The rolls

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January 9, 2010 by 8junebugs

I got this one from McFunkInstyle, who is generous with recipes and will someday publish a cookbook devoted to meatloaf.

I can’t remember when I first made these, but they were a hit. The timing is critical, though, so do not, for heaven’s sake, start these and then go to the Easter Vigil Mass. Done right, these take 5 hours and you will have no more than 90 minutes at a time to yourself until they’re done.

Pennsylvania Dutch Tea Dinner Rolls


  • 5 1/4 c. AP flour (approx. and divided, if you want to do that in advance. I don’t bother.)
  • 1 1/3 c. warm 1% milk
  • 1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 T. 1% milk
  • Optional: whatever seeds you like with white bread. Poppy seeds, cardamom, whatevs. (I don’t use any.)


  1. Read the whole recipe through before you start. Seriously. Five hours, people.
  2. Combine 2 c. flour, warm milk, and yeast in a large bowl. Cover mixture in plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for 1.5 hours. Batter should become bubbly and almost triple in size.
  3. Add 3 c. flour, sugar, butter, salt and egg to mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon for three minutes or until well combined. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), adding enough of remaining flour, 1 T. at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly tacky).
    ALTERNATIVE: Use stand mixer for steps 2 and 3, using dough hook for the mixing in step 3 (if not before).
  4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts for 1.5 hours or until doubled in size. Lightly press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, lightly dust dough with flour and pat into a 10″ x 8″ rectangle (roughly).
  6. Divide dough into 20 equal pieces by making a 4 x 5 grid.
  7. Shape each piece into a ball. Place balls evenly into a 13″ x 9″ baking pan coated with cooking spray.
  8. Lightly coat dough balls in pan with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees) free from drafts for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  9. Preheat oven to 375.
  10. Brush 3 T of milk lightly over dough balls. If you’re going to sprinkle on some seeds, do it now.
  11. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until browned.
  12. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Serve hot or cool on a wire rack.

Even when I still had a working bread machine, I made the dough for these by hand…without using my mixer, even. It’s worth it, I promise, and kneading dough is totally cathartic.

Back in the day, my uncle Steve was famous for the from-scratch rolls he brought to Christmas dinner (or, if you’ve got a Whipple sense of humor, “known for his buns”). I think these are better. Take that, Uncle Steve.


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