I've been making these rolls for almost 40 years now and I think I've improved an already great recipe. You can make these rolls with 100% all purpose flour, 100% bread flour or part whole wheat flour and part bread or all purpose. The rolls in the picture were made with approximately 2 cups of whole wheat flour and the rest bread flour. If you use part whole wheat flour, add the whole wheat flour to the liquid mixture before the bread or all purpose flour and let it just sit and absorb the liquid for a few minutes before adding the rest of the flour. If you want to serve these rolls early in the day you can refrigerate the rolls in the last stage of rising after you've pinched them off and put them in the baking pan. They'll be ready to pop in the oven and take with you in no time. Obviously I've had plenty of opportunity to experiment with this recipe and I know what works and what doesn't. All you have to do to make these rolls as pretty as the ones in the picture is to invest a little time. If you do you're sure to start your own family tradition of yeast rolls.
2 packages of yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup oil (i use olive)
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 7 cups flour
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water. In a large bowl, add remaining two cups of water, oil, sugar, salt and dissolved yeast mixture. Add enough flour to handle. Knead for about 15 minutes. Grease and cover. Let rise for several hours. Punch down and let rise again. Pinch off and make rolls. Let rise for about 35 or 40 minutes. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
Now for some more tips. If you have a kitchen aid mixer you can do almost all of these steps with it. Dissolve the yeast in the kitchen aid mixer bowl, add the rest of the ingredients with the mixer attachment. When the dough starts getting thick attach the dough hook and mix until it forms a ball. I usually flour the countertop at this point and finish up with a little hand kneading until I get a nice elastic ball to work with. For less mess to clean up you can actually hand knead them right in the bowl. Just keep adding a little more flour when the dough gets sticky to touch. At this stage I transfer the dough ball to a good size bowl with high sides that has been oiled. I put the ball in the bowl and turn it over to oil the top of the ball. At this point you can cover the bowl with a towel, but I like the plastic bowl covers with elastic. Just place the bowl in a warm draft free spot and watch the magic. When I had a wood stove I would place the bowl on the hearth next to it, but an oven that's been turned on to warm for just a minute and turned off works just as well. In the summertime if you have a screened in porch you can sit the bowl out there when the weather is over 80. Good luck and enjoy!