Aunt Bibby's Yeast Rolls

Oct. 5, 2021, noon

My Aunt Bibby was my mother's sister and her best friend. After my mother died in 1975, my Aunt Bibby became my second mother. She was a fabulous cook. She made the most unbelievable coconut cake – she started with a coconut and grated it herself and then she sifted the flour and sugar 3 times first!

Her yeast rolls have a place in my memory that has no rival. I have been trying to replicate these rolls for as long as I have been cooking. Although I have her recipe, they just never quite match up to my memory.
She used shortening which, no matter what my memory is, I won't use. I substituted butter.
I began testing this recipe with Einkorn flour and although they were healthier, they were too heavy.
I weighed them and made them two ounces – too big.
Then I tried White Lily flour – too much like biscuits.
Then I used just plain old unbleached flour (King Arthur) and made them one ounce. Too small.
Next, I made them 1.5 ounces. Very very close!
Next I tried unbleached flour and made them 1.75 ounces – the closest I have ever come to her rolls. I think she would be proud.

HER RECIPE - except for the butter :)
This recipe makes about 24 rolls

4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
5 1/2 to 6 cups unbleached flour
2 tablespoons melted butter

Put the yeast and water into a mixing bowl.  Add the sugar and stir.  Wait for about 5 minutes.  Then add to the bowl the salt and egg and mix well.  Then add about 2 cups of the flour and beat well.  Add the melted butter then the rest of the flour.  Mix until it pulls away from the bowl.  Then put the dough into a buttered dish and let it rise in a warm place until it is doubled in bulk. This will take about an hour or two.
Pour the dough out onto a floured board and knead a little.  Pinch or cut small, 1.75 oz. pieces of dough.  I know this is very specific and my Aunt Bibby wouldn't have done this. She just pinched off a bit of dough and formed it into a ball and then dragged it through butter and put it in a pie dish. However, when you make each one the same size they all cook at the same time. I tried doing it her way, but had a hard time getting them done correctly. Experience counts here.
Roll these into balls and put them on buttered sheet pans about 1/2 inch to an inch apart.  Cover with a kitchen towel and put in a warmish place to rise for a while.  
Preheat the oven to 375. Bake the rolls until they are golden brown.  Don't ask me how long - just until they are done! :)
Brush them with butter when they come out of the oven and serve them with lots of butter!
You will be the star at your next family gathering or party with these rolls. My family loves them!
They are great warmed up, too.
They can also be frozen after you make them into balls. Freeze on a sheet pan and then put in zip bags. When you want to bake them, take them out and put them on a buttered sheet pan. Cover them with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in size. Then bake as recipe says.

Now, for a variation on this recipe.......
Cinnamon Rolls
Roll the risen dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up and cut. Put in a pan which has melted butter and bake until done. Mix powdered sugar and milk into an icing and spread it all over the rolls while they are hot.