2 [1/4 oz] packets rapid rise yeast [such as Fleischmann's]
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tsp
1 1/3 cup of lukewarm water or milk
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
8 Tbsp butter, divided
In a measuring cup, dissolve both packets of yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1 1/3 cup of lukewarm water. If you use hot water or milk, it will kill the yeast and the bread won't rise. So, make sure the water is lukewarm not boiling. [tip: I use water most often for these rolls] Let the yeast mixture sit on the counter for 5-7 minutes to allow the yeast to "bloom." You'll see bubbles and froth begin to gather on the top.
In a medium size mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the egg.
After the yeast has developed, gradually add it to the dry ingredients in the bowl, along with 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Begin to blend the ingredients together, using a large spoon incorporating more liquid as you go. I used a silicone spatula, and the dough didn't stick to it, making this task a lot easier. At first, it looked like this...
And then it looked like this......
Then, after I incorporated all of the flour, it looked like this.....I then placed it into a buttered bowl, and covered it with a damp cloth.
Allow the dough to sit in a warm, draft free place, covered for 1 hour. After one hour, the dough had doubled. The smell of the rising dough was heavenly and could only be topped by the aroma of the rolls while they were baking!
You can make these rolls any size you like, of course. I used a 2 ounce ice cream scoop, lightly sprayed with cooking spray, to separate the dough into even portions. [tip: It's important that the rolls to be uniform in size so they'll bake evenly.] Arrange the rolls side by side, in a buttered metal baking pan. I used a 10 inch spring form pan.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the tops. Reserve some of the melted butter to brush on the tops after the rolls come out of the oven, too. How many times can I say butter in this recipe? We are making bread, right? ☺ At this point, you can cover with a damp cloth and allow the rolls to rise again until doubled. [about an hour] I baked them immediately, so, the rolls you see in the pictures didn't rise twice. Patience? Not so much...
Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20-22 minutes. Gorgeous, right? It doesn't get much simpler, or better than that! Serve hot. Yield: 24 small rolls or 12 large rolls
If you'd like to make these rolls ahead of time: After forming the dough into rolls, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and refrigerate. Uncover, and brush with melted butter, just before baking at 400°F for 20-22 minutes until golden. The rolls will continue to slowly rise even in the refrigerator.