When I was a kid growing up in Missouri in the 1970’s, I have very fond memories of my high school cafeteria rolls. They were dinner rolls that smelled of yeast and were piled high with thick slices of brown-sugar ham and thick slices of Wisconsin cheddar cheese, slightly warm with the cheese oozing down the sides of the bread or just served plain with sweet butter. Either way they were delicious.
I developed a recipe a few years ago that really comes close to those amazing rolls that I fondly remember in school. My daughter and hubby love them. She has requested ham and cheese sandwiches with a smear of raspberry jam on a cafeteria roll for her lunch box. The name cafeteria rolls is what we call them in my house,but feel free to call them what ever you want. My response for her lunch request is, “No problem, I’ll make one for me as well”. This is a really good recipe and I think it will be a keeper for you.
Recipe: Yields: 12 large rolls are 18 medium
Cook time: 20 minutes
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter or shortening
1·1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup half and half or whole milk
1 package active dry yeast
¾ cup lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 medium to large egg, beaten
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, may need a little extra
Butter, melted for greasing pan
In a large bowl, combine sugar, vegetable shortening or butter, and salt; stir until well blended. In a small saucepan, scald milk; pour over sugar mixture. Cool to lukewarm (105 to 115 degrees F).
In a small bowl, combine yeast and water; stir until yeast is dissolved. Let yeast mixture rest for 5 minutes to activate. The yeast and water will be foamy. That means it is ready. Mix in egg until well blended; stir into milk mixture.
Add 2 cups flour. Gradually stir in as much of the remaining flour as dough will absorb, sometimes you may have to add a little extra, mix well. (Add additional flour carefully. You can always add more flour, but once you’ve added too much, the result will be a dry product.) You want a soft ball of dough that holds together, but is not overly sticky. Place dough into a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover bowl with dough with a film of tight plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft free place to rise.
Must double in size. You can refrigerate dough for up to 3 days.
Grease a baking pan or muffin cups. To bake, shape into desired amount of rolls (cloverleaf rolls, Parker House rolls, crescent-shaped rolls or round balls, like I did.) If your are going to do what I did, shape dough into tight balls and place in well greased pan. As you shape the rolls, you want to stretch the top of the dough ball while simultaneously sealing the bottom. The stretching helps the dough hold up to the expansion that occurs in the oven, while the sealing prevents the rolls from opening up while baking.
Place the balls onto well greased baking pan or into greased muffin cups. Cover with clear wrap or dish towel and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, until double in bulk, about ½ to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and remove from pans.
Yields 12 to 18 rolls (depending on size).