Is there anything more comforting than the smell of baking bread? Anything more delicious than hot yeast rolls spread with melted butter? Well, probably. But these are still a few of my favorite things.
Unfortunately, I’m a dunce when it comes to baking bread. That is the one big culinary category that I have yet to tackle in my life. But two recent occurrences have given me the idea that it’s time to try. First, my lovely neighbor Carol brought me some yeast because she got an absurdly good deal on a bunch of it. Second, someone emailed me the recipe for schoolhouse yeast rolls.
This recipe was originally used at the old Clifton Forge Middle School. That old school was still in use when I attended middle school, and it was a high school when my grandfather attended it. It’s long been closed as a school, but this recipe was apparently still floating around.
I don’t remember the rolls there, specifically, but my general impression of schoolhouse rolls is that they are delicious. My fondest memory of yeast rolls is the ones my grandma used to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She called them Alabama biscuits, but since the two small balls of dough in each muffin tin rose and puffed together in a certain way, we children called them “butt rolls.”
Even that nickname could not diminish our craving for and fondness of Grandma’s rolls.
I’m going to share the schoolhouse roll recipe. It does not say how many rolls it makes, but with eight cups of flour involved I’m guessing it’s a lot. Can any bakers eyeball this recipe and tell me about how many it might make?
I would also welcome any tips on making yeast rolls so I’m armed with some information before I dive in.
Clifton Forge Middle School Rolls
2 cups boiling water
4 Tbsp. lard
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 yeast cakes
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
8 cups flour
Pour 2 cups of boiling water over lard, sugar, and salt. Let cool to lukewarm. Break in eggs. Dissolve the yeast in warm water and add sugar. Combine the two above mixtures with the flour to make a soft dough. Let rise and work down 2 or 3 times. Then make into rolls or turnovers.