I think every home cook out to have at least one seemingly impressive "I made this from scratch!" recipe in hand, especially around the holidays. Too many people just whack some crescent rolls out of a can for Thanksgiving, when its surprisingly easy to make dinner rolls the night, or even several days before. These simple rolls can be whipped up in just a few minutes, require no kneading (meaning no messy, floured counter tops) and can sit in the fridge for up to three days before you need them. In fact, they taste better the longer they sit.
This is an enriched dough, which means butter, eggs, sugar and milk are incorporated into the dough. This gives the yeast extra sugars to feed on, as well as imparting flavor to the dough. The longer the rise, the more time the yeast have to play, which means a slight sourdough note to your rolls. Much better tasting than the fake butter in the canned bread dough you usually buy.
No-Knead Dinner Rolls (Adapted from Joy of Cooking, sixth edition)
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 packet active, dry yeast
Slowly heat milk on the stove, being careful to not let it come to a boil or simmer. Dissolve butter, sugar and salt completely in the warm milk. Add warm water and yeast. Let it sit for about five minutes to allow yeast to activate. Add beaten egg. Make a well in your flour and add milk mixture. Mix until flour is thoroughly incorporated. You can get about a dozen rolls out of this, by either shaping them by hand and dropping them into a nine inch round pan, or spooning dough into a lined muffin pan. Cover the pan loosely for at least two hours on the counter, or ideally overnight in the fridge. If you refrigerate overnight, allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.