Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Crappy Housewife Tip of the Day

If you've ever made homemade dinner rolls, then you probably know that shaping the rolls is the most time-consuming part of the process. (Except for waiting for the dough to rise, but that doesn't really count, because you don't have to *do* anything. And I use a bread machine for almost all of my dough-making, so I don't have to do any of that pesky mixing or kneading, either.)

A few months ago, I was letting the kids help me shape some rolls, and I stumbled onto an accidental, awesome shortcut. I had used my dough cutter to chop the dough up into approximately the right size blobs, and was letting the kids shape them. They ran out of steam after a while, and starting just sticking the rough-cut blobs on the cookie sheet without doing anything more to them. I baked them, and the unshaped rolls were the best ones out of the whole batch!

So, this is my new roll-making technique: Cut dough in half. Then cut the halves in half. Then cut the halved halves in half again. Then, kinda lose track, but have the general idea in the back of your head that each remaining blob should become 3 or 4 smaller blobs, and just grab biggish-looking blobs and cut them in half until the blobs are all relatively the same size. "Relatively" being a very relative term. By which I mean, "There can be as much variety in size as there is among your relatives."

Does that make as little sense as I think it does? I should probably go to bed. But first, pictures!

I think the different shapes/sizes add to the character of the rolls. If you feel the need to justify their appearance, just call them "artisan" rolls. That's even fancier than boring uniform rolls!

Addendum: Before anyone complains that baking homemade rolls isn't a very Crappy Housewife-like thing to do, I have two things to say.

1. I like baking bread. It's so much better than store-bought, and my family loves it. I never said I was a crappy cook. Just someone who is always in search of a shortcut.

2. When you are home alone with two kids and realize that you are out of bread, and you look at the clock, and try to figure out if you can squeeze in a run to the store before the third kid's school bus gets here, sometimes, baking your own bread is the easy way out. Ten minutes to get everyone's shoes on, then get everyone buckled in, ten minutes to deal with some sort of last minute emergency (potty? nursing? injury? it could be anything!), unbuckle everyone at the store, strap a baby onto your back and a kid into a cart, find the bread you want to buy, remember a few other things you want to buy, stop to deal with some other emergency (diaper? potty? injury? tantrum?), check out, buckle everyone back into their seats, drive home, attempt to transfer car napper(s) to bed(s), fail, deal with ensuing meltdown(s), remember the perishables that you forgot in the car, rush to finish unloading the car before the kids get into something they shouldn't, clean up the mess they created when you didn't get there soon enough... Seriously. Three minutes of dumping ingredients in the bread machine bowl, plus two minutes of hacking dough into roll-ish shapes is so much easier.


  1. I discovered a similar short cut for making biscuits and scones. Instead of rolling out the dough and cutting it, then transferring the pieces to the baking stone, I just place the dough in the middle of the baking stone in a round-ish mound, flatten it out, cut it like a pizza into wedges, and space them out, then bake.

  2. I use a drop-biscuit recipe for my biscuits for the same time-saving reason. The recipe from the joy of cooking states it's for use as a drop biscuit recipe, but I think it just has a little less flour in it (it might even say that if you wnat to roll them out to add a bit more flour.

  3. I make drop biscuits, too, but I love the idea of making wedges! That's how I make shortbread cookies, but I never thought of trying it for scones. I might have to go find a scone recipe to try, now...