Picture Me Rollin
fall into a carb coma w/ us
Dinner rolls are a God-tier food. Their buttery, cozy carby-ness feels like a memory of a perfect childhood day. They’re pjs fresh out of the dryer, a rainy day spent near a fireplace, sleeping in on a cold Fall morning with someone else making the coffee in the kitchen. They’re a treat worth savoring whenever you get the chance.
We never had foods like this growing up unless it was a very fancy mealTM so that sort of magic has never left this throwback food. Bread baskets have long gone out of style in restaurants, but we’ll be damned if we let anyone besmirch the good name of dinner rolls. They’re a perfect, accessible luxury and this recipe is a great way to remember why they once constantly graced dinner tables across North America. The winter squash puree keeps them moist without being heavy and makes the dough a delicious marigold color that tricks you into thinking there’s a shitton of butter in there. Embrace the lie. Practice making these now so that you’re confident as hell when it comes time to add ’em to your Thanksgiving menu because trust us, you’ll want to after just one bite.
Winter Squash Dinner Rolls
Makes 7-14 rolls depending on how you divide your dough
2/3 cup warm, unsweetened nondairy milk like almond
1 pack of active dry yeast, 2 ¼ teaspoons
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cane sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pureed winter squash like delicata or pumpkin*
Melted nondairy butter
In a small glass, mix together the warm milk and the yeast. You wanna make sure the milk isn’t super-hot; you should be able to comfortably put your finger in it otherwise you’re gonna kill the yeast and end up with flat as fuck bread. Once you see the top of the milk start to look a little foamy after you’ve stir in the yeast, you’ll know you succeeded. Let that sit while you get everything else ready.
In a large bowl or the base of your stand-mixer, whisk together the flour, cane sugar, and salt. In a medium bowl stir together the olive oil, pumpkin puree, and the milk mixture until everything is incorporated. Now stir in wet ingredients into the dry until a shaggy dough comes together without a bunch of dry spots. Then run the stand mixer until a smooth, sort of sticky ball comes together for about 3 minutes or knead by hand on a well-floured surface for about 5 minutes until you get the same result. Resist the temptation to add too much more flour if you’re kneading by hand because you’ll make the dough dense. Just live with the fact that it’s sticky and trust the fucking process.
When you’ve got a good, sorta smooth ball of dough, lightly grease a large bowl and throw the dough in there. Cover it with a kitchen towel, set it in a warm spot, and let it rise 60-90 minutes until it doubles in size. You know the deal.
When the dough has risen, you’ve got a choice to make. You can either make 7 giant dinner rolls like we did or 14 normal sized ones. Grab 1 or 2 standard round cake or spring-form pans, depending on your choice. Grease and flour the pan(s) and set that shit aside. Punch down the risen dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Cut up the dough into the number of rolls you want, trying to keep the pieces relatively the same size.
Form each piece into a ball by pulling and tucking the edges of the dough underneath itself as though you’re twisting the end of a bag of bread closed. This will help you create surface tension, so you get a better rise and texture from your rolls. Gently roll the dough ball, seam side down, on a well- floured surface to create a smooth ball. You basically make a little cage with your hand over the ball of dough and gently roll it around with as little pressure as you can manage. The motion is very similar to using a mouse on an old computer *stares in Millenial* Try it, you’ll get the hang of it, we swear. This is why we told you to practice NOW so when it’s game time for the holidays, you‘ve got this for sure. Now place the rolls seam-side down into the prepared pans. Cover them again and let them rise for another 25-30 minutes or until they look all puffy and gorgeous.
Warm your oven up to 375 degrees F. Brush the risen rolls with some melted nondairy butter, with some sage leaves thrown in if you’re feeling fancy, and toss them in the oven. Immediately bring the temperature on the oven down to 350 and bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are brown. If you’re making smaller rolls they’ll bake faster so start checking at 15 minutes for golden brown tops.
Brush the warm, baked rolls with some of the left-over butter and let them cool for a few minutes before diving in.
These delicious mfs are great for 3-4 days after they’re made BUT they also freeze well. So, future you will thank past you.
*You can use a can of pumpkin puree but you can also just steam some skinned butternut or delicata squash until it’s tender then throw it in a food processor until it’s a puree. You can do whatever the fuck you want but you should know you’ve got options.
Thanks for all your support and forgiving our dumbass typo last week. We try our best but some sneak by us and when they do, we wanna crawl into a hole and die. But y’all made that shit so damn funny in the comments that our shame spiral was dramatically shortened. We appreciate the hell out of this community we’re building with you guys and hope you feel the same way. See y’all next week.
Michelle and Matt