|Look, she even wrote the address so she can send a thank-you note!|
1 c milk
½ c shortening
2 egg whites
1 cake or envelope yeast
½ c mashed potatoes*
½ c sugar
about 4½ c flour
1 tsp salt
Melt shortening in milk. Stir in the sugar and set aside to cool (it'll cool faster if you use a broad pan). When it's tepid, add the yeast.
Add 1½ flour in small additions to the mashed potatoes. Then add the milk mixture, also in small additions (at first, we're talking spoonfuls- as it thins you can add it more freely). Beat in the egg whites. Set aside to rise until it's really foamy and at least twice its size.
In a large bowl, mix about 3 cups of flour and the salt. Push it all to the sides of the bowl and pour in the liquid. Stir from the center outward, gradually getting all the flour incorporated. Beat all the lumps out once all the flour's in. It'll probably be really sticky.
Set in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. You can leave it overnight. The longest I've left it waiting is 3 days and it came out just fine. It will rise (albeit slowly) as it sits. If you're going to leave it overnight or longer, you'll want to flatten it down every day lest it pop out of the container and spill everywhere.
Let the dough rise until double in size, then punch it down and shape it. Spread some flour onto your countertop and plop all the dough on it. Drop it onto the flour over and over again until it's completely coated, then move to a clean section of countertop and roll it to ½ inch thick. Coat a glass with cooking spray and cut the dough into rolls. Set them on a greased pan.
If you don't want to spend any time rerolling and cutting, you can just cut it into squares instead. The easiest way I've found to do this is to get a wide spatula with a flat edge, spray it, and press it into the dough just like you would a biscuit cutter. If you slide a knife or anything else through to cut it, the dough will stick to the blade as you pull it through.
Let rise until they reach a nice size, and then bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes.
*If you don't have any left over, microwaving some from a box will work just fine. If you mashed them with the skins on or if they stay chunky when you mix them with the rest of the ingedients, putting them in a blender when you mix in everything else will reduce the skins to really pretty-looking flecks in the rolls and smooth them out.
Usually, handwritten recipes like this are some of the best you'll find- after all, someone had eat something and like it enough to ask to write it out.
|On the other hand, she also clipped this.|
|I always feel a guilt twinge when I start a recipe with a brick of fat.|
It may sound weird, but I felt like someone was really glad to see her recipe being brought out and served to others. It's just like when I cook my great-grandmother's Mexican food- It feels like she's there and really glad to see we're still making it.
All right, I'll stop being sappy now.
A lot of older recipes call for cakes rather than envelopes of yeast, which no one seems to sell anywhere these days. I was therefore very surprised to see one just randomly sitting in the refrigerator. Where did it come from? Who uses yeast cakes these days? Does Elizabeth think packet yeast isn't good enough?
|It looks like this, smells like beer, and feels kind of like dried Play-Doh. I know you were wondering.|
|Flour and spuds.|
I did say that the instructions are clear for a handwritten recipe- there's still a lot left out. The first time I made these, I dumped all the flour in at once and get big lumps that no amount of stirring would break up.
|Spuds, flour, and an egg white that will not mix in.|
|You end up with this.|
|And after a while you get this.|
The way it says to add the foamy stuff to the flour is unclear, but I figured so far, aside from putting in mashed potatoes, it looks like really old bread recipes where you do what's called "setting a sponge." So that's what I did.
|Also, it got a lot sunnier outside.|
|It's really sticky.|
I know handwritten recipes tend to leave the obvious stuff out, but no one mentioned kneading so I didn't. I just plopped it around some flour I'd spread out onto the counter and got the dough blob thoroughly coated.
|I've got a lot of countertop wiping ahead of me.|
|I'm trying to be artsy here. Did it work? Also, that glass is the most perfect-sized biscuit cutter I've ever found.|
The first time I made them, so many people wandered into the kitchen and grabbed one there were hardly any left. Then I brought them home for Easter and my brother took them all when he left. This time, only four were left the next morning. Enough people liked them that a couple Christmases ago I made a few to give away.
|I had... er... a lot of time on my hands.|
Therefore, I totally recommend making these!
|Don't be surprised to see a lot more out of this one!|