Amish Dinner Rolls

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Amish Dinner Rolls

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Published prior to 2008

We've always been "apprecianados" of soft white dinner rolls, the "squishy white bread" reminiscent of Sunday dinners of the '50s and '60s. These rolls are another variation on that theme. We plucked the recipe from our baker's message board, accessed on; here's the "conversation" that prompted its appearance.

"ChrisF" started things off. "Looking for the recipe for the German Potato rolls that are made in Holmes County, an Amish community in Ohio. They are so light and have a good flavor." Nine messages later (there are currently 23 in the thread), "SAS" replied: "Several months ago some members of my family (cousins, etc.) had dinner at an Amish home. It was quite an experience. The Amish family does dinners (by reservation) for up to 50 people. There were 36 of us and we all sat in their kitchen. It was a looonnng room with the sink, stove, etc. at one end and long tables filling the rest of the kitchen. While we were eating they were washing dishes and putting them away. They had a small room where they sold handmade things (soap, peanut butter spread, aprons, etc.) They also sold a small handwritten cookbook. In that book is a recipe for potato rolls also. Here it is just as it was written:

5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 T salt
3/4 cup lard
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 pint warm water
2 packages yeast
8 cups bread flour

"Soak yeast in warm water, then mix everything together and mix well. Let rise till twice in size. Shape rolls, put in pans and let rise. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until brown."

Well, as usual, we can't let well enough alone. We tinkered with this recipe -- mainly its size, in order to be able to knead the dough in a bread machine -- and the following formula is the result. These rolls have the characteristic golden brown, rounded, smooth top of a classic dinner roll; we like to bake them rather tightly spaced, in a 9 x 13-inch pan, so that they crowd each other and become pull-apart rolls, with unbrowned sides, as they're baking. For round rolls that are browned all over, place them in a larger pan, farther apart, so that they won't touch one another while they're baking.

2 eggs
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
1 cup (7 1/4 ounces) unseasoned mashed potatoes, lightly packed*
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 cup water (potato water, if possible)
4 1/4 cups (18 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

*1 medium-to-large baking potato will yield 8 ounces of mashed potato.

Manual/Mixer Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, and mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased or floured surface, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it's smooth and shiny. Or knead it in a mixer, using the dough hook. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or rising bucket, turn to coat, cover the container with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise till it's doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes.

Bread Machine Method: Place all the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer (usually, liquids first, yeast last). Program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle and adjust its consistency as necessary by adding additional water or flour to form a soft, smooth ball. Allow the machine to complete its cycle, then allow the dough to remain in the machine till it's doubled in bulk, perhaps an additional 30 minutes or so.

Shaping: To make stand-alone rolls, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. If you want to make soft-sided, pull-apart rolls, divide the dough into 15 pieces. This isn't as challenging as it sounds: first, divide the dough into three equal pieces (about 375g, 14 ounces, each). Pinch off one piece, about the size of a racquetball or handball (75g, 2 3/4 ounces), off each of the three pieces, setting the pinched-off pieces aside; then simply divide what's left of the three pieces into four pieces each. Presto! Fifteen balls of dough. Gently roll the dough balls under your cupped fingers till they're nice and round.

Place the 16 dough balls onto a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet or sheets, leaving about 2 inches between them. Or place the 15 dough balls into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan, spacing them evenly in five rolls of three balls each. Cover the pan(s) with a proof cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise for about 2 hours, till they're quite puffy; the rolls in the 9 x 13-inch pan should be touching (or almost touching) one another.

Baking: Bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, till they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, carefully turn them out of the pan -- the pull-apart rolls will come out all in one piece -- and brush them with melted butter, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 15 or 16 rolls.

Nutrition information per serving (1 pull-apart roll, 74g): 200 cal, 6g fat, 5g protein, 28g complex carbohydrates, 4g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 41mg cholesterol, 223mg sodium, 117mg potassium, 58RE vitamin A, 2mg vitamin C, 2mg iron, 6mg calcium, 58mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XIII, No. 2, Winter 2002 issue.


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  • star rating 04/12/2015
  • Boilerbaker1 from KAF Community
  • Excellent! However, next time I will make smaller rolls instead of such gigantic rolls since we have a lot of little mouths to feed besides the adults at holidays! Also, I will substitute a cup of white whole wheat flour instead of all a.p. flour next time. I used plain mashed potatoes--easy to mash right after boiling. I weighed them out and put them aside for the roll recipe.
  • star rating 04/10/2015
  • karloucha13911 from KAF Community
  • If only there were 10 stars.... I made these for Christmas dinner and they got eaten up so fast I wish I had made more. I don't often eat bread with a meal but I found myself passing up ham and side dishes for another roll. Excellent with a chunk of cold ham stuffed in it later as well. Now I've been begged to make these again for Pascha (Eastern Orthodox Easter) this coming Sunday. I make all of our bread from scratch and these have taken a place in my recipe folder. Simply scrumptious......
  • star rating 04/08/2015
  • Arielle from macomb, NY
  • This recipe is great. I love these rolls and so does everyone else in my house. The only problem is i have to wait till i make mashed potatoes to make them. They are so good though so it is worth the wait.
  • star rating 04/07/2015
  • roz from Vermont
  • These were fantastic! Made for Easter and everyone loved them. One thing I didn't find super clear was whether "mashed potatoes" was just potato, or if it was prepared mashed potatoes with cream, butter, etc. Looking at the other reviews I deduced that it was prepared mashed potatoes, so I added a little milk to mashed cooked potato. That worked just fine. So maybe it doesn't really make a difference? Regardless, I was happy. And so was the host who kept the leftovers.
  • star rating 04/05/2015
  • johnsonca from KAF Community
  • I'm just now making these for Easter. I decided to try another baker's idea for par-baking them and the freezing them. The directions are confusing, since you don't actually provide directions for both recipes. My bad, but I made the full recipe, didn't know exactly how many rolls it would make, what pan to use, etc. So far, they are delicious - but the par-baking didn't work, and I over-filled the half-sheet I've used. I imagine that I can "save' them, but it would have been so much easier to have at least a note about how to make the original recipe.
  • 04/03/2015
  • Barbara from Tehachapi, CA
  • Want to make these rolls and wondered about using potato flour in place of the mashed potatoes. Is this possible?
    In most cases you can consider using the water you've boiled potatoes in as the liquid in the recipe OR use instant mashed potato flakes OR potato flour. In this case, the mashed potato is such an essential ingredient, we hesitate to replace it with anything other than fresh, leftover or instant mashed potatoes. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF
  • 04/02/2015
  • Allyson from Honolulu, Hawaii
  • can you use Crisco instead of Lard ?
    Sure! Happy Baking! Irene@KAF
  • star rating 04/02/2015
  • Czarol from Bristol, TN
  • Made these for supper as a trial run for Easter dinner. They turned out wonderful,except I ended up with almost 2 dozen and they were good size rolls! Not complaining tho because now I don'have to make 2 batches. Didn't have enough bread flour so used a cup of whole wheat. Thanks for the recipe and wish I could find more of your products at our grocery stores.
  • star rating 03/31/2015
  • Debbie from Colorado Springs
  • I'm not an experienced bread baker but certainly want to hone this skill. I made these for Easter brunch. I followed the instructions precisely. The level of difficulty was what I expected (I would consider it Experienced) and the rolls turned out light and fluffy soft. However I found the flavor a bit bland to me. Any suggestions? This is a recipe I will continue to perfect. Thanks KA!

    Debbie, to kick these rolls up a notch, feel free to add in some fresh herbs (2-3 tablespoons of your favorites: oregano, parsley, basil) and/or grated cheese (up to 1 cup) for a savory take on these rolls. Alternatively, you could use scalded milk instead of water and add a pinch of cinnamon and cardamon for a warm, flavorful roll. Happy roll making! Kye@KAF

  • star rating 03/29/2015
  • from Juneau, AK
  • Outstanding. My grandsons just are crazy about it.
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