homemade rolls made with love


Rich’s Aunt Phyllis visited this weekend with her cousin Marie.  Rich’s Dad came, too.  They wanted to watch Grace in a play at her school.  It was such fun to attend together but my favorite part of all was when we were home again and the ladies were snuggling up on the couch reading an old old copy of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  Aunt Phyllis gave the book to Grace and it is special because her mom (Grace’s Great Great Grandma) used to read it to her children at bedtime.  And from this very copy Aunt Phyllis and Marie each read a chapter aloud to the girls.  On Sarah Joy’s lap is a quilt that was given to her Great Grandma which she kept on her lap during her last years.  It was made by another relative.  Aren’t relatives the best, the most inspiring of all?  I love all the women in my family, both in my own family and the family I married in to.  I feel very blessed by all the stories, sewing, quilting, crafting, working, mothering, beauty, books, baking, and so on……that I learned from my sisters, cousins, aunts, Mom, and grandmas.  All so uniquely special and dear.


I look into their faces and see my self, and own children, in them.


Rich is hosting an off site meeting today for work and as always, I am making homemade rolls for our sandwiches.  (they are rising as I type)  I don’t divide my Grandma’s recipe anymore because I can use all the dough I can get!  Last night I mixed up the dough and put half in the refrigerator for today’s rolls, and formed the rest into a big pan of cinnamon rolls.  After all, it was a holiday, it was Halloween!  I baked in the kitchen while Davy made clam chowder and Rich took the three youngest children out trick or treating.  We had Harry Potter going on TV and there were a roomful of teen-sized kids in the basement having their own party.

I posted the photo of the completed rolls on FB and Instagram and several of my dear friends requested the recipe.

My Grandma (her name was Mary) used to bake these rolls by the hundreds…she was well known for them in our church and in her home for the holidays.  She in turn passed the bread baking art down to her daughters–my mom Cindy makes amazing bread on a weekly basis and I’ve shared several of her recipes here on my blog already.  She is a most amazing baker and I’m thankful she is just a phone call or text away to answer my questions and eventually answer questions for my girls, as well.  The Mama/Grandma hotline!  So blessed.

Isn’t family wonderful?  I know yours is, too!


3-4 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 T. salt
1/2 cup butter
3 cups water-divided
2 T yeast or 2 packages
2 eggs
close to 5 lb bag of flour

Mix 1 cup of warm water with the yeast and set aside.  Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter until dissolved–let cool.  Add 2 cups cold water to mixture.  Add the 2 cold eggs to the milk mixture.  Combine the yeast mixture with the milk mixture.  Add enough flour till the right consistency.  (Approximately 5 lbs).
Knead dough till smooth on a flour surface.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.  Let rise for about 2 hours (until doubled in size).  Punch down dough-knead-then shape rolls or roll out for sweet rolls.
Place rolls in a greased pan and cover and let rise till doubled– about half an hour.
Bake at 350 for 24-25 minutes, till golden brown and rolls sound hollow when tapped.
Makes about 3-4 dozen dinner rolls and a 9 by 13 plan of sweet rolls.

(note:  children LOVE to watch the process!!  Sarah Joy eats a bit of the dough raw–she loves it!)


Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:  2 cups sugar   3 T cinnamon   1 stick melted butter

Roll dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface.  Pour on melted butter and spread to edges.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.  Roll up and slice about inch thick with a sharp knife.  Place in well greased pan or into pan with caramel nut topping mixture spread in the bottom.  Let rise for 1/2 to 1 hour and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes

(note: raw cinnamon roll dough is even better!  you can rub it around in the butter left behind on the counter!  My dad loves to do this.)

CARAMEL Nut TOPPING  1/2 cup melted butter    1/2 cup brown sugar    1/2 cup chopped nuts

Thank you to my Aunt Colleen for sharing this recipe and making sure it is in the recipe files of all our families!  You are wonderful.  

NOTE-I use my kitchen aid mixture to knead the dough and then finish it off on the counter because I do like to get my hands on it during part of the process.  It’s so soft and warm….good to work with.



THIS IS MY HUSBAND’S GRANDMOTHER!  Her name was Sarah Lillian but everyone called her Lillian.  Aunt Phyllis shared this 1980’s newspaper clipping with us.  It is from when Grandma was working in a school cafeteria (the very same school Rich and I and all our relatives attended)  These were the days when children actually ate some HOMEMADE foods, like these big homemade peanut butter cookies (800 of them baked at once).   I love the details in this picture and I know these ladies loved working together.  They made biscuits, apple crisp, and so many other delicious foods for the children.



My kitchen, where I think of all the women in my family as I work.


Dedicated to mamas, grandmas, and aunts everywhere.

You make a difference wherever you are, even long after you’re gone.

You are loved.

She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!

6 thoughts on “homemade rolls made with love

  1. That old photo is AMAZING!! Excited to try this recipe! Pioneer Woman’s rolls are my go-to, but they are more a maple-glazed version! I am always on the hunt for a classic cinnamon roll recipe! Thanks Shan! xo-Chris

  2. Family … the most special of treasures! Thank you for sharing yours, Shanda … love the newspaper clipping, too! Having family who passed down their wisdom from generation to generation is something not everyone is fortunate to have these days. You are blessed, my friend! I’ve made yeast rolls before, but I’d like to try this recipe. I’m on ‘bread duty’ for our annual Thanksgiving family dinner and it’s going to make just enough. I may make a batch with the ‘sweet’ additions, as well! 🙂 Also, I was wondering if it’s possible to freeze the dough to use later … if so, are there any special instructions for doing that?

    • I have not frozen the dough. But if I did, I would proceed with the entire recipe UNTIL you are ready for the second rise. Form the rolls and then freeze. I would put the whole tray/pan in the freezer and then after the rolls were solid I would take them off the pans and put them in two (double them) freezer bags and then label. To bake, take them out of the freezer and arrange them on the baking pans to rise. It will take a while for them to come to room temperature and rise so be sure to give yourself plenty of time for that. Once they are thawed and risen, you can then proceed with the rest of the baking.

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