Time constraints might make you want to prepare fresh rolls in advance and delay baking them until later, but yeast rolls require you to prevent the yeast from rising until you're ready to bake. When yeast is used in rolls, it begins to break down the sugars and the dough rises at temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigeration slows the yeast activity considerably, allowing you to delay baking of formed rolls for up to 24 hours. These same techniques can be applied to other rolls, but you don't have to worry about yeast rising.
Place the rolls in the baking pan. A pie pan allows you to bake several rolls close together in pull-apart fashion, or you can place them on a baking sheet with space between each roll.
Wrap the pan and rolls tightly with clear plastic wrap. Wrap it several times around the pan to ensure the rolls don't dry out and the smells of other foods don't permeate the rolls.
Place the pan in the refrigerate to delay baking for up to 24 hours.
Remove the rolls from the refrigerator when you're ready to bake. Loosen the plastic wrap at the corners of the pan, allowing the pan to vent while keeping the rolls covered. Place the pan in a warm location -- between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit -- to allow the rolls to rise. The stove top above a preheated oven is a good place to rise yeast rolls, as is a spot near a radiator or heating vent. Bake the rolls when they have risen sufficiently, about 1 to 2 hours. The rolls are ready to bake when you insert a finger into a roll and the hole remains after removing your finger.
Line a baking sheet with the rolls and freeze for about 1 hour -- just enough time to harden the rolls. Remove the rolls from the freezer.
Wrap each roll individually with plastic wrap, wrapping it around the roll several times to seal out all air.
Place the individually wrapped rolls in plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to one month.
Remove the rolls from the bag and unwrap each individual roll; the individual wrappers allow you to bake only a few at a time while leaving the rest in the freezer. Place the rolls on a baking sheet and cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap. Thaw the rolls in the refrigerator overnight. Move the pan to a location between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, vent the corners of the plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise before baking.
- Dinner rolls that are already formed should already have risen once and been punched down and kneaded before shaping. You can also refrigerate and freeze dough before shaping it into rolls. The dough must be punched down immediately after removing it from the refrigerator or after thawing. Refrigerated dough that hasn't been kneaded or shaped will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator. The dough must be punched down about once every hour for the first three hours in the fridge and again once every 24 hours of refrigeration.
- Refrigerate or freeze no-yeast rolls in the same way as you would with yeast rolls. The main difference is no-yeast rolls don't require punching or rising before baking.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.
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