Basic Bread and Rolls Recipe

This recipe has been the basic one for my homemade breads, rolls, buns, caramel and/or cinnamon rolls, filled rolls, (as with raisins, jellies, etc.), or fried breads for about 60+ years now, although we rarely use it anymore. I wrote it out in detail for my husband Dave. Nowadays I buy wonderful home-made style grain-breads from Bloomfield Bakery at Bloomfield, Nebraska. I used to add grains to the basic recipe to make it more nutritious.

Joyce Simmerman at February 17, 2001 for Dave Simmerman (& etc. to Grandkids, or whoevers)(This is my basis for bread, rolls, buns, caramel and/or cinnamon rolls, filled rolls, (as with raisins, jellies, etc.), or fried breads.)

Ingredients Will Be:

Shortening: 3/4 Cup Butter (or lard) … note: each acts differently)
Yeast Water Mix: 3 Tablespoons yeast with 1teasoon sugar or honey for food in 1 cup water
Flour and Water Mix: 4 cups flour (PLUS however much more it takes—usually about another 4-8 cups kneaded in), +
1 tsp. salt, +
2 teaspoons Gluten flour +
4 cups very warm, but not hot, water (PLUS however much more it takes ) .
(Note: For added deliciousness this may be "potato water", (i.e., saved from boiling potatos, or the modern version is with a little potato buds, flakes, etc.) with perhaps 3/4 cups sweetening (sugar or sugar & little honey)

Proceed in this order:
1) FOR YEAST MIX: Put the 1 cup of very warm water in a small bowl with the 3 Tablespoons of yeast and the 1 tsp. sugar or honey for yeast food. (Set this aside till it is quite bubbly risen.)
2) Meanwhile With Shortening: CAREFULLY and slowly melt the butter, or lard remembering it is very flammable. After melting, Set aside to cool.
3) Flour & Water Mix: Put 4 cups of flour into a LARGE mixing container (like a dishpan or big roaster).
4) Measure in the Gluten flour, sugar and salt. Toss together.
5) Now add the very warm water and mix till fairly smooth.
6) Now add the yeast mix and again stir.
7) Now add in the shortening (not before as it kills the yeast.)
8) Now start mixing in the extra flour, first sprinkling ½ cup at a time over the top and stirring, adding more, until too stiff to comfortably stir.
9) Now "kneading in" can proceed in the same pan at first.
“Kneading” is putting flour under, around and on top of the ever-stiffening mass of dough, working it with the hands, folding it over on top of itself, over and over with added flour, punching it down together, till it is all one big smooth ball with no lumps, but still elastic. It will be at about the right stage when you can handle it without much stickiness with just a sprinkling of flour, and put a "dent" in the ball which slowly rebounds, or you can take a small amount between thumb and finger and slowly pull and it has a small amount of elasticity.
10) Rising: Let rise till 2-3 X the size in a greased covered pan.
11) Temp: Oven: 375 degree. Bake till golden to medium brown on top, pulls slightly away from the edge of pan, and feels light. (The exact time depends on the pan, the size, and ingredients but usually 25 min. to 1 hour.)

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