir in the yeast.  Allow the yeast to sit for about 5 minutes until it “blooms”, or gets foamy.

Turn the mixer on low, and add 3 c. of flour, the salt, and butter.  Add the remaining flour, a quarter-cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but sticks to the bottom.  The dough will be smooth and slightly sticky.

Remove the dough hook, cover the bowl with plastic, and let rest in a warm spot to rise for 20 minutes.

After the dough has risen, it’s time to make the rolls.  First, though, turn the oven onto 400 and lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.  Next, gently punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly-floured surface.  I found it easiest to divide the dough in half, those halves into quarters, and so on, until I had about 20 equal sized pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and place it into your prepared pan.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with salt, then cover and let rise another 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven when golden brown.  Brush again with butter and serve warm.  How easy was that?

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