This family recipe from our Aunt Jo is well over 100 years old. It is a cherished recipe for many reasons. Our aunt Jo is 85 years old and still continues to make these dinner rolls. Aunt Jo was the youngest of 12 children. Her Papa owned a small farm in the Pecos valley. Sadly aunt Jo's mama passed away when she was only eight years old. Aunt Jo missed the company of her mother but learned how to occupy herself while her papa farmed. Jo was quite a few years younger than her siblings who had grown up and left home. Her brothers enlisted in the service and her sisters were married and had started their own families.
Aunt Jo graduated from college, taught first grade, married and had a baby girl. Missing her mother she tried to remember the dinner roll recipe that her mother taught her. She practiced making it until she got it perfect. Obviously the thought of mama's dinner rolls brought her comfort.
I have been working on a cookbook for my children and wanted to add another version of aunt Jo's original recipe making a recipe like they serve at steakhouses. I used aunt Jo's recipe and altered the sugar, water, and flour to make what I call a copy cat of the Outback restaurant. I did not use cornmeal, instead I have used oatmeal. I am including her original recipe in this guide and will be sharing how I made the new version.
Step 1: Family Traditions
With both parents usually working I can think of no better time than now . . . to establish family traditions. Why not start a tradition involving food. You can cook and plan meals around the special day and have quality time with the children at the same time. Children will be more interested in helping out in the kitchen when it is a fun activity for them. They would learn how to cook and plan a meal as well as learn how to decorate for the occasion. The important thing is . . . the quality time you spend together working on the menu will give them the attention they need. The children will learn about their heritage as well as give them a sense of belonging.
Plan a time each month to cook for the event. Let the kids choose the menu. You can add fun and excitement by lighting candles, folding pretty napkins, creating food art, and making homemade decorations. If the kids are studying a certain country then plan an Italian meal or a Chinese meal etc. If you make it a fun activity they will naturally want to be a part of it. Wash the dishes with the child. This is a great way to spend time with them and find out about their day and get the chores done at the same time.
I remember as a child having all of our family meals together. I remember the chatter at the table and how everyone talked about the events of their day. It was an enjoyable time and it brought us all together. I suppose that is one reason they call food "comfort food."
It takes a little more time to fix and plan a meal like this, but I have noticed family members feel very special when I do it. My son went away to college and was gone for a year before I saw him again. He came home one summer and had requested that I make him lasagna. I had never made it before, but I honored his request.
I had been working for a woman whose grandmother was Italian and had published an Italian cookbook. I bought the cookbook because I had been visiting her one day and she told me that I must try her grandmother's roasted pepper recipe. They tasted so wonderful. I used her lasagna recipe for our special occasion.
I also decorated the table with grape lights and folded leaf napkins. I lit candles. We ate on the patio that evening and my son raved about it being the very best lasagna he had ever eaten. He thanked me and gave me a huge hug.
Every time I see him he raves about that lasagna and how much he appreciated all my efforts. That was 10 years ago and he still talks about it. He bought my clients grandmother's cookbook. My son enjoys cooking. This has given me much comfort in knowing that after I am gone he will always embrace that special dinner and it will give him comfort in his time of sorrow.
When my children come to visit I always make an extra effort to fix their favorite meals. I also do extra things like light the candles, iron their sheets, place special things out on the bed like folded towels "in the shapes of animals", and their favorite fruit, or candy. I want to create memories for them that will bring them joy when they may need it the most.
If you are interested in learning how to make any of these things, here is the link: https://www.instructables.com/id/Planning-A-Spa-Brunch-for-a-quiet-relaxing-day/.
Step 2: The Original Recipe
I have not made the original aunt Jo's recipe for this project, so I have used a picture of another recipe that looks very similar to her original. The only difference is the color is lighter and it has flecks of the wheat flour showing and it is not as sweet.
Here is the original recipe:
3 Large eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup unsalted butter or corn oil
2 Packages of dry yeast regular
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/4 Cups warm tap water
1 Cup Almost heaping whole wheat flour
5 Cups White flour almost heaping
Follow the recipe of the Outback rolls using only these ingredients.
Step 3: Outback Sweet Bread/ Copy Cat Recipe
3 Large eggs
3/4 Cup molasses (don't use black strap)
1/4 Cup brown sugar you may substitute honey
1/2 Cup Salted butter, If using unsalted butter add salt to this recipe.
2 Packages of dry yeast regular
3/4 Cups buttermilk room temp
1/2 Cup warm water
2 Cups Almost heaping rye flour
3 Cups unbleached white flour almost heaping
1/2 Cup rolled oats or corn meal
Pam or oil to grease pans.
Freezer bags if making extra
Step 4: Utinsils
A Kitchen-Aide mixer makes it much easier but you can knead the dough by hand like I did.
Several different bowls
Measuring cups liquid and dry
Glass baking pan 9 X13 X 2 or loaf pans Pyrex works nicely. Glass pans will brown the bottoms of the rolls better.
If making an extra batch of rolls these can be frozen in a zip lock bag for about 6 months.
Remove frozen rolls from the freezer and thaw in Micro-wave when needed.
I never microwave in plastic bags. I use glass containers.
Step 5: Measure Ingredients
Measure the ingredients as shown.
Step 6: Start the Yeast
Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Mix with wooden spoon ( I don't know the purpose but it might have something to do with the reaction of metal spoons to the yeast.)
After it has dissolved add 1 Tablespoon sugar.
Set aside in a warm place for 8 minutes or until good and bubbly.
Beat eggs while you are waiting.
Step 7: Mix Yeast and Rye Flour
In large mixing bowl combine the yeast/water combo along with a little butter milk if needed, molasses, sugar, salt, (If using salt), butter, and rye flour.
Mix this until it makes a nice smooth batter.
Step 8: Mix in Remaining Flour
Slowly add the remaining flour and buttermilk alternating as you go until it is mixed thoroughly.
Work in the bread flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. It should be very pliable and elastic.
Knead the dough for a few minutes and then let it rise in a covered greased bowl until it has doubled.
Place the bowl in a warm area away from drafts.
Mine took 2 hours but check on it after an hour and see how it looks, your may differ.
Step 9: Punch Down the Dough
Punch down the dough and pinch off a plum-size ball of dough, roll it into a ball between both hands or make a loaf.
Dampen the roll or loaf with water and roll into the oats.
Place them evenly in the greased baking pan sprinkled with oats.
Place them in a warm place away from any drafts uncovered until they are plump filling the pan.
This should take about 45 minutes. If you allow them to rise too much they will spill over the pan.
Set timer for 45 minutes and check on them. If they need to rise longer try 10 minutes and check on them again.
Step 10: Bake Loaves or Rolls
Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.
If the loaves or rolls make a hollow sound when tapped they are done.
Mine took 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and spread butter over the tops for a nice browned look.
Allow them to completely cool before carefully cutting them with a knife to separate.
This makes them fit perfectly into the bag like they came from the oven.
Place them into zip lock bags.
Step 11: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
I was very happy with the outcome of this bread. It had a nice texture and a very sweet flavor. My kids will appreciate having a recipe from one of their favorite eating places knowing it came from aunt Jo's original recipe.
Homemade bread arouses all the senses of the human spirit giving the receiver a real down home feeling.
I hope that I have encouraged everyone to consider starting their own personal family tradition through bread making, meal planning, and table settings for their family to enjoy for years to come.
Thank you for stopping by and have a super day!