If you could have seen my kitchen last night…you would think something had exploded in there.
Frosting on the walls, flour on the floor, dough in the sink…and the scent of freshly zested oranges.
That’s because I was trying to make Brady’s mom’s Orange Rolls. Not an easy task.
A word about Brady’s mom: She is fantastic. She’s an AMAZING cook, and she knows how to make just about everything…from Orange rolls to English toffee to pizza and beyond. Naturally, when Brady married me…I knew I’d have some big shoes to fill.
Fortunately, I’m not alone in wanting to learn the White family baking ways. When Brady’s mom taught a Relief Society cooking class on how to make orange rolls…I was there with two of my sisters-in-law, seated on the front row, taking copious notes.
That was about a week and a half ago. Since then, I’ve thought several times about trying out what I had learned…but I was scared. My previous experience with yeast products had not exactly been stellar (insert tough cinnamon rolls and crumbly flat dinner rolls here). But yesterday I had a lot of free time, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
One thing that I have never had to do before: scald milk. It’s where you get the milk really hot, without bringing it to a boil. Turns out, that makes the whey proteins inactive, which means the dough can build gluten better and make fluffy rolls rather than dense ones. Anyway, this recipe calls for scalded milk.
After the milk was finished I put it in the fridge to cool, and started working on the other ingredients…like yeast. This is another thing I’ve always been scared of. If you get the water too warm, it’ll kill it. But it needs to be warm enough to activate. Needless to say, I was very careful…and after a few minutes I had this:
Success! (Looks gross, huh?) If I sat and stared at it, I could see it growing and bubbling. But apparently that’s a good thing.
I mixed up the dough and put it in front of the fireplace to rise. It looked pretty pathetic–just a sticky little blob in the bottom of a mixing bowl. I left to run to the grocery store, hoping it would rise. Imagine what a proud moment it was for me when I returned to this:
Yes, the dough rose to the top of the bowl and nearly overflowed by the time it was finished.
At this point I was feeling pretty good about myself. But then came the messy part.
Out came the flour and rolling pin. And butter, sugar, and oranges. Note: zesting oranges (scraping the outer peel off) is most effectively done with a zesting tool (see image). I did not have one of these, so I used a cheese grater instead. And in the process of zesting the orange…I also zested my thumb. Cheese graters are pretty sharp. Don’t find that out the hard way.
I will be buying a zesting tool for future orange rolls.
After I formed the rolls and put them in muffin tins to rise for another hour, I moved on to tackle the frosting. And tackle is probably an accurate word for what I was doing. The only thing I had for mixing was a hand beater with one speed: ultrasonic fast. And when you’re mixing a pound of powdered sugar into milk and butter…let’s just say it’s less than effective. Powdered sugar was flying around me in a cloud, and bits of frosting were hitting the wall, the toaster, the floor, and the chair on the other side of the kitchen. It was a disaster. But it tasted all right at the end.
Finally I put the rolls in to bake for 10 minutes. I frosted them hot out of the oven, and here’s the finished product:
(They were so good, Brady had already eaten one by the time I took the picture).
It was a 3 hour battle, but I survived. And these things taste amazing, too. Light, moist, fluffy…I think I’m going to eat another one right now.