How to Make a Statement with Dinner Rolls

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me five times, shame on me. In other words, I tried another Martha Stewart project/recipe.

Martha Stewart's version:

our weird version:

To be fair, I knew it would be tough. I knew that those flour letters weren't going to look as clean and pretty on my dinner rolls. What I didn't count on were flat, dense, square rolls. What went wrong exactly? I'm still not sure.

The dough doubled in size. I rolled it into balls, and it doubled again.
But then, this came out of the oven.
The butter and Q-tip method didn't work out so well. If making your own lettered dinner rolls, I'd definitely recommend larger stencils.
Still, we got it done. Sort of.
Win some, lose some? I wish!

Recipe via Martha Stewart

(Makes 30)
1/4 cup warm water (115 degrees)
2 packets (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm whole milk (115 degrees)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for bowl and pans
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface

Place water in a small bowl; sprinkle with yeast, and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, butter, sugar, salt, and 2 eggs. Whisk in yeast mixture.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in 6 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, until you have a soft, shaggy dough (if necessary, add up to 1/2 cup more flour). Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. Butter the inside of a large bowl; place dough in bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/4 hours.

Butter two 13-by-9-inch baking pans. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 15-inch rope; cut each rope into 15 1-inch pieces. Press each piece into a disk, then shape into a ball. Arrange dough balls in prepared pans. (To make ahead: Wrap pans well, and freeze, up to 2 months.) Cover pans loosely with plastic; let stand in a warm spot until rolls have doubled in size, about 1 1/4 hours (2 hours more if frozen).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a small bowl, beat remaining egg until blended; brush onto rolls. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through. Let rolls cool 15 minutes before serving.


Mary Anne said...

Martha, Martha, Martha. You've done it again.

Well, Amelia, yours may not have LOOKED like hers (styled for hours by professional food stylists, as always), but they must have tasted delicious!

Amelia Morris said...

I wish they had, Mary Anne! But they were dry and dense--not delicious at all!

Also: I failed to mention that the Martha Stewart version didn't come with a recipe or a how-to on making the letters. It was just a really pretty picture in their magazine that I wanted to recreate. I tweeted Martha Stewart Living about finding the recipe and they sent me the one I have linked to/ re-posted. But it obviously, still didn't really happen for me.
All the best!

Matthew said...

Way to make a dense statement with dinner rolls! I didn't think they were terrible, but they were shockingly dense.

Unknown said...

Not even delicious!? bummer!!

Ana Degenaar said...

I'm sure they tasted better than hers!

tannaz said...

i'm sorry, this is hilarious. sometimes i feel like martha does the mother-in-law thing and intentionally leaves out steps from her recipes. sucks, but makes for great blogging =)

Barton said...

I liked your look more, rustic and real. Shame about the fail. Took me a month of baking bread everyday to get half decent at it.

Mary Bergfeld said...

These look soft and lovely. I'm new to your blog and have spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I really like the food and recipes you feature here. I'll definitely be back. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Gaby said...

You just know there's some other version of this recipe in a small town paper with Martha changing all of the measurements.

Natalie (NJ in L.A.) said...

Ha, love this!

Jfoster said...

This is hilarious. They actually look pretty good except that they melded into a mega roll. I tried Martha's Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip cookies once and made a huge mess. I don't think they test their recipes very well.

Anonymous said...

sometimes it's good to be square.


Amelia Morris said...

Gaby: hahhahahahaaa

JFoster: megaroll is a perfect way to describe it!!

keepfeeling: are you paraphrasing Huey Lewis and the News?! i hope so!! hahhahaaa

Megan Taylor said...

omg amazing! i like yours more than martha's! XOXO

Heather Taylor said...

in the words of jeana sohn: "disaster!"

jeana sohn said...

i shouldn't laugh at your rolls but it's so funny!!! ahahahahahahahahaha!!! you made my day again.


Anonymous said...

It looks like what happened is the result of several factors.

One is that it's likely that the temperature of the room you proofed your bread in wasn't ideal for them to rise at proper rates as well as the temperature of the water that you put into them. What the recipe doesn't tell you is that there's actual an equation for the proper water temperature in reference to the temperature of the ingredients and the temperature of the room.

It also doesn't look like the recipe gave you a proper measurement on how much the dough would expand during its time in the oven, thus the bread brick. If the dough had a tougher surface than it would've had a better time growing in shape and avoiding connecting with the other balls. Just a vague recipe I suppose.

They also didn't even give you a general weight for the size of the balls before you rolled them or any idea as the technique to get the shape in the photo (and there is a specific technique). Boo Martha boo.

Amelia Morris said...

@jeanasohn by all means, laugh at the failed rolls!!! :)

@anonymous THANK YOU! makes me feel better. now if i could just figure out the flour letters...

Alex said...

I see some evidence of Photoshop on Martha's letters...or maybe I'm just hatin'? Either way, yours make me smile :) Tre bien attempt!

Megan said...

This post is so funny! Your rolls may not be as perfect-looking as Martha's but they look delicious. I guess looks are deceptive in this case!

Anna said...

this is a charming attempt. I think I like yours better anyhow!

Megan Taylor said...

I know I already commented but I forgot to say in my blog comment to you, that I think I want the Red Mini Sac. thoughts?

stargarten said...

Hi! I love your version! It's classy! Maybe someone already told you how to do the letters but the way I do it is that I make stencils with parchment paper and put powdered sugar in a sieve and shake it gently over the stencil. Love the blog!

Sabine Rogers said...

Haha :) It's nice that you're just as willing to blog about failures as you are about your successes. So much of baking is about trial and error (that's where the magic is born) so it's not only entertaining to read about other bakers mistakes, its also relieving!