Buttery Herbed Dinner Rolls — Bake-Ahead Batches

These tender rolls, flecked with fresh herbs, are a total crowd-pleaser.

It may sound funny, but yeasted dough takes my breath away. It always has. When I see it I want to touch it. I want smell it. About 30 years ago, I was watching a bakery segment on Sesame Street when a glimpse of hundreds of puffy round loaves rising on speed racks touched my heart. Even though I was just a kid, I can remember the moment clearly, along with the feelings of amazement and intrigue that washed over me. At that instant, I heard my calling. I saw that dough and I knew that we were meant to be together.

These days I make my living creating dough and batters. I feel lucky every day. Mostly, I’m grateful because I get to do what I love. But I’m also happy because I’ve discovered a secret: Kneading and shaping a tender dough is one of life’s natural stress relievers.

Get the Recipe: Buttery Herbed Dinner Rolls

But you don’t have to trust me on this one. Try it. Even if you use an electric mixer to make the dough, you still must shape the soft little dough mounds into tight balls by hand.

It’s one of the most-fun jobs I can imagine. And it’s easy to do. Put one piece of dough on the work surface, cup your hand over it, and move it in a circular motion.

When you get good at it, you can use two hands and do two balls at a time. And when you get really good at it, you can start to lose yourself in the relaxing motion. Daydream. Start planning that vacation. Or imagine the introduction to your first novel. Just relax and enjoy it. You might discover that dough is your calling too.

Related Links:

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Samantha Seneviratne is a New York-based writer, recipe developer and food stylist. She is the author of The New Sugar and Spice (Ten Speed Press), a baking cookbook combining family stories and food history with recipes that reimagine dessert as a more balanced mix of sugar and spice. She blogs about dessert at Love, Cake.

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