It’s been another very busy week for Mike and me both at the Residence and around the state. I spoke to many groups about the Imagination Library and Mike rolled out his H2Ohio plan in Toledo — a plan that brings together farmers, agricultural groups, conservation groups, and fish and wildlife groups to save Lake Erie from algal blooms.
The cold and snow has really helped me focus on thinking about Christmas decorations for the Residence, and thinking about what I can prepare ahead for Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving because it’s all about family and food, and our family all works together to put on a great meal.
Because we are together as a family, I love to do as much prep as possible ahead of time — without sacrificing quality. So this week I have a couple of tasks I can do. First, I’m going to make my dinner rolls. My rolls are made with honey and my grandkids love them! The little ones like to brag about how many they eat! The trick is to make the dough ahead and form it into rolls, then cover well and put them into the freezer. Take them out three hours before you want to bake them and let them rise. This way you have none of the mess at the last minute.
I usually make about six trays of rolls (a triple batch, 144 rolls) so I have plenty for dinner plus some to bake that night to go with the leftovers.
While I have my kitchen counter covered with flour, I make some pie crusts too. I freeze the bottom crusts. Then I have them ready for pumpkin pie or pecan pie or a new recipe for a brown bag apple pie with crumb topping that I’m going to try this year. If I still have time, I’ll roll out some homemade noodles that I can freeze now, and then cook with the turkey broth I make from the Thanksgiving turkey. Once I have all this prep work done and in the freezer, I really feel like I am ready for the family to come for the Thanksgiving holidays.
Fran’s Favorite Rolls
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups hot milk
1/2 cup butter or oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
Add yeast mixture.
6 to 7 cups flour — Mix in enough to make dough easy to handle. Knead on floured surface 3 to 4 minutes. Place in buttered bowl. Let rise until double (1 1/2 to 2 hours). Punch down. Divide into 4.
Roll each ball into 12” circle. Spread with softened butter. Cut into 12 pie-shaped pieces. Roll up from large end and shape into crescent. Put on baking sheet** and let rise 30 minutes. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
** At this point, after you have shaped them and before last rising, you can put them in freezer. Take them out and let them thaw and rise 3 hours before baking.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.