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Thanksgiving Baking: Rolls-Biscuits-Breads

What rolls, biscuits, breads are you baking for Thanksgiving?

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  1. I haven't decided yet! Possibly dilly bread....a family favorite. Or scratch "crescent" rolls. Or the browned butter rosemary rolls I recently read about. I am hoping that none of the posters refers to rolls as "bread rolls" here....ha. Pet peeve.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sandylc

      I was looking at rosemary rolls too, but have not found a recipe I like yet.

      I just posted a new thread over on the special diets board for any gluten free roll recipes (for my daughter). If anyone has a good one, please post it over there :)

      I might also be baking some crusty french bread for the appetizer tray as well. I am still trying to figure out how much time I ACTUALLY have vs my "big ideas", Ha!

    2. For the past 2-3 years, I've been making the Light and Tender rolls from America's Test Kitchen, using their instructions for doing them the day before. I've done it both ways... hold it fridge before first rise and hold in fridge after making into rolls. Both work well. I add a little extra of both sugar and salt to the recipe because I think it's needed for flavor. I make lots, because we love leftover turkey on poufy rolls with a dollop of cranberry sauce. :-)

      6 Replies
      1. re: onrushpam

        I agree, the atk rolls are delicious as turkey sandwiches the next day. I usually leave a tray in the fridge to bake up the day after.....

        1. re: onrushpam

          Do you have a recipe for these? Tried Googling, but not successful. Thanks!

          1. re: Diane in Bexley

            2nd that recipe request, please. I tried Google but also not successful. TIA
            The Rich and Tender recipe doesn't 'hold in frig before baking'. That's a critical point with so much to prep on Turkey Day.

            1. re: Cynsa

              I have an online subscription and found the Rich and Tender recipe but no Light and Tender recipe. The Rich and Tender recipe has a related recipe for a make-ahead version, but that calls for freezing the dough, etc. However, I also found their "Best American Dinner Rolls," which do call for the fridge rise. Here's that recipe (paraphrased) if you want it:

              3/4 cup whole milk
              8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, (reserve 2 tablespoons for brushing)
              6 tablespoons sugar
              1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
              2 large eggs, room temperature
              1 package rapid-rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
              3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional flour as needed (dough should be soft - resist the urge to add more flour)

              1. TO MAKE THE DOUGH: Bring milk to boil in saucepan over medium heat; let stand off heat until skin forms on surface, 3 to 5 minutes. Using soup spoon, skim skin off surface and discard. Transfer milk to bowl of standing mixer and add 6 tablespoons melted butter, sugar, and salt; whisk to combine and let mixture cool. When mixture is just warm to the touch (90 to 100 degrees), whisk in eggs and yeast until combined.

              2. Add flour to bowl; using dough hook, mix on low speed on mixer until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-low and knead about 3 minutes more; when pressed with finger, dough should feel tacky and moist but should not stick to finger. (If dough is sticky, add another 1 to 3 tablespoons flour.) Continue to knead on medium-low until cohesive, elastic dough has formed (it should clear sides of bowl but stick to bottom), 4 to 5 minutes longer.

              3. Transfer dough to floured work surface. Knead dough by hand 1 to 2 minutes to ensure that it is well kneaded. Dough should be very soft and moist but not overly sticky. (If dough sticks excessively to hands and work surface, knead in flour a tablespoon at a time until dough is workable.) Lightly spray bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to bowl; lightly coat surface of dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free location until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours.

              4. TO SHAPE THE ROLLS: Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Pat dough into rough 12 by 10-inch rectangle, gently pressing out air; starting from edge farthest from you, roll dough into cylinder. Using palms, roll dough back and forth until cylinder is about 18 inches long and of even thickness. Using bench scraper or chef's knife, cut cylinder in half crosswise, then cut each half into 8 evenly sized pieces.

              5. Working with one piece at a time and keeping remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap or kitchen towel, form dough pieces into smooth rounds. Set piece of dough on unfloured area of work surface. Loosely cup hand around dough (not directly over it); without applying pressure to dough, move hand in small circular motions. (Tackiness of dough against work surface and circular motion should work dough into smooth, even ball.) Arrange shaped rolls in prepared cake pans (one in center and seven spaced evenly around edges); cover cake pans with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray, then cover pans securely with foil. Refrigerate at least 24 or up to 48 hours.

              6. TO BAKE THE ROLLS: Remove foil (but not plastic wrap) from cake pans; let rolls rise in draft-free cool room-temperature location until doubled in volume (rolls should press against each other), 6 to 7 hours. When rolls are nearly doubled in volume, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove plastic wrap. Brush rolls with 2 tablespoons melted butter; bake until deep golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes. Cool rolls in pans on wire rack about 3 minutes, then invert onto rack; re-invert rolls and cool 10 to 15 minutes longer. Break rolls apart and serve warm.

              1. re: biondanonima

                thank you : ) I did wonder about the 'shaping'.

                1. re: biondanonima

                  That's very similar to my recipe... I had the name wrong (was at work). It's the Rich and Tender version (from the ATK Family Cookbook), which makes a bit larger "batch". Ingredients:
                  1 1/4 milk, warm
                  10 T butter, melted and cooled (reserve 2 T for brushing)
                  1 Large egg, lightly beaten
                  4 1/4 C AP flour
                  2 T sugar (I use a bit more)
                  1 envelope (2 1/4 t instant or rapid-rise yeast)
                  1 1/2 t salt

                  Instructions are pretty much the same.
                  I have refrigerated both before the 1st rise and before shaping/2nd rise. Both worked well.

                  I often use bread flour for at least part of it. When using bread flour, I usually have to reduce the amount of flour or increase the amount of milk.

          2. Cranberry bread, recipe right from the Ocean Spray package - but with extra orange peel and a little lemon juice.

            Harrow House Spoon Rolls, you can Google this; I use a recipe from a bed and breakfast compilation cookbook. The rolls are easy and good !

            4 Replies
            1. re: nikkihwood

              What recipe is the Cranberry bread? I glanced at the Ocean Spray website but there are quite a few bread recipes.

              1. re: Astur

                YIkes, I'm sorry, I totally missed this. The recipe is printed on the back of the packages. Her it is from Ocean Spray's site -


                1. re: nikkihwood

                  That does look pretty good. Thanks! That would indeed be pretty good as a seasonal breakfast bread with some cream cheese on top after being toasted.

                  1. re: Astur

                    Oh yes. Oh yes. toasted with CC is my day-after breakfast.

            2. Pumpkin bread or corn bread.

              1. Cloverleaf yeast rolls, by coolrise method; same recipe my mother used. This is actually the only non-negotiable item on our holiday tables (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc), besides iced tea. My family would revolt if these did not appear.

                1. Lahey's no-knead bread for the day-after-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nofunlatte

                    I always make two loaves of this - one for pre-dinner appetizers like pate/cheese spread, and one for leftover sandwiches!

                  2. With 5 bakers involved,our family distilled this time of year down to Parker House Rolls and
                    Corn Bread,savory not sweet.A rare something else turns up but these are the universal favorites.
                    If we are in France or Italy I,we add light,fluffy buttermilk biscuits,BIG HIT.Stateside we don't bother because as households we make them all the time.

                    1. I made some lovely potato rolls one year and they were completely ignored in favor of stuffing and no-knead bread, so I haven't bothered since. I do make my own french bread (a week before) for my stuffing, though - I've never found a commercially made loaf that has just the right texture. Also, as much as I love no-knead bread, the crust is just too thick for stuffing. The french bread I make (a simple recipe of water, flour, salt, yeast and a pinch of sugar, with a double rise) bakes in aluminum baguette pans and forms a crispy-chewy but relatively thin crust. The internal texture is similar to no-knead but with a little less chew. I hand tear it into chunks so that every piece has a little crust and plenty of craggy edges to soak up butter and drippings - in my rustic roasted vegetable stuffing, it is PERFECTION!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: biondanonima


                        Can you share your french bread recipe here - a close paraphrase?

                        I have used CI's before, but it is endless in it's steps. Mostly, I make Bin5 bread, but agree the crust is too thick for stuffing.

                        I am probably too late for homemade bread for this year for the balance of my stuffing bread, but curious for other holiday baking.

                        Thanks if you get this:)!

                      2. I usually make a loaf of dill batter bread and a batch of refrigerator rolls. Seems like nobody wants to eats crusty rolls or whole grain. I guess it's comfort food.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Floridagirl

                          Florida girl, is your dill batter bread the one with dill seeds, onion, and cottage cheese?

                          1. re: sandylc

                            yes it is. everybody loves it. I make all my bread and that's one that everybody loves

                            1. re: Floridagirl

                              We have baked that one for years!! I looked it up, and it was the Bake-Off winner in 1960.

                              I have made some changes to the original recipe, however. I use fresh sweet onion, minced (about 3X the dried onion amount), and I either bake it in a regular metal loaf pan, or I make it into 12 rolls. The casserole thing was too clumsy.

                              Yum. A delicious classic.

                              1. re: sandylc

                                have made it so many times but never with real onions. I will try that. It is delicious. And a classic,

                          1. re: Zalbar

                            and, they are beauties, too. sigh

                            1. sourdough wild rice rolls
                              orange rolls, which are actually more like sweet roll. I'm not sure how these are at all thanksgiving-y, but it seems to be a thing, and a relative used to always serve a mediocre example from a local bakery. I want to try to make some good ones.

                              Bacon cheddar scones are another thanksgiving favorite. Gotta put that on my list, too.

                              1. I'm not a very confident baker, something I am working on. I was considering making the Parker House Rolls that are featured in this months Bon Appetite mag. It is based on the Fannie Farmer recipe. However, I haven't looked at the ATK recipe for rolls. Their recipes always are precise and well written.

                                Really, I'm hoping the bakery associated with my CSA will be offering them! HaHa

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pagesinthesun

                                  Parker House rolls are easy,but a bit fussy for final handling,pictures help.I will look at the BA recipe and compare to Jim Beard etc.It's a pretty basic roll.

                                2. biscuits and cornbread for the dressing (stuffing)
                                  yeast rolls like my mama makes
                                  i may try some rosemary rolls too

                                  1. Ha. My mom's rolls are never touched during the dinner itself unless there is a toddler-who-only-eats-bread but they are mandatroy for leftovers.

                                    1. Last year I made Martha Stewart's (actually Sara Foster, IIRC) pumpkin challah, and this year I'm making a yeasted cranberry pecan loaf.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sr44

                                        Oooh, that yeasted cran-pecan sounds lovely - what is the recipe?

                                      2. Jacques Pepin's cheese gougeres. I made them last year and they were a hit. Rich, but no one seemed to mind.

                                        1. I've made this recipe for Rosemary Walnut bread into rolls a few times and they've always been a hit :)


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: stephle

                                            thanks, stephie, I baked your recipe yesterday for the Rosemary Walnut bread and it's delicious for morning toast : )
                                            next time: more walnuts and a handful of dried cranberries

                                          2. I made these Parker House Pull Apart last Thanksgiving. Started in the morning then baked them off for dinner (around 1 p.m.). They're good.

                                            This year, by request from my nephew I'm making Pepperonit Cheese Bread, which is a homemade white loaf - recipe from the Kitchenaid Mixer cookbook, with pepperoni and cheese tucked inside like a jelly roll. I'm also going to buy some White Mountain bakery rolls for dinner.

                                            1. I found this recently, I will have to make a sample before Thanksgiving.

                                              Turkey-Stuffing Bread - Sunset Magazine, 1984

                                              1. Here's a link to a thread about both butternut squash rolls and sweet potato rolls. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692683 I have had the former at a Shaker Thanksgiving dinner. It was a wonderful meal all around - food, candlelit ambience, communal table - but the most memorable items were the squash rolls and the Shaker grape drink (non-alcoholic) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810302

                                                1. I usually make my rolls (completely) ahead of time, freeze them, and just heat them up on Thanksgiving. This year I'm considering making them through to forming the rolls, letting them rest in the refrigerator overnight, then doing the final rise and baking on Thanksgiving.

                                                  Two issues with that:

                                                  1) I've never done that before! Any time I've made rolls, I've just made them. I've never had them rest overnight and am unclear exactly how that works. Does it hasten the final rise at all?

                                                  2) The oven is going to probably need to be used while the turkey rests. I've 20+ people coming and I can guarantee some of them will want the oven. And, with that many people, there will be two half-sheets of rolls. If I baked the rolls before putting the turkey in the oven, would that be significantly tastier than just freezing and reheating?


                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: mirage

                                                    #1. That will work fine. You will likely find that they rise a bit in the fridge which makes up for the extra bit of time it takes for them to come back to room temp once you take them out. You will also likely find that their flavor is better.

                                                    #2. Either way is fine, IME. I routinely freeze freshly baked bread and refresh in the oven just prior to serving. I am fanatical about freshness, and find that this gets me about 99% of the quality of just baked. If I know I am going to freeze and reheat, I typically underbake by just a little--a few minutes or a few degrees of internal temp less than what you would do if you were serving immediately.

                                                    1. re: splatgirl

                                                      Thank you for your response. I think I'm overthinking this!

                                                    2. re: mirage

                                                      If you haven't tried something new like this, and would miss the dish if it had to be tossed, then skip trying something new on a holiday. Consider trying out the technique prior to the holiday and see if it works out like you thought it would, but, don't try it out the day of.

                                                      Having said that, refrigerator rise does work but I would really just do them ahead of time and freeze so that you don't have to worry if your day doesn't go according to plan.

                                                    3. Whole Foods cornbread - love it!

                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                          Oh yes, will also have King's Hawaiian (not homemade) for leftovers!

                                                        2. I am making the rolls my mom has always made. They are soo good. They are also refrigerator rolls and I make two batches each holiday.

                                                          Mom's Refrigerator Rolls
                                                          1 c milk (in 2 cup glass measuring cup)
                                                          1/4 c butter
                                                          1 packet or 2-1/4 t yeast
                                                          1/4 c warm water
                                                          1/4 c sugar (I use about a tablespoon for mine, I don't like them sweet)
                                                          1 t salt
                                                          3-1/2 c bread flour (I use Lehi Roller Mills flour. I get it at Costco, but in a pinch I have used the Montana red wheat flour from Wal Mart. Just use the highest gluten flour you can find, or add some gluten, otherwise they are not as light.)
                                                          1 egg

                                                          Put butter in milk and microwave until butter is about all melted - about a minute or two.
                                                          Add yeast to 1/4 c warm water and set aside.
                                                          (I use my food processor to make these, but you can use a stand mixer if you have it.)
                                                          Put milk mixture in processor or bowl for mixer. Add in sugar, salt and half of the flour and mix.
                                                          When blended, add the yeast and egg in and mix until blended.
                                                          Add the rest of the flour a cup at a time. I let my processor mix for a minute or so to knead it.
                                                          Let dough rest for 20 minutes before shaping.
                                                          Butter a 9 X 13 pan.
                                                          Shape into round rolls - I get a dozen out of this.
                                                          Put in buttered 9 X 13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
                                                          Refrigerate for at least 2 hours - I usually make these one night or two nights ahead of baking.
                                                          Take out of fridge, let rise a bit more, maybe an hour.
                                                          Bake at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.

                                                          This dough is fabulous for cinnamon rolls - I just add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup more sugar, let the dough rest, roll it out and spread with cinnamon sugar butter and then roll up and cut into a dozen rolls. Let rest in fridge overnight and remove from fridge, let rise a bit and bake them. (I serve these every Christmas morning!)

                                                          1. I am usually in charge of making the yeast rolls, but my sister is recently obsessed with a biscuit that I have made, so that is the recipe I am making. My BFF will be joining us for the meal and there will be 12 adults and 5 kids, she is insisting that I make 4 batches!!!! These are great biscuits!! http://leitesculinaria.com/82238/reci...

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: jennaroo

                                                              Dang you, jennaroo. Those are like crack. I just made a 1/2 batch for a side bread for dinner and I can already predict the leftovers are not making it until morning. Dangerously good, and MUCH too quick and easy.
                                                              My only salvation from the addictive junk foodiness of biscuits has been that mine were never good enough to warrant the effort and mess. Now I am doomed.

                                                            2. Does anyone have a particular butter they like to serve on the table?

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                I like to serve KerryGold butter. Has a rich taste and feel. I also use it in the mashed potatoes.

                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                  Great, I have a bunch leftover from cooking. Butter and bread is a war zone in my family as we have a few "never butter bread" advocates. Heard of it, me neither :)

                                                              2. Does anyone serve sliced loaf of bread instead of rolls with dinner?

                                                                1. Our daughter has requested Touch of Grace Biscuits.