Tuesday, May 11, 2010
One of my childhood friends and I drove out to our elementary school a few days ago. We began kicking around the notion of a reunion for our class a while back, and now, the planning. In order to allow plenty of time to organize everything, we chose an Autumn day. The weather should be nice by then, for having it there. It's no longer an elementary school, but used for preschool programs etc. We loved going there as children and now love the memories. Grades 1- 7 was education heaven.
While walking around the grounds, the memories came flooding back; so we shared with one another. My friend told of climbing a tree with his best friend and getting caught by a teacher known for her strict disciplinary tactics. His friend fled the scene and he was was left out on a limb, so to speak. We laughed at what was, at the time, serious business but now a charming story. We peered through the doors of the old gymnasium, as I recalled my misfortune at breaking my arm in the 7th grade just before basketball season began. A bittersweet memory for me to be sure; I loved playing basketball. But our coach made it better by including me in as much as possible until my arm healed. That's the kind of reminiscing we'll get to experience when our class gets together later in the year. Everyone will encounter the same time-warp that place can conjure. I want each person to bring old pictures, great memories and a good appetite.
Mama has a recipe called School House Rolls, which she says is pretty much what our lunchroom ladies baked everyday at our school and could possibly be the actual recipe. I want to make these rolls for that day and provide the recipe to anyone who would like a copy. But first I must test them for myself. Now for a taste of the past...
School House Rolls
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (around 118 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons powdered milk
1/4 cup shortening (melted)
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, mix the yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir to mix and allow to sit until the yeast begins to proof, usually about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, place into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, the 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, shortening, egg and 1 cup water. Using the whisk attachment, mix until blended nicely. Next, apply a dough hook and add 1 cup of the 2 cups remaining flour and mix well. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the last cup of flour. Add gradually, allowing each addition of flour to become well incorporated. Knead the dough in the mixer for 5 minutes and pour onto a floured pastry cloth. Turn the dough several times punching down the center each time, until it comes together in a soft, elastic ball. This takes very little time and effort, about 3 or 4 minutes. Place into a greased bowl, cover with a damp towel and allow to rise about an hour in a warm place.
After the first rise, take the dough from the bowl and put onto the floured cloth. Punch down and pinch off pieces of the dough, roll into a ball with your hands and place onto a baking stone or a baking sheet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Allow to rise for another hour and bake at 340 until the rolls are brown and gorgeous. Brush with butter and serve.