Author Archives: jennifer

Standing Out

Something about this yellow tulip caught my eye and my heart.

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There it stood, in the middle of a huge planting of almost spent red tulips.

But it was yellow.
And just beginning.

It made me wonder:  did they do that on purpose?
Was it a yellow bulb that somehow ended up in a bag of red ones?
How did it happen?

I love the way the yellow tulip stands out.  Somehow it is more beautiful because it is different.
And having it there makes the whole picture more beautiful, as well.
If it had been a planting of all red tulips, I would have admired it from afar, but one yellow tulip in the center was what drew me away from the sidewalks to the edge of the scene.

I thought of life.
I’d like to stand out like a yellow tulip.
But sometimes I’d like to blend in like the red ones.
And perhaps, to some, the yellow one is a drawback instead of a standout.
Perhaps someone thought it was a shame when they saw it.
It’s interesting that the yellow tulip didn’t bloom when the red ones did.

I remembered my cherry trees, how they stand side by side and yet have their own schedule for growth and blooming.
Like people.

I guess life gives us all  the chance to experience both colors, to learn what can be learned from standing out AND blending in.
I hope we all can have the sense to use good judgment and know when it is time to ditch the red crowd and stand alone, to stand for something worthwhile, something true.
And the more we influence others for good, the more we are surrounded by goodness.
Isn’t that the point?

Hopeful Homemaker’s Homemade Rolls

I wish you could smell these homemade rolls.  In fact, I wish I could snap my fingers and deliver a basket of warm, fresh rolls to your door.  You know what I’m talking about, that one-of-a-kind smell of homemade rolls baking in a warm kitchen.  It’s the smell of home, the feeling of being nourished and loved.  It gives us permission to slow down and savor the simple joys of life and family.

I love making homemade rolls for my family, and today I’m sharing my favorite recipe with you.

But before I give you the recipe, here are two important notes:
1.  I use a Bosch Universal Stand Mixer.  It’s amazing and I highly recommend it.  I’ve had mine for more than 15 years with not a single problem.  If you are using a KitchenAid, be aware that they don’t hold as much, so you will need to cut this recipe in half.

2.  I use only SAF instant yeast.  This is an active dry yeast, which means it is more potent and does not need to be proofed.  Again, it’s amazing and I highly recommend it.  To learn a little more about it, click here.  You’ll never go back, I promise.

And now, on to the good stuff:  warm, chewy, golden brown, buttery homemade rolls.

Hopeful Homemaker’s Homemade Rolls

Ingredients:

5 cups very warm water
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons salt
4 Tablespoons SAF-Instant yeast
10-12 cups bread flour
melted butter for brushing on rolls
sea salt for sprinkling over buttered rolls

Instructions:

1. In a mixer, combine water, oil and eggs. ( *Note:  If you are using yeast which must be proofed, take one cup of the warm water and place in a bowl with the sugar and yeast for proofing.  This then will leave 4 cups to add to the mixer with the oil and eggs.)

2. Add 2 cups of the flour, the powdered milk, sugar and salt.
Mix together.
Add 4 more cups flour and the 4 Tb. yeast

3. Mix again.
Slowly add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough begins to pull away from the bowl.
Cover and let knead for 5-7 minutes.

4. Turn off mixer, remove dough hook, replace lid, and let rise for 10-15 minutes.

5. Spray work surface with non-stick spray and dump dough onto surface.
Knead by hand a few times, then cut dough into quarters.
Take one piece of dough and roll out into large rectangle.  Cut into triangles.
Roll up in crescent shape and place rolls on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6. Repeat with remaining dough.

7. Let rolls rise for 10-15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375.

8. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until rolls begin to turn golden brown on top.
Remove from oven and brush with butter, then sprinkle with sea salt.

EAT, EAT, EAT!

I’ve been making this roll recipe for more than twenty years and they are always delicious.  I hope you’ll try them!

Happy Baking,
Jennifer

A Lesson in Yeast

If you want to make homemade bread, rolls, and so forth, then you need to know how to do it in an hour.  It’s all about the yeast.  Fifteen years ago I attended a class on making whole wheat bread.

My life hasn’t been the same since.
It’s because of this yeast.

SAF-Instant Yeast

This is called SAF-Instant Yeast.
Most grocery stores don’t carry it, but they should.  It is actually cheaper than the yeast you buy at the grocery store, like Red Star, and it’s 100 times better.  It’s more potent than active dry yeast.

Let me tell you a little bit about how to use this stuff.

Because friends always share the best tips with their friends.

Forget about warm water, yeast, and sugar in a little bowl, and hoping that the yeast is good.
Forget about worrying that your water was too warm.
Forget all that stuff.

SAF yeast just goes into the recipe with the flour, like any other ingredient.
You store it in your freezer.
It goes directly into your recipe from the freezer.
It will keep for years in your freezer (I am currently using one I’ve had for 4 1/2 years and it is perfectly fine.)  This means you can buy it in bulk and store it for a long time if you want to.

Forget about waiting for dough to double in size, or giving it an hour to rise.
Try giving it 10-15 minutes.

This stuff is good.  It’s really that good.
I honestly don’t think you can mess it up.
It’s so easy, simple, and fast.

And did I mention that it’s much cheaper per batch than the other kinds?

I store mine in a quart size freezer bag once it’s been open.

This is what it looks like.  Just regular old yeast.
But it will revolutionize your baking.

yeast

It can be substituted for any other kind of yeast in any other recipe.
I like to use this handy little shot glass measuring cup because it has both tablespoons and ounces on it.  I’ve found that some recipes measure yeast in ounces and some do it in tablespoons, so this lets me measure quickly.

yeast in measuring cup

You might like to know that 1 packet of yeast is 2 1/4 teaspoons.
Some people say that if you’re substituting with SAF yeast, you can reduce the yeast by 25%, or in other words, use 1 3/4 teaspoons as a substitute for 1 packet of active dry yeast.
If that’s too confusing for you, then just use the equivalent of whatever your recipe calls for.

With that said, go get some!

And then make these homemade rolls.

Let’s get baking!
-Jennifer

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