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Frontier Food Fridays: Yeast Rolls

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

Hi! Welcome to the first Frontier Food Fridays! We thought it might be fun to start sharing FC recipes with step-by-step directions (and pictures) so you can make some of your camp favorites at home. We will post a new recipe once a month, so be on the lookout and let Kate, our Food Service Director, know at if there is a recipe that you’d like to see featured on the blog!

Homemade Yeast Rolls/Bread by Kate Rudasill

We’ve been making homemade yeast rolls since the beginning of camp in the 1970s! It is, by far, our most requested recipe and also the recipe that I receive the most questions about. A couple of years ago, we began using a new recipe for yeast rolls – one that has been passed down in my family for years. We did some taste testing and decided that we liked the new recipe a bit better than the one we were using and as an added bonus, the dough is much easier to work with and more consistent.

Making bread from scratch can be intimidating and sometimes a bit time consuming…but with a little practice and some easy tips, you can make delicious, homemade bread with a few simple ingredients!

Random note – the pictures in this post show the massive quantities that we use to make large batches of dough in our giant Hobart mixer! You probably don’t want to make this amount of dough…unless you have a need for hundreds of homemade rolls! The smaller recipe is at the bottom of the post.

Ingredients: All-purpose flour (AP flour), warm water (almost hot, but not so hot it would burn you), butter-flavored Crisco shortening, salt, sugar, SAF instant yeast (see note), melted butter (not shown)

Begin by adding the warm water, sugar, salt, and yeast to the bowl on electric mixer with the dough hook attachment.

Turn the mixer on low and allow the mixture to slosh around for a couple of minutes to begin to dissolve the sugar. It won’t look like much is happening yet.

In the meantime, put the shortening in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 minute or until completely melted. Add the melted shortening to the water and yeast mixture.

The mixture looks a bit strange at this point!

With the mixer turned on low, begin adding the flour in small batches.

It takes a little while for the flour to fully incorporate. Just let your mixer do its thing (and be glad you aren’t mixing with your hands)!

This is what the dough will look like after about half the flour is added.

Here’s the rest of the flour added and starting to mix in…

All the flour is added and the dough is starting to come together. This is the point when we are all very grateful for the Hobart mixer! That’s a lot of dough and a lot of mixing!

One of the secrets of good bread dough is mixing and kneading it until the gluten develops. Gluten is the protein that is found in wheat flour and allows bread to rise and have that airy, light consistency that we all love.

So we put our Hobart to work! Still using the dough hook, we turn the mixer to medium and mix the dough for at least 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and pulls away from the edges of the bowl.

Like this…

Once the dough reaches this stage, you’ll want to pinch off a small piece and test the consistency with your fingers. The dough should be soft, stretchy and pliable. I usually stretch it out and see how thin I can get it before it begins to tear. If it tears easy, back into the mixer it goes for some more kneading time! Another way to test the dough is to roll it into a small ball. If it looks smooth and holds together, it’s ready to use.

Once your dough is mixed and all smooth and pretty, it needs to rise until doubled in size (usually about an hour and a half). Again, we’re going to let the mixer do the hard work, so leave the dough in the bowl, cover it with a clean dish towel and relax for a while!

When the dough has risen, it will look something like this…

Once it doubles in size, turn the mixer back on and knead it for about 5 minutes. This continues to develop the gluten and gives the bread a great texture.

Now is the time to shape the dough and let it rise again.

Begin by dividing it into smaller balls of dough.

Take each piece of dough and work it into a smooth ball. We do this using the flats of our palms and three fingers on each hand. Slowly tuck the dough in on itself with your fingers, pressing the top of the dough into your palm.

The bottom of the ball of dough won’t be very pretty, but the top will look like this…

Now you’re ready to being pinching off smaller pieces of dough to make individual rolls.

Take your smaller round of dough in your right hand. Use your right thumb to push a little bit of dough up and use the thumb and first finger of your left hand to pinch it off. If that doesn’t make sense at all…here’s what it looks like!

Continue to pinch off individual balls of dough and place them on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Soon, you’ll have lots of rolls ready to go!

Once all the dough is shaped, let the rolls rise for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the rolls for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in the middle.

Aren’t they pretty! But, there’s one more step that makes them even more delicious! That’s right, melted butter! Brush the warm rolls with melted butter and then serve them as soon as possible!

Rolls (with butter)

This dough also makes wonderful loaves of bread. Just shape, let rise, and then bake. The loaves usually take a little longer in the oven (about 30 minutes).

Frontier Camp’s Yeast Rolls

3 ½ teaspoons SAF instant yeast

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup sugar

2 cups hot tap water

½ cup butter-flavored Crisco

5 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick butter, melted

Melt shortening in the microwave. Let cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook add sugar and salt to water. Add yeast and melted shortening. Add flour to water/yeast mixture, slowly incorporating it. Turn mixer to medium-high and knead dough for 8-10 minutes.

Cover with a clean dish cloth and let the dough rise until doubled (about an hour to an hour and a half). Turn the mixer on low to punch down the dough and knead for five minutes.

Divide dough and shape into individual rolls. Place on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

Let rise until doubled (about an hour). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Brush with melted butter and serve immediately.

A note about available types of yeasts for baking:

  1. Compressed yeast is cream yeast with most of the liquid removed and best known in the consumer form as small, foil-wrapped cubes of cake yeast. It is highly perishable and not widely available.

  2. Active dry yeast is the form of yeast most commonly available to noncommercial bakers in the United States. It consists of coarse oblong granules of yeast, with live yeast cells encapsulated in a thick jacket of dry, dead cells with some growth medium. Under most conditions, active dry yeast must first be proofed or rehydrated. It can be stored at room temperature for a year, or frozen for more than a decade, which means that it has better keeping qualities than other forms, but it is generally considered more sensitive than other forms to thermal shock when actually used in recipes.

  3. Instant yeast appears similar to active dry yeast, but has smaller granules with substantially higher percentages of live cells per comparable unit volumes. It is more perishable than active dry yeast, six months at room temperature or one year in the freezer.

  4. Instant yeast is most commonly used by commercial bakers because it is very reliable and does not require proofing or rehydrating before you add it to dough. It also continues working longer than active dry yeast, so you can hold dough for longer periods of time before baking.

  5. o Here at camp, we use SAF Instant Yeast and store it in an airtight container. It is available in many grocery stores, bakery supply stores, and online. The yeast comes in 1 pound vacuum packed bags, is usually less than $5 a pound, and is enough to last for a long time.

  1. Rapid-rise yeast is a variety of dried yeast (usually a form of instant yeast) that is of a smaller granular

I hope y’all enjoy one of our favorite recipes! Let me know how they turn out!

~Kate Rudasill

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