Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bread: Preston Rolls

A Christmas tradition at my house is Preston Rolls. The lineage of these rolls, as I understand it, is that a person who helped my grandmother made these rolls. The recipe passed to her girls, who shared it with my mother. My mother said she tweaked the original recipe just a bit. The recipe given here is these. I find these difficult to make. They do not always turn out. Because of this, and because I can't direct you to an original recipe or another link, I've photographed the directions step by step.

These are an excellent cinnamon roll that took me 24 hours to make this year, but they certainly take all day at the least. Enjoy!

Yeast in lukewarm water with a half cup flour starting to rise.
Warmed milk with shortening dissolved.

The remaining 7 3/4 cups flour, beaten eggs and sugar to go into the milk and shortening.

Mixing in the milk with shortening, eggs, and sugar.

The black mark shows how far the yeast had risen after an hour or so.

You know the yeast is doing it's job when the mixture is bubbling.

The yeast and the 1st two cups of flour.

Switching to the dough hook after the first two cups of flour.

Adding the remaining 5 3/4 cups of flour.

This is the mixing.

After a few cups, the dough starts to form.

Letting the dough hook knead for 10-15 minutes.

Putting the dough in a bowl to rise. 

My method of raising is to put it in a warm place (and block it off from dogs.)

This is the dough after the first rise, which took about 3 hours.

And this is how it looks after I punched it down the first time.

This is the dough after the third and final rise.

Take a handful of dough, put it on a floured surface, flour it up a bit, and roll it out. 
Brush melted butter across dough, sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts.

Roll them up.

Cut into lengths appropriate for your baking dish.

Place the rolls into the dish with about an inch of personal space around each.

Here, all my rolls are placed in baking dishes. Yes, I used random dishes. It's probably better to use all the same type of good pan.

Now the rolls need to rise. Again, this takes several hours. I left mine overnight because it was close to midnight this year.

The risen rolls.

A pan of raised rolls.
After baking for 30 minutes at 350º.

Make some icing.

Serve warm on a plate with some icing. 
1 batch (can double with extra cake of yeast)


1+ cake yeast
1⁄2 cup lukewarm water

2 1⁄2 cups milk
 1⁄2 cup shortening 
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
8 1⁄4 cups flour

For rolling out:
1 stick butter, melted
brown sugar
flour to coat counter; rolling pin walnuts 

For icing:
1 cup powdered sugar 
1 tablespoon milk 


  1. Soak yeast in lukewarm water. (I have a hard time with the “lukewarm.” Basically, lukewarm is room temperature, so I take my cup of water at a medium temperature out of the tap, and let sit for awhile on the counter. Then I add the yeast and stir just a tiny bit, lightly.) When dissolved, add 1⁄2 cup flour. Beat well and set aside to rise.
  2. Scald milk. While milk is hot, add shortening. Cool to lukewarm. (This step probably hearkens from the days of needing to heat milk, but it remains to dissolve the shortening.)
  3. Add sugar, salt, and beaten eggs to milk mixture. (Do this in mix master using the low setting with beater attachment.)
  4. Gradually add yeast mixture and flour. After 1st two cups of flour, switch to dough hook. Knead well. (Let dough hook continue for 10-15 minutes.)
  5. Dough should not be stiff. Allow to rise (takes a few hours). Punch down, rise, punch down, rise, punch down.
  6. Set in rolls:  Pat out, brush melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts as desired. Roll up, cut up, and put in buttered pans. (The rolls should be crafted within about 12 hours of first starting to raise the dough. Any later and they get a little iffy.)
  7. Allow to rise. (Can leave overnight if it's late.)
  8. Bake 350 – 375º for 30 minutes. Serve warm out of the oven with icing. You can serve straight out of the oven, reheat an entire pan at 350 for 30 minutes, or microwave individual rolls for about 20 seconds each.
  9. Just before serving make icing.
For icing:

  1. In a small bowl, stir milk into the sugar until smooth. Should be fairly thick. Add more sugar to thicken, add more milk to hin. Spoon over individual rolls. Icing will harden after a short time. Store in fridge. Stir to continue uese once hardened. Add milk to thin if necessary. 

Other Details:
  • Makes ~4 dozen rolls.
  • Finding cake yeast: Fleishmann's makes cake yeast, which I found in Seattle in the dairy section (next to the Toll House Cookie dough tubs) at a local grocery store (that is actually a part of a national chain.) When I lived near my mother, she'd procure cake yeast from a local bakery and deliver some to me. Cake yeast is called cake yeast because it is active live yeast in the form of a cake, rather than active dry yeast in the form of granules. 

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