My Iowa grandmother's recipe for Homemade Butterhorns – some people call them Thanksgiving Crescent Rolls, yes? – made with a rich yeast dough shaped in the familiar "cornucopia" shapes that so suit a Thanksgiving table. I like baking a mix of "mini" Homemade Butterhorns for Thanksgiving dinner and larger rolls for after-dinner turkey sandwiches!
Plus, my thoughts on the book "Bread Matters" – it's up-ended many of my"truths" about bread-baking.
So here’s my Big Question: What is Truth, anyway? (A Small but Pertinent Question: What in heck does truth have to do with Homemade Butterhorns? Read on.)
Once upon a time, I minored in Economics. I even considered graduate school – until someone said I would “re-learn” four years of hard slogging. In Economics, there was no Truth, you see.
And then my book club read the wonderful The Sparrow by author Maria Doria Russell. Oh! we were so certain we understood the “truth” of the story – until we read the second book, Children of God. In literature, there was more than one truth, you see.
And now to Truth & Butterhorns.
For a couple of years now, the book Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley has hammered away at my bread-baking “truths” – up-ending much of what I felt certain was, well, certain. For example, my “truth” is that bread dough is best mixed and kneaded by hand. (It’s only natural, really, given my family history, see the story in Best-Ever Oatmeal Bread.) But Whitley makes the case that a bread dough’s glutens develop better when dough is kneaded more quickly, a job for a standing mixer.
Bread Matters has me re-thinking the “truths” of bread-baking. It’s a book for experienced bread bakers, as it won’t really teach anyone “how” to make bread, and while there are recipes, its importance, I think, is in its early chapters.
GRAMMA’s BUTTERNHORNS This is my Grandmother Kellogg’s recipe, passed along by my cousin LeAnne who remembers that Gramma’s recipe came from someone else in the family. “Probably Great-grandmother Grove,” my 86-year old father says, “She was always working in the kitchen.”
Butterhorns are a “celebration” bread – that’s one made just once or twice a year for a special occasion, like Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday and Armenian Easter Bread for Easter and Pan de Muerto for Day of the Dead.
Homemade Butterhorns' cornucopia shape just suits Thanksgiving! The dough is rich and easy-easy to knead and roll out. I like to make a mix of mini rolls for dinner and some larger rolls for after-dinner sandwiches. If you can, gather people round for a roll or two as soon as they’re out of the oven, so lovely!
HOMEMADE BUTTERHORNS RECIPE
(THANKSGIVING CRESCENT ROLLS)
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 24 large rolls, 32 medium rolls or 48 mini rolls
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
- 3 large eggs, whisked well
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 2-1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose or bread flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 500g plus ½ - 1 cup more
- 1 – 2 teaspoons table salt
- Vegetable oil for bowl
- Additional flour for rolling
- Melted butter for brushing
DAY BEFORE BAKING
MIX DOUGH In a saucepan, scald the milk (to “scald” milk means to gently heat it just to the boiling point, without allowing it to boil). Remove from heat, stir in butter and let cool to lukewarm.
By hand or with an electric mixer, whisk eggs until well broken up, then add sugar and yeast. Gently blend in cooled milk mixture. A cupful at a time, add 4 cups flour and salt and blend in well. A quarter cup at a time, add more flour until a workable dough begins to form, drawing away from sides of bowl. Either in the mixer or by hand, knead for 5 minutes.
FIRST RISE Set dough aside to clean and lightly oil the bowl with vegetable oil. Put dough back in, roll inside bowl to cover the outer surface with oil (this prevents cracking as the ball of dough expands as it rises). Cover the bowl with a clean towel and place in a warm spot to rise. Let dough rise until double in size.
SECOND COLD RISE With a fist, gently deflate the dough until compact. Transfer to a refrigerator container large enough for the dough to double in size again and refrigerate overnight.
FORM ROLLS With a fist, gently deflate the dough until compact. Cut dough into three (for large rolls) or four (for medium rolls) or eight (for mini rolls) pieces weighing roughly the same. With your hands, shape each piece into a flat round.
Lightly sprinkle flour over a work surface. With a rolling pin, roll a piece into a large thin round. With a pizza cutter or a knife, cut into eight triangles. Starting at the wider end, roll each triangle. Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, tip-side down, leaving room for rolls to rise.
LAST RISE When the baking sheet is full, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until rolls are slightly puffy.
BAKE Heat oven to 400F. Bake rolls for 10 minutes or until golden.
BRUSH Brush the center section of each roll with butter.
This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012
Mashed Potatoes & Carrots Mashed Rutabagas & Apples Flaky Tender Pie Crust How to Make Flaky Tender Pie Crust (photo tutorial) (<< readers love this!) Slow-Cooker Turkey Breast Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole Six Thanksgiving Menus How to Dry-Brine and Roast a Whole Turkey Sausage Stuffing Pumpkin-Stuffed Lasagna Rolls
This Week, Elsewhere
Carrot Cake from
Tower Restaurant at Queeny Tower at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Butternut Squash Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel & Roasted Butternut Squash
~ more Recent Recipes ~
A Veggie Venture
Step-by-Step, Forming Homemade Butterhorns
Uh Oh! Always place the Butterhorns tip-side down on the baking sheet, otherwise, oops, this is what happens!
The Bread of Life: More Recipe Ideas for Thanksgiving Breads
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