Saturday, January 22, 2011

Make Your Own Homemade Brown-n-Serve Rolls

I told you, way back when, that i would let you in on making your own brown-n-serve rolls.  Since then, i have found that i very much enjoy having this recipe under my belt, and i want to share it with you.

Homemade Brown-n-Serve Rolls

here's what you need:

  • 1 package (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast 
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening (or butter)
  • 4 1/2 cups flour (give or take)
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of softened butter

here's what you do:

*Check out my general tutorial on yeast breads over here, if you haven't already.*

I learned the following recipe from a wonderful old Betty Crocker Cookbook that i found at a resale shop, but my instructions will reflect how i do it, not necessarily how Betty does it.

  • First, warm milk and water in a pan on the stove, or in the microwave. 

(Traditional instructions tell you to scald and cool the milk, but the point is really to just not add refrigerator cold milk to your warm dough.  Nothing magical happens when you scald the milk.)  

  • If you're using active dry yeast, heat the water and milk to 110 - 115 degrees Fahrenheit.  (For rapid rise, or bread machine yeast, your liquid should be 120 - 130 degrees Fahrenheit.)

  • When the liquid is the correct temperature, add 1/4 cup of sugar, stir, and then pour yeast over the top of the mixture. (If you refrigerate your yeast, it is likely to act a little better if you bring it to room temperature before you get started on this recipe.)

  • Proof yeast in warm liquid for 10 minutes.While yeast is proofing, mix 2 1/4 cups of flour with salt in a small mixing bowl.

  • When yeast is done proofing and fully dissolved, mix with 1/4 cups butter or shortening in large mixing bowl.  Then add flour/salt mixture and mix thoroughly, until very loose dough begins to form.

  • Add remaining flour in small increments until soft, kneadable, dough forms.  (This is the part where i start using a wooden spoon.)

  • Dump dough out onto floured surface (i use a really clean counter top.)  Set timer for 8-10 minutes, and knead until time is up and your dough is wet but not sticky.

  • Place dough in greased mixing bowl and turn dough over to grease both sides.  Cover and allow to rise in warm (75-85 degrees) place until doubled, which should take one to two hours.) 

If using rapid rise or bread machine yeast, do not allow to rise for more than about 45 minutes.  This yeasts works much more quickly than active dry.

*At this point, i'm going to show you how i form the dough into "fan tan" rolls.  Technically, you can shape the rolls however you please, but i've found the fan tan to be a crowd pleaser, so i recommend giving it a try.  This recipe makes 24 muffin cup-size rolls, so if you don't dig the fan tan, have fun!*

  • When dough is risen, punch it down and split in half.  Using half of the dough at a time, roll out into a rectangular-ish shape, roughly 9x18 inches.

 Here's my half-a-lump.

Here's my "ish" rectangle.

  • Your dough should be about 1/8" thick, though i've never gotten it to be the same thickness all the way across.  When dealing with yeast dough, eighths of inches can get away from you.  Don't worry.  It works itself out.

  • Slather soft butter (i use my fingers) over the top of the rectangle and then cut the dough into strips 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.

You might notice that your rectangle kind of shrinks while you're trying to work with it.  You'll make up for this in the next step.  The strips will naturally stretch back out while you stack them.

  • Stack your strips 4 high and line up the edges the best you can.  Then cut stacked strips into small stacked rectangles, roughly 1 1/2" x 2".

  • Place the stacks, cut side down, into greased muffin cup pan.  This half of the dough should make 12 rolls, but there are always odd strips that didn't conform.  I usually roll them up or twist them into some cute shape and bake them right along with everything else.

  • Do the same thing with the second half of the dough.  If you have only one muffin pan, you can refrigerate the remaining dough until your pan is free, or you can experiment with making different shapes and baking them in a cake pan or on a cookie sheet.  The world is your oyster, or your dinner roll, as the case may be.

  • Cover your pans and allow to rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.  This direction is the same for either type of yeast you may have used.

  • Bake in preheated 275 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Don't allow the tops to brown.

  • Your brown and serve rolls won't look much different than they did before you baked them.  That's what you want.  Allow the rolls to cool and then store in plastic ziploc bags (i can usually fit at least 20 in a gallon size) in the refrigerator or freezer.

  • Don't worry about anomalies like these (my second lump of dough).  They look a little funny, but no one seems to mind, and they taste just as good.

  • When you're ready to have rolls for dinner, just grab as many you need and bake on a cookie sheet for 7-10 minutes at 425 degrees.

  • Buttering the tops is a nice touch.

Now you can have fresh dinner rolls in ten minutes, whether you need 2 or 20, and you won't have to pay the huge price that you'd have to pay for something like this in the store.  Besides, these are so much better.  Any questions?  


  1. Thanks for sharing! I will definitely have to do that! I'll bookmark it in my "to do" folder.

  2. Beautiful! I love the fact that you can gently separate the layers and add even MORE butter!

  3. Those look AMAZING! Can't wait to try them!

  4. Betty Crocker needs to keep an eye on this blog..... another keeper

  5. Let me testify, as one who has had the extreme pleasure of tasting these rolls. They are melt in your mouth delicious! I could easily have taken a stick of butter, the pan of hot rolls and had my very own party off in the corner at Aunt Glada's but alas... I only ate four. Yes, they are THAT GOOD! I've been waiting for this recipe with much anticipation. Thank you Beth!

  6. I can't wait to try this recipe,I lost my old Betty Crocker cookbook that had the brown and serve rolls I make every year for the holidays this recipe looks .very close to the one I lost.


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