These feather rolls are simple to make with a few easy steps but you need to plan ahead to allow the dough to rest and proof. It is a fun activity to do with your kids and teach them some math and patience. My son and I practice counting to 360 when the mixer is beating the dough.
Kids love the feel of the dough. It is sticky and gooey. Don’t worry, it all comes off easily with warm water unless you lick it all off like my son tries to do.
Make the dough the day before then let it chill overnight in the refrigerator. Around 2 and a half hours before it is time to eat, take them out, roll them into balls and let them proof for 1 1/2 hours during the winter months to create light and tender roll. If you prefer ones more doughy, then only proof then for 40 to 60 minutes. You can control the texture.
I adapted the recipe from my father’s cookbook after I made the rolls and they did not rise due to the yeast. They were dense making them perfect for sandwich rolls; not featherlight and tender. Adding the yeast to the potato water activates the yeast and bubbles will form so you know the yeast is alive. It is an extra step but worth it.
Feather Rolls- Adapted from The Ultimate Cookbook
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 15 minutes Chilling time: 3 hours
1) Cook the Potato- Cover a baking potato like Russet or Idaho with cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered until a fork easily pokes through the middle, about 10 minutes of simmering. Remove the potato, peel and smash. Reserve the cooking liquid.
2) Make the Dough- Add the Active Dry yeast to the 1 1/2 cups of warm potato water at around 110 degrees. Allow the yeast to foam for about 5 minutes. Combine the mashed potatoes, oil, sugar, and salt to the 1½ cups of warm yeast potato water. Add 4 cups of flour; beat at low speed with electric mixer for ½ minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in remaining 1 cup of flour. Cover; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. The dough should feel sticky.
3) Proof the Dough-Punch down; turn out on lightly floured surface. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Cut the dough in half. With lightly floured hands, roll into two 12 inch long logs. Cut the log in half, then another half, then in thirds for 24 equally sized rolls. Using your hands, shape into 24 buns. Place in greased or buttered 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Cover with a kitchen towel; let rise until almost double (40 minutes to 1 1/2 hours) in a warm draft free place. It may take longer in winter months.
4) Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter. Sprinkle with some sea salt if desired. Bake at 400 degrees standard, until golden brown, 16 to 20 minutes. If using convection, bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 24 buns
Here is another fabulous recipe:
Instructions for Edna Lewis Rolls
- 1 russet (baking) potato (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package Active dry yeast
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
Generously cover potato with cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until very tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid, then drain potato well.
Meanwhile, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter.
Mash hot potato in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in milk, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons melted butter (mixture will be lumpy).
Cool 1/2 cup cooking liquid to warm (105 to 115°F). Stir in yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, Start over with new yeast and remaining cooking liquid.)
Stir yeast mixture into potato mixture, then stir in flour with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, dusting surface and hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky).
Brush a large bowl with some of remaining melted butter, then turn dough in bowl to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise, chilled, 8 to 12 hours.
Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve. Roll each half into a 12-inch-long log on a very lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Arrange evenly spaced in 6 rows of 4 (less than 1/2 inch apart) in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan. Cover pan with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth).
Let rolls rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled (they will fill pan), 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter.
Brush top of rolls with melted butter and bake until golden-brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Loosen edges with a sharp knife, then transfer rolls to a rack and cool slightly.