This recipe is from the kitchen of Dorothy Blalock who we called Little Grandmother (she is deceased now and was my father's mother). She was very famous for her yeast rolls. My Aunt Edna taught me how to make these. This makes about 12 dozen rolls -- they freeze well. The recipe can also easily be cut in half. Also, the dough can be frozen in roll-sized pieces and can be proofed later.
1 ½ Quarts Milk (6 cups) (heated to a temperature to 120 degrees -- microwave works well)
Note: be sure to use a thermometer – liquid too hot will kill the yeast
1 Cup Crisco Shortening (Melted to liquid state - below 120 degrees, not hot - can be done with 1 -2 min in microwave)
1 Cup of Sugar
2 ½ Tablespoons of salt
Mix the above in a large bowl till sugar and salt are well dissolved
In another bowl, add to 2 Cups hot water (110 degrees) 2 Tablespoons of sugar and 4 packets of yeast (or 4 tablespoons yeast if using bagged yeast from Sam’s - my recommendation). Wisk together and let stand until it foams to double in size.
After yeast mixture doubles, add it to the liquid mixture in the first step
Add one five pound bag of all-purpose flour one-fourth at a time to the liquid mixture, stirring with a large spoon. Then, add cupfuls of flour and mix with your hands until mixture is soft but not sticky. It will take about ½ of another bag of all-purpose flour (2 ½ lbs.), depending on the moisture in the air, etc.
Separate dough into four parts and knead by hand until the dough has a silky consistency – hang in there is your are doing it by hand – may take 5 minutes per part. If you have a large stand mixer, need with the dough hook for about 5 minutes each of the four parts. You may need to add some flour if the dough get sticky – but do not over flour or the dough will get too dry.
Combine all the dough back together (kneading into one large ball after all four parts have been kneaded). Place the dough ball back into large bowl that has been greased with shortening.
1st Rise: Let rise double ( about 45 minutes to an hour in a warm place) \
note: Cover with wax or kitchen parchment paper during rising stages
2nd Rise: Punch down dough after the first rise and let it rise double again (another 45 minutes to an hour)
After second rise, form dough into biscuit sized disks and place on cookie sheets - four across and 5 down. Can also do clover-leafs in muffin tins or crescents by rolling a circle and cutting in pie shaped wedges and then rolling them up.
After forming, let rise again until double (about 45 minutes). Bake at 375 degrees until golden. Be sure to rotate pans in the oven so that bottoms and tops will brown evenly.
This really is easier than it sounds – especially with a mixer.