Sat, Nov 25 2006 3:01
So many years ago a family recipe was handed down through the generations.....
The basic recipe is 8 cups of flour, yeast, 2 cups scalded milk, two eggs, sugar. And along the years I've "upgraded" the recipe to where while they don't quite have the same texture as the original ones did eons ago, but they now cook up faster, rise faster and I can do a batch much much faster than when my Grandmother did. I "upgraded" the recipe to fit my needs, my tastes and the fact that I don't want to wait all day long for something that I can get done in much less time.
Does that mean that I've changed processes... and the results are slightly different? Yes it does, but it also means that I can better fit my needs. My upgrades work for my needs of today. I've added techonology to my recipe and it also keeps me from thrashing the kitchen and having flour from one end of it to the other.
It's a lot like technology, isn't it? We put together a "recipe" and use that in our technology. We then find that our needs change and thus we build a new recipe tweaking it along the way, revising it to meet our needs..
For those who are interested... here's the current variation of the "family roll recipe"....
Place 4 teaspoons of quick rise yeast in one cup of warm (not hot) water and mix up and sit aside
Place 2 cups of milk in a pan and bring it to near high heat but not yet boiling (were the milk does bubbles on the sides and gets a 'skin') (I'm guessing this was done in the historical recipe to pasturize the milk as it specifically called for "scalded milk" but I use it also to melt the shortening)
In a mixing bowl (preferably one that attaches to a Kitchenaid Professional mixer with a dough hook.. something Grandma never had -- and not the one where the mix head tips back, no sirree... this is the one where the bowl rises up and down with a lever), place three tablespoons of shortening, along with one cup of sugar. Pour the hot milk over the top and let the shortening melt.
Now go do something else for a while (like blog or something) so that the hot milk will cool down as you can't mix the yeast water with too hot of milk as you will "kill" the yeast and your dough will end up baking into the bread equivalent of hockey pucks (Oh yeah, did that one year... so there are some parts of this process you can't speed up). The optimal temperature for the yeast is around 110 to 125 (if memory serves me right), if the milk is above 140 degrees or more you risk the "hockey puck" impact so be patient on letting the milk, sugar, shortening mixture cool down.
Now add the yeast/water mixture to the cooled down Milk, sugar, shortening, and fire up that Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook and the flour shield.
Use "Better for Bread" flour (which is also something I do that Grandma didn't do) as it has more "gluten" and thus will rise better. Put 2 cups in on a slow speed and let that mix for a while (go back and blog or bug stuff on betas or something).
Once the 2 cups is somewhat mixed in, place 2 eggs (beaten ...or lately I use Eggbeaters eggs which are a bit of a 'real egg' manufactured product), mix, two more cups of flour, and then the last four cups for a total of eight, letting the Kitchenaid do the heavy kneading job for you. Just let it go on slow speed until the dough gets smoother, more elastic and forming a ball.
Now take a large glass bowl, spray it with PAM non stick spray, and dump the dough ball in it. Spray the top of the dough with PAM and cover with wax paper (this is done to keep the dough from "crusting" over and makes it easier to make a ball shape later on). Stick in a warm kitchen and let rise. (Go do some posts to yahoogroups or something).
When the dough has doubled (or more) and when your fingertips leave indentions, get "dough therapy" by taking a fist and literally 'punching' the dough and roll it up into a ball. Now go get clean kitchen scissors and 'cut' a bit of dough about the size of a very small apple. (Don't ask me why I started doing this scissor thing but it makes the dough easier to get in a ball shape rather than pulling on the dough.. the "cutting" was my invention)
Roll it up in your hands into a round ball shape and place it on cookie sheets covered with these French "Silpat" sheets that make food not stick to the cookie sheet and makes clean up faster.
Let the dough rise again. (Go answer questions in the newsgroup or something).
Now during Grandma's day they would let the dough rise twice. And this is one of the steps with the quickrise yeast I cut out the second rising.
Once the rolls are again obviously doubled in size and rounded, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
When the oven is at the proper temp, bake the rolls for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
So that's the "family roll recipe" that used to be all hand kneaded by hand in prior generations and I've added "technology" and "upgrades" to it.
And while the end product is a variation of the original, the change in process means I can make more, keep the kitchen cleaner, and I personally like the taste better than Grandma's version.
Sometimes technology is the same way isn't it? ..."Upgrades" can match the needs of the old with the needs of the new... all at the same time.
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