Grandma’s Homemade Crescent Rolls

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My Grandma’s Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you’ll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Growing up, my Grandma’s Homemade Crescent Rolls were always a tradition at the Thanksgiving table.  They looked like store-bought crescent rolls but had a sweet, buttery taste that is unmatched by anything you can pop out of a can.

Year after year, we devoured these little golden rolls as if they were the main event and the turkey was the side dish.  It’s time these rolls had a place at the kitchen table year round, not just at the holidays!

Patience is a Virtue

Because I’m a food blogger, people have assumptions about my skill level in the kitchen. I’m past the novice stage at this point, but I really believe that comfort in the kitchen comes through practice. That is certainly true with these yeast rolls.

I struggled with yeast breads all my life until I finally realized the important of: Patience. This is paramount to your success (and enjoyment) of yeast bread-making.

My Grandma’s homemade crescent rolls, for example, have periods of down-time.  Wait for the scalded milk mixture to cool.  Wait for the yeast to bloom.  Wait for the dough to rise.  Wait for the rolls to rise.  There is a lot of waiting, so it’s great if you can plan your baking around other activities during a day.

For example, the first time I made these rolls, I cleaned out the garage during the down-time.  If you are feeling rushed and stressed, this whole process might be rather painful.  If you feel calm and relaxed, making Homemade Crescent Rolls can actually be enjoyable.

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Scalding the Milk

You can find three different methods for scalding milk here, but I recommend the stove top method which is what I wrote into the recipe.

You’ll know the milk has scalded when a bit of skin begins to form at the top, before the milk boils.  Once you see evidence of scalding, remove the milk from the heat immediately to prevent it from boiling.

You need to cool the milk to room temperature, and mixing it with cold butter, sugar, and salt will help that along.  Once the milk has cooled to around 110°F, whisk in the eggs.

Working with Yeast

I’ve had my Grandma’s recipe for years, but I typically avoid recipes with yeast like the plague.  Among other problems, I’ve always struggled with getting yeast dough to rise, and everything from bread to pizza dough flops if your dough isn’t rising correctly. Luckily, I’ve figured out a fool-proof method to address this problem.

First, use unexpired yeast, and if you have a jar of it, keep it in your freezer.  To create a warm environment ideal for rising, preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170°F, 200°F, etc.), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110°F.  Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven.  The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise.

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Rolling Out the Dough

Once your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface (I use my granite counter top) and divide it into 4 equal portions.  Working with one portion at a time, roll out the dough in all directions until you have a circle approximately 10 to 12 inches in diameter.  It will be 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thick.  Then slice the dough, like a pizza, into 8 wedges.

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Rolling Up the Dough

Starting at the wide end of each wedge, roll up the dough tightly and place it on a prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with all remaining wedges and then remaining portions of dough.  Depending on the size of your baking sheets, you’ll need either 3 or 4 baking sheets to accommodate the 32 butter horn rolls.  It’s a lot of rolls, but at least it makes the recipe worth your while!

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Baking to Golden Perfection

After another brief rise (use the warm oven method above if necessary), you’ll bake the butter horn rolls until golden brown and fragrant, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Immediately upon removing them from the oven, brush the butter horn rolls with melted butter and serve.  They are delicious plain or with jam, or even served with ham to make sandwiches.  They will be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving (or any holiday) table for years to come.  I know I’m looking forward to preparing them for my family, just as my grandma used to do for us.

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls

Yield: 32 rolls

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours

My Grandma's Homemade Crescent Rolls are legendary. Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, you'll be spoiled from store-bought crescent rolls forever.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided (1 stick)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 envelopes or 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water (110°F)
  • 4 ½ to 5 cups flour

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a scalding temperature, stirring frequently. Remove immediately from heat after scalding.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour scalded milk over the top and cool to 110°F to 115°F, stirring occasionally. Whisk in the eggs.
  3. While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, soften (bloom) the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes.
  4. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine 4 ½ cups flour, yeast, and water. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the scalded milk mixture.
  5. Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky after 3 minutes, add the remaining ½ cup flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Using a small, microwave-safe dish, melt the remaining butter for 15 to 20 seconds.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and brush with 1 teaspoon melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80°F to 85°F) until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  7. Coat 3 or 4 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 4 equal portions of dough. Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, roll the dough into a 10-inch circle. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut each circle into 8 wedges.
  8. Starting at the wide end of a wedge, roll up the dough. Place each roll 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets with the pointed tip on the bottom. Repeat with remaining wedges and portions of dough.
  9. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80°F to 85°F) until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  10. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake, 2 sheets at a time, until the rolls are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Switch the positions and rotate the orientation of the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and immediately brush with the remaining melted butter. Serve hot or warm.

11 comments

  1. These pictures are fantastic! I’ve only recently started using yeast and usually it’s only for pizza dough. I didn’t know I should have it in the freezer!! Thanks!

    Luci’s Morsels – fashion. food. frivolity.

  2. They make rolls with this kind of dough in France, Meggan (I spent a year there!) and I remember that they were so soft and light. Thanks for the bread-making tips … very helpful!

  3. I think these are similar to the rolls my Mom always makes…I definitely look forward to them at the holidays!

  4. Beautiful post, Meggan! These rolls look so soft and wonderful! I’ve pinned this for later!

  5. Can you freeze the dough? If so, would you recommend freezing them before rolling them out? This recipe sounds great but I don’t think my little family could eat 32 rolls. :)

    • Hi Debra, I wasn’t sure about freezing bread dough so I wanted to look into it and supply you with accurate information. I found a great article at About.com which I will direct you to, but here is the overview. Yes, you can freeze bread dough. You will want to use double the yeast in your recipe for any portion you are going to freeze because part of it will die off in the freezing process. Let the dough do it’s first rise, then roll out and shape into rolls as normal. Freeze the rolls on a baking sheet, then transfer to a plastic bag and to keep in the freezer. Pull them out the night before you want to bake them so they can thaw and do their second rise. For more details, please check out this article. They explain it really well! Good luck! PS – I wish my family (my husband, me, and a toddler) did not eat 32 rolls in 2 days… but we always do! :) http://breadbaking.about.com/od/beginnerbasics/ht/freezedough.htm

    • Thank you so mush for that well thought out and researched answer, I greatly appreciate your time. I will make an attempt soon and let you know how it works out. :)

  6. My great aunt used to prep them into rolls and then freeze them without any problem. You can also bake them until they are done but not brown and then freeze. Go ahead when you take them out and brown them in the oven before you want to serve them

  7. I wanted to make breakfast croissant rolls with this recipe with egg cheese and sausage/bacon. Could I make the dough the night before, refrigerate then prep the rolls in the am for baking?

    • Hi Alicia! You know, I’ve never tried, but I don’t see why not. I think it would work very well. And the breakfast recipe idea sounds perfect!! I’m going to make these and try that out and see. I’ll post my results! Thanks for your idea. :D

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