After reading Brendie's experiences with bread making, I decided to write about some of mine.
Many years ago I had an opportunity to work in a tiny restaurant in our town where they served the most fabulous yeast rolls known in these parts. The lady that ran the restaurant was an excellent cook.Everything she cooked was delicious,but the rolls were her trademark.She or her sister, would make the rolls on a regular basis, and no one was allowed to see her make them.Well, the sister was not as protective of the process as was the restaurant owner.As I got older, I learned that yeast rolls were not that hard to make, but the whole process was tedious if done correctly,and you know me, I like to take short cuts.Taking short cuts in yeast bread making does not always work. It takes time for the dough to do it's thing, and no amount of trying will hurry it up.Nevertheless, on a few occasions,when the sister was making up the bread dough, I tried to keep some mental notes of what she was doing,without her knowing.Years later, I spoke to a part time waitress that had worked in that same restaurant, who had done the same thing.We got together and compared notes, and came up with a recipe that was pretty close to the owners. Not that I ever used it that much,in my home. We love the rolls, but they don't sit good on the hips.
Awhile later, when I went to work at the school, they had a yeast roll recipe that they used, that was real similar. Yeast rolls are a pretty basic recipe.No matter who makes them. We always had lots of wonderful compliments on the rolls we made at school.There is just something about yeast rolls that folks love. They are not an every day bread,for most folks anyway, so when you do get to enjoy one, it tastes wonderful.
I use to make the yeast rolls for the school kids in a huge dish pan, when I first went to work for the school.We had no mixer back then.I would begin making the rolls while the school children were present, eating their breakfast, and they were simply mesmerized, watching me make up the dough and cut out the rolls,but then a lot of the procedures we went through in their presence,fascinated them.They loved to spend time in the cafeteria, just to watch us going through our daily routine for preparing the meals.Our school was very small. The kitchen,where we prepared everything, and the tables where the kids ate, were all in the same room.And it was a small room at that.We only served approximately 100 kids on a daily basis..
Before I retired, the entire county of 20 some schools got their baked goods from a central location. One school in the north end of the county and one in the central section of the county, had a night shift of workers who came in at 4 PM and worked until 9AM,and did all of the baking for every single school in our county.They called it centralized baking.Each school would send in,a monthly list of the baked good needed for every day of that month, the crew would bake that all up, and divide it up by schools,and it was delivered each morning by a couple of delivery trucks,just before serving time.It was a geat system, but I,personally, did miss the making of the rolls and the cinnamon rolls.The teachers,kids, and the parents,all raved about the cinnamon rolls. I dare say, they were the biggest hit of all the foods we prepared during my 27 plus years working at the school.