OK OK OK ORANGE ROLLS
Orange rolls are pretty easy, but describing the process is rather formidable.
Most of my "recipes" follow the pattern that I learned at my mother's side. She taught me to make bread based on the "some yeast, some flour, some liquid, some salt plus anything else depending on what you are going for" method. When I asked "how much salt" during a baking session with her when I was about 12, she dumped a pile of salt into her cupped hand, and said. "about this much". I've been doing it that way ever since.
As for the infamous orange rolls the whole thing is dependent on two things:
• the filling
• a "loose," sweet dough... adding only enough flour during the kneading process to hold it together and keep it from sticking to everything. And giving it plenty of rising time.
1 stick of cold butter – You can use margarine instead of butter but you’ll be sorry.
About 2-3 heaping cups of powdered (confectioner's) sugar.
About a 1/3 cup or more of freshly grated (zested is best, but a fine tooth grater works) orange rind.
Cut the butter into several pieces, into a bowl, and add the powdered sugar. Use a pasty blender or two knives to cut it to blend. Add the zested orange any time, but I do it late in the process, but it doesn't matter. If the butter is very hard it will turn out a bit flaky; if the butter is soft, it will blend into a sticky mess. Either way, it’s fine.
If you have a favorite sweet roll recipe, use it. The one I use is sort of the one at the bottom of this post, though I hardly ever measure anything.
Keep the dough as moist as possible, and let it rise at least once in the bowl. Twice is better, but once if you’re in a hurry.
Punch down the dough and roll or press it out on a floured board, as if you are gong to make a jelly roll. It should be a rectangle about ½ inch thick or less. Make sure it’s rolled out wide enough that when you roll it up there will be several layers of filling in each of the rolls.
Spread the filling as evenly as possible over the flattened dough.
Roll it up like a rug (or, OK, a jelly roll).
You will have a long “tube” of dough with the filling inside in layers. I usually squeeze it a bit to make it a fairly even circumference, but like most of this process, precision doesn't matter.
Cut the tube in half, and then in half again, and then either in halves or thirds again, whichever will result in segments about an inch or more thick.
Lay them out, face up (swirl of filling showing) in a greased baking dish (I use a Pyrex 15x10 by 2 inches deep baking dish, but any size 2-inch deep dish will do. Metal works OK, but not as well as Pyrex.)
Let the rolls rise until double. I bake them at 400 and start watching them after 15 minutes. Depending on the oven and the size of the pan and rolls, it will probably take longer than that, but you want to yank them out as soon as the tops begin to go golden brown, and before
I generally hold back a little of the filling, thin it with a few spponfuls of hot milk, and drizzle the orange glaze over the hot muffins.
Not recommended for diabetics, those on Atkins, or people who need to avoid sinful foods of any kind?
Best served within the hour. But leftovers can be reheated (especially if you didn’t overcook them) in the oven or toaster oven on high heat for a very few minutes. MICROVAVING WILL DESTROY THEM. Don’t do it.
Here is an approximate recipe if you don’t have a favorite. If you have a favorite white bread recipe, just add an egg and a bit of oil or butter (if not in the recipe already) and a half-cup of sugar.
2 cups milk
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
A quarter cup of cooking oil or melted butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sifted flour plus 5 to 6 cups of flour (variable in the extreme)
I scald the milk, and proof the yeast by putting it in the warm water to see if will react (throw in a bit of sugar, which sometimes wakes up the yeast.)
Otherwise, I throw everything but a couple of cups of the flour into a mixing bowl and mix it until it is totally blended… gradually adding flour until it becomes too much for the mixer. If you have a Cuisinart or heavy-duty mixer with a bread hook, just do the whole thing in the bowl). Don’t get the dough too dry in any case. If you are mixing it with a hand mixer or regular counter top mixer, just keep mixing it (as thick as the machine will bear) for several minutes, then continue kneading by hand on a cutting board with more flour. Lots of mixing and kneading makes better dough.
Let rise in a greased bowl and carry on with the instructions above.
Seems like a lot of work for something that disappears five minutes after coming out of the oven. But worth it.