March 19, 2012

School Lunch Lady Rolls - No Mixer Needed - Plus How to Make Perfect Sized Rolls Every Time!

I knew as soon as I saw this recipe, that I had to try it.  It is supposedly a SECRET recipe from an elementary school.  I love secret recipes! It makes it that much more exciting to try. The instructions weren't very detailed, so I am not sure if what I did is exactly what you are supposed to do, but I guess it doesn't really matter, because they turned out DELICIOUS! I may or may not have already eaten four of them in one day. 
This is the easiest way to get perfect-sized rolls every single time (I got this technique from The Lion House). You don't even need a ruler!  Roll out dough.  I rolled mine out to be exactly two pointer finger's high.  Make an "L" with your hand and place it on the corner of the dough.  Using a pizza cutter, cut a horizontal line from the top of your pointer finger all the way across the dough.  Then, cut a vertical line all the way up from the tip of your thumb.  Then, move your hand and line up the corner of your "L" to the vertical line you just cut and cut another vertical line from the tip of your thumb up.  Repeat.  
See, perfect-sized strips the whole way across.  
Take a strip of dough and hold it straight up and down by the corners, swing it up and around towards you.  It will wrap around itself.  Place seam-side down on baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough, placing a few inches apart.  The top corners of the dough will stretch out a bit as you flip it and that is what makes the yummy little nubs on the end of the rolls.  If that doesn't make sense, you can always just roll up each strip of dough.       
Allow to rise until doubled.  
Bake.  Remove from oven and take a stick of butter and rub over the tops of the warm rolls.  So easy and so yummy! 

School Lunch Lady Rolls (No Mixer Needed)
adapted from: The Royal Cook

2 1/2 c. warm water
2 Tbl. active dry yeast
2/3 c. sugar
6 - 8 c. all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c. shortening, melted
1 1/4 c. powdered milk
1 Tbl. salt

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water with the sugar; let stand 5 minutes or until frothy.  Add two cups of the flour along with the remaining ingredients.  Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined.  Stir in remaining flour, 1 cup at a time until a soft dough forms.  It will pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Use as little flour as possible, so your rolls will be soft.  Knead dough, by hand, just a few times in the bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled.  Roll out to 1/2'' thick on a lightly floured surface.  Spread with 2 Tbl. softened butter.  Cut into strips and roll up.  Lay seam side down on greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rise until doubled.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.  Yield: 32 large rolls.  

Jenn's Notes: I mixed the whole thing with only a wooden spoon!  I made a half a batch and I used around 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of wheat flour.  The dough rolled out beautifully and was so easy to work with.  I got 16 large rolls and baked them for 20 minutes.  They are soft and buttery and have great flavor! Very yummy. They still taste great the 2nd day!    

65 comments:

  1. I love the way you used your hand to get uniform sizes! How smart! These sound absolutely delicious!

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  2. Love rolls...and school recipes are so good. I still make the peanut butter bars from the school district and LOVE them :)

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    1. omgeee...brittany, where can i fing that recipe for those bars!?? i cant find them ANYwhere!!

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  3. Made them last night! So easy and yummy, this is a KEEPER! Thank you.

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  4. I love the pointer on how to cut the rolls! And those little secret recipes are THE BEST! Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. They look fantastic. I pinned them before I ever read the recipe, ha. Thanks for sharing!

    Jess @ tupelocreative.blogspot.com

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  6. Yep. I will be making these..just pinned them.

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  7. This recipe has been tweaked a little from the original but here's a video that demonstrates the cutting and rolling process:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8wPowCbtbo

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    1. They are very similar to the Lion House Rolls!

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  8. wooo...I love secret recipes too. Thank you for revealing the secret. :D These rolls look amazing. I love home made bread and rolls and I gotta give these a try...soon.

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  9. Wish this recipe didn't call for shortening - can I use something else in place of shortening?

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    1. I make another similar recipe and I use butter and they turn out perfect! So, I would sub butter!

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  10. They look yummy! And the dough looks just perfect - like you said, easy to roll out, which is ALWAYS a plus! :)

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  11. Looks so yummy! I will definatly be making these.

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  12. YUM! These rolls look awesome!

    We'd love to have you at our new link up party: http://www.waywardgirlscrafts.com/2012/03/wayward-weekend-9.html if you're interested =)

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  13. So glad you liked them! I love the way you cut them. I think I may just have to start cutting them the same way instead of in circles - no wasted dough that way. :)

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  14. Yum. And what a fantastic tip. Thanks for sharing at Manic Monday.

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  15. What gorgeous rolls! Thanks so much for sharing and I'm pinning these as well :)

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  16. Featuring YOU tonight! You were one of the top viewed links at last week's {wow me} wednesday. Congrats. :)

    Ginger @ gingersnapcrafts.com

    http://www.gingersnapcrafts.com/2012/03/wow-me-wednesday-44.html

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  17. You're being featured tonight! Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Thank you for sharing on Blog Stalking Thursday! You have been featured! I would love for you to stop by, grab a feature button and wear it proudly!

    http://thecraftyblogstalker.blogspot.com/2012/03/blog-stalking-thursday-34.html

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  19. I'm drooling! These look amazing, I loooove homemade bread.

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  20. That looks amazing! I'm going to pin them...I can't wait to make them!

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  21. To Brittany....are those peanut butter bars made with dehydrated sweet potato granules??? I work for a school and have that same recipe. I was just curious. They no longer send our school dehydrated sweet potatoes but i can special order them thru a vender out of Lousianna.

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    1. - No, the PB Bars are not made with dehydrated sweet potato granules, but that sounds very interesting? - Jenn

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    2. The peanut butter bars at our school were made out of sweet potatos and I have searched for the recipe forever with no luck so if you have it would you please send a copy of it to dubbiescott@aol.com?

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    3. Please send me the recipe too to denisebalzum @yahoo.com

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  22. I just rolled these up and put them to rise the second time. They are very easy to make and work with. I love the idea of using a pizza cutter to cut them. Just inspired! I patted the dough out to the size of my large cutting board. It worked like a charm. I can't wait to see how my family likes them!

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    1. - Come back and let me know what you think! - Jenn

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  23. Update - AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME. New family favorite.

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    1. I am so glad everyone liked them! I sure wish I had a warm roll right about now! - Jenn

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  24. i used this recipe, made these rolls and FINALLY can say i have a perfect dough recipe. i also ended up only making 12 rolls, refridgerating the dough (covered) for 2 days, then using it on Saturday morning to make cinnamon rolls. i did not add flour- just what i had on the counter to be able to knead the dough with- and AGAIN_ was able to make an absolutely perfect product. this recipe is a LIFESAVER!! thank you so much!!!

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    1. That is so good to hear! Genius idea saving some dough for cinnamon rolls. I will definitely try that next time I make these. - Jenn

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  25. Really a whole Tbs of salt?Guess you use unsalted butter on them then right?

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    1. Yes, really a whole Tbl. of salt. Sounds like a lot now that I think about it. You could try a little less and see what happens? When I made these I used shortening in the dough and then I brushed the top with unsalted butter! - Jenn

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  26. Can I make in a bread maker?

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    1. I suppose you could, but these really are the easiest rolls to make, since you don't need a mixer and you don't have to really knead them. I would worry that the bread machine would knead the dough too much and they would have a different texture. - Jenn

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  27. my husband has a milk alergy and wants a fluffy, soft roll (like he ate in elementary school). Is there a way to make a really soft roll without using any milk?

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    1. Can he have soy milk? I wonder if that would work? The only roll I can think of that I have tried, that doesn't have milk, are some 30-minute rolls, but they are more of a dense and heavier roll. I'm sorry, I am not any help, but If I find a recipe, I will be sure to post it (or if you find one let me know)- Jenn

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  28. Thanks Jenn - the search continues.... I will let you know if I try soy or almond milk and see what happens

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  29. I just tried these and they csme out great! I used organic all purpose flour, organic sugar and coconut oil for shortening!...Delicious!

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    1. Yay!! I am so glad. Good to know coconut oil works! - Jenn

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  30. Do you have to use powdered milk? Is there a way to make it with regular milk?

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    1. You could try using warmed regular milk instead of the water and leave out the powdered milk. I have not tried it myself, but I'm sure it would work just fine. If you are nervous about it, you could always try and search the internet for how to substitute it. If you try it, come back and let me know! - Jenn

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  31. These are absolutely incredible. The instructions were detailed and my rolls turned out great. The only thing I did differently was to pat them and and cut them (this is how my husband had them at school). Everyone who has tried them, just love them. Thanks so much for your wonderfully delicious recipes.

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    1. Hi - I am so glad everyone loved them! Thanks for letting me know you thought the instructions were detailed enough. -Jenn

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  32. This is funny..I'm a lunch lady..we make these for our kids but with ham and cheese inside..and we use small round pizza dough..already cut...kids luv them

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  33. Jenn, I made these today & OMG they are awesome. I actually like these better than the Texas Roadhouse ones & its so much easier! I have to admit I did change a few things due to laziness of not wanting to go to the grocery store. I used warmed 2% milk for the water, melted butter for the shortening & added garlic powder. Other than that, changed nothing. They rose beautifully & have been the lightest roll I have made yet. One batch I melted some butter added the jarred chopped garlic & drizzled on before baking. Yum. I guess I really did a 3rd rise. My oven is broke, so I only have my microwave which is convection too. But not many pans that fit. So I put them all on a big cookie sheet. Then had to transfer to a smaller pan, then let rise again before baking. I think I am going to throw out the bread machine. These were fantastic. Didnt mean to butcher your recipe, but due to what I had on hand & no real oven I had to make do. None of your bread recipes have failed me yet. Thank you!!

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    1. Wow Michelle, I am so glad you just told me all this, because I was debating which rolls I want to make for Thanksgiving this year, so maybe I'll go with these. I love the idea of using butter instead of shortening. So, you used milk instead of the water and powdered milk? I would way rather do that too, because powdered milk is expensive. -Jenn

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    2. I halved the recipe. Used milk in place of the water & powdered milk. Just subbed butter for shortening. I have to say it really was the best rolls I have ever had. I made sure to keep the dough sticky, I really think that is the key. If you had not posted pics I would have added too much flour I think. Your pictures really help with the recipes. Thank you for going to all the trouble. I cook meals that people are always telling me I should be chef, but bread has been my downfall, I burn toast. Your recipes are the best. I love your blog. Thanks for all the hard work. & by the way I dont even have a clue where powdered milk would even be at the grocery lol.

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    3. You are awesome, thank you so much. I'm going to go for it and do exactly what you did (minus the garlic). I think bread machine yeast is instant yeast but you can use it the same way as active dry yeast it just doesn't require activating it in a warm liquid. I can't wait to hear if the frozen dough works and tastes good, because I have always wanted to try it! -Jenn

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  34. Oh I dont know if it matters but I used bread machine yeast.Might not matter, I have no clue. Biggest rolls I have ever seen! I am going to bed with one right now lol. BTW I froze 8 rolls before cooking. Not sure how that is gonna work, but will let you know.

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  35. ???Question???

    I'm trying to plan when to start these for a party tonight. How long did you let them rise? I realize things like temperature affect rise time, but just trying to get a general idea.

    I can't wait to try these!
    I'm also going to sub out the shortening for either butter, coconut oil, or a combination of the two and will use fresh milk instead of dried plus water.

    Thanks for sharing!!
    Jessica

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    1. Hey Jessica, I'm sure you have already made these by now, but if not, It honestly depends on how warm your house is (like you said). It takes my rolls a lot longer to rise during these colder months. I would allow yourself around 4-5 hours total, just in case. Mixing up the dough takes probably about 10 minutes, the first rise could take anywhere from 1-2 hours, shaping the rolls takes about 10 minutes, the 2nd rise could take anywhere from 1-2 hours and then 15-20 minutes for baking. If that is too long, there are a lot of quick-rise methods to try. Sometimes (with the first rise), I will throw some big clean towels in my dryer, turn it on and allow the towels to get hot and then turn it off and I place my lightly covered bowl of dough in there on the warm towels, close the door and it takes no time for the rolls to rise. Just make sure no ones turns on the dryer in the mean time. I hope this helps. -Jenn

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    2. To help rise in a cooler home, I heat 2 cups of water to boiling in the microwave then put bowl of dough or pan of rolls in the warm moist microwave, covered with plastic wrap and close the door. (Leave hot water in there too.) Its a perfect enviroment to induce a great rise. Just dont let it go too far or you'll have big air bubbles instead of small ones. Hope that helps someone. Dawn R.

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  36. I have made these several times and love them. The recipe is super easy and makes great cinammon rolls too.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know you like them!! I love the idea of using this dough for cinnamon rolls - I can't wait to try that too. -Jenn

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  37. Just made these here this morning in the Netherlands. I halved the recipe, and got about 12 rolls out of the dough. I had no idea how big or small the rolls were supposed to be, but they turned out a good size. The rolls themselves are very light and fluffy. The kids enjoyed them, as did I. Thank you for this recipe!

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    1. I make them the size of my fingers as shown up above in the photos. I am so glad your family liked them. Thanks for letting me know! - Jenn

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  38. I use this recipe for wiener wraps and Stromboli too! My family is in love with them!!! Thanks!

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    1. mmm . . . great idea - I will have to try that out too. Thanks, Kris!

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