Like My Mother Made
My husband doesn’t spend a lot of time wallowing in nostalgia for the foods that his mother cooked. But he has frequently mentioned his mother’s cinnamon rolls, so I figured I’d better find a recipe that could replicate Agnes Badertscher’s cinnamon rolls, which were actually made from a sweet roll dough. What I got was both a surprise and a bonus of three recipes in one, including a loaf of just about the best white bread I’ve ever had.
I contacted Kay Badertscher Bass, Ken’s sister, who has written here before about vintage Badertscher recipes and about the Dalton Dariette run by their uncle. She knew immediately what rolls her brother was talking about, and informed me that they were actually from a sweet dough recipe of Ken’s Grandmother, Helen Kohler. Even better, I thought, a three generation recipe I could pass on to my grand daughter as I did my own grandmother Anderson’s sugar cookie recipe.
Kay went digging for the sweet roll dough recipe, and soon I got the following e-mail, which sheds light on the history of the yeast dough. Turns out it yields three or four different types of sweet rolls, if you would be overwhelmed by three dozen cinnamon rolls and want variety. Here’s Kay’s message that describes a novel way to help along the rising sweet roll dough.
The Original Sweet Roll Dough Recipe
Well, that’s shocking!! the traditional way of making a vintage family recipe three generations ago was frozen bread dough??? That certainly plays hob with our assumptions of what is vintage, doesn’t it?
*One thing still puzzles us. Grandma Kohler called the recipe New Year’s Bread, but she did not make a braided bread that is the tradition in Swiss and German New Year’s Breads. I checked out my vintage Sonnenberg Centennial cookbook, and found the recipe for New Year’s Bread which is only slightly different, so next time I make this recipe, I may experiment with a braided loaf. Wish me luck.
At any rate, I blended some of the instructions in the Sonnenberg book (from a recipe submitted by a close friend of Agnes Badertscher) and I made Kohler’s recipe for sweet roll dough (before she turned to frozen bread dough), and enjoyed making a pretty big batch of dough. I made a dozen cinnamon rolls, a dozen cloverleaf rolls and one delicious free-form loaf.
Ken looked at the rolls and immediately said those words every wife dreads–“Not like my mother’s.” When I turned it over and showed him the side where I had sprinkled granola, obscuring the coils of the cinnamon roll, he said, “That looks more like it.” Then he gave it the taste test. Really good, he said. But that is not my mother’s coffee cake.
What we have here is a failure to communicate. He apparently was thinking of his mother’s baking-powder raised coffee cake with streusel on top rather than the more elaborate yeast dough that goes into the sweet rolls.
Oh well, nothing lost. He (and I) enjoyed every bit of the cinnamon rolls, sweet dinner rolls and white bread that the sweet roll dough provided.
Adapted Sweet Roll Dough Recipe
Here is the sweet roll dough recipe–hopefully a little clearer than the “by gosh and by golly” instructions that came directly from grandma Kohler and Ken’s mother.
Do not be intimidated by the length of the recipe. Remember, I am trying to give you fairly detailed instructions for making THREE kinds of breads.
THANK YOU KAY!