A large ball of Sweet dough

Cinnamon roll anyone? Warm from the oven…

There are so many things you can do with sweet dough.

Such as: make monkey bread, cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, coffeecakes, cheese filled braided danishes, or even dinner rolls or hamburger buns!

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Hello my beauties!

Every Saturday night, before I toddle off to bed, I go to the kitchen, say hello to my red Kitchen Aid mixer, get out the flour, yeast, buttermilk and eggs and get started. I make a very big batch of sweet dough. Then I put it in an oiled bag, big enough for it to expand, and put it in the fridge until morning.  I just leave it alone. I don’t even have to knead it. Well, maybe a turn or two, after the Kitchen Aid is done mixing. The overnight rest does, well, the rest!

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It’s not too smooth and satiny like it would usually be after kneading. And if you look close, you can see little balls of something…

IMG_1753 (1024x765)A little potato piece. I am about to let you in on a secret. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone I told you.)

Mashed potatoes are magic to bread dough!

So is the water you cooked the potatoes in. What, this is no secret? Humph!

I either make sure to make too much mashed potatoes when I make them for dinner (unless it is shepherds pie, in which case there is never too much) or I just boil  up a potato some time during the day, mash it and put it in the fridge to wait. I also save the potato water in a dish. So I don’t salt the water when I cook the potato, like I normally would.

Yeast just loves the starch in potatoes or potato water. Breads made with potato water and/or potatoes raise higher, have a softer texture, stay moist longer. You can use it in just about any kind of bread recipe, whether white or whole wheat. The exception, I think, would be lean doughs for things like focaccia bread or baguettes. Pizza dough? I don’t know. I’ll have to try it.

So anyway, here is this big ol’ batch of sweet dough. When I get up in the morning, I stumble out to the kitchen or sometimes out to the garage fridge to get the dough. I always hope there are no surprises when I open the fridge door. The kind of surprise that says “you forgot to add the yeast, dummy!” Those are bad mornings.

But if I open the door to the fridge and the dough is big and puffy, (sometimes a huge, grotesque take-over-the-world dough ball), I can sigh with relief.

The dough comes out and sits at room temperature while I preheat the oven, get out other ingredients and prep the pans.

I divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces. Now I wish I could remember how much the dough weighed. I know I weighed it last weekend, so I would know if each piece was about the same. I know each separate ball of dough was over a pound. At least 2 would be made into stuffed morning buns. The other one or two might become monkey bread, braided cream danish, cinnamon rolls, babka or something.

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If you aren’t going to a bake sale or pot luck, you could double wrap the dough you don’t need and freeze it.Although it will last in the fridge for about 3 days. So you could make something different each morning for 3 days!

By the way, my rule of thumb: 72 hours for bread and rolls. After this time, use for bread crumbs, croutons, bread pudding, french toast, chicken snacks or trash.

For pastries, 24 hour rule. And most of them cannot be recycled into anything. Something about the sugar in them, it soaks in and changes the chemistry of the bread, making it harder. It truly is ‘day old bread’. Not like now a days where they sell ‘day old bread’ but it is really weeks old. (beware!) Real bakeries only sell what has been made within the last 12-24 hours. Of course, this does not apply to cookies. We are only talking sweet dough pastries here. See recipe below.

Large Batch of Sweet Dough

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here is an all-purpose sweet dough, good for a multitude of baked goodies. Make one batch and use it for burger buns, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and a coffeecake. Then you are set for the week. (Making sure of course that you double wrap them and freeze if not using by the next day.)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a standing mixer or large bowl, add your warmed milks, eggs and melted butter. Mix together. Add the mashed potatoes if using and mix this in well.
  2. Add 2 cups of flour and let dough sit until cooled to under 100 degrees. Depending on how much you warmed your milks, this may only take a few minutes if at all.
  3. Now add the sugar, yeast, salt, and more flour. I use a danish whisk until it starts to get real thick, then I use the dough hook on my standing mixer. Either way you will be adding flour in until it forms a ball of dough, still tacky, not too dry. It usually sticks to the side of the mixer regardless, so when I feel it is pretty much done, I pull the dough onto a cutting board or floured counter and give it a few turns. You really only can tell if it needs more flour by feel. If it is still very sticky, add flour, about a Tbsp at a time. If it is somehow too dry to the touch, wet your hands and continue folding over, wetting hands again, until the dough absorbs the moisture and is tacky again.
  4. Once it is a tacky, but cohesive ball of dough, put it into a large bag (ziplocks do not work so well here. You can reuse bread bags for this. I buy boxes of bread bags so I have them on hand.) that you have sprayed or oiled. Twist tie near the top of the bag in order to give the dough room to expand. Put in the fridge to chill and it will continue raising and developing gluten while you sleep.
  5. Lets say you don’t want to make the dough the night before. You can let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1-1 1/2 hours. Then gently deflate, divide and shape into whatever you are making.
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