I really do try to use whole grains in most of my cooking. But light, fluffy white dinner rolls are sometimes just what you want. Sophie requested these and so this is for you Soph (and baby, too)
1 1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk powder
3 tablespoons canola oil
4 to 4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup butter
Pour water into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top. Add sugar and let rest for 3 minutes. Check to make sure yeast is alive and working. Add salt, milk powder and oil. Stir to combine. Beat in 3 cup of the flour. Then add the remaining 1/2 cup at a time, beating and kneading in between. The dough should be smooth but rather soft and perhaps a tiny bit sticky. Set aside to raise in a warm draft free place. When double in bulk, about 30 to 45 minutes, punch dough down and knead on a floured surface for 2 or 3 minutes. Allow dough to rest while you melt the butter in a small container. Pinch dough ball into equal halves. Pinch those halves in half and those in half as well. Grease a baking sheet with butter or spray oil. Take the eight sections and one by one, pinch them into thirds, rounding out the thirds and dipping them into the butter. Place on the baking sheet. Continue until all of the eight sections have been divided and the buttered rolls are on the sheet. Set aside and allow to raise for 20 to 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan as soon as possible and serve.
Hints: I use bread machine or quick rising yeast. I have also made these omitting the first rise and that was OK. I do use unbleached flour--perhaps that is better than regular white flour. I also have used bread flour and that is my favorite type for this recipe. I buy my yeast in bulk and freeze it, filling a small jar at a time and keeping that in the fridge. I have never had problems with the yeast dying doing this. I have used too hot of water on occasion and needed to begin again. Optimal temperatures for bread yeast is 80 to 95 degrees. Yeast will grow most rapidly at 110 to 115 but may yield a yeasty tasting finished product. 140 degrees will kill the yeast. However I never take the water temp, I just feel the water and make a judgement. But by all means, check if you want to feel more control. Having a warm place to raise the bread also helps the yeast to keep growing. But freezing yeast dough is possible--it just takes a while for the yeast to reactivate.
The smell and sight of freshly baked bread is one of life's great pleasures. Bread can make one salivate, can bring back pleasant memories and form new ones. Bread has come down thru the centuries in one way or another in all cultures and will continue, I'm sure, despite the low carb craze of today's world.