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A few visitors

A titmouse checking me out...




Curiouser and curiouser...




Now a brown-headed nuthatch stops by...



...with a white-breasted nuthatch close behind!


This little wren didn't want to be left out...



Time to say bye-bye!



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Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls



Are you intimidated by the idea of baking with yeast? Here's a great recipe from King Arthur Baking. It makes a big batch in no time flat - great to take along to a pot luck to show off your talents. The only adjustment I made was to mince up some fresh herbs in the dough, which added a bit of color and a hint of garden freshness.


Here's the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (113g) lukewarm water
  • 2 cups (454g) warm milk (100°F to 110°F)
  • 3 tablespoons (43g) butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (21g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (28g) yeast, instant yeast preferred
  • 6 to 7 cups (723g to 843g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir well and let sit for 6 to 8 minutes, or until you see the yeast begin to foam.
  2. Add 5 cups of flour and mix by hand or with the paddle attachment until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. The dough will not form a ball at this point, but will be just shy of coming together.
  3. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time and blend with the dough hook until a smooth ball begins to form. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, or by machine for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.
  4. Lightly spray your work bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Spritz the top of the dough with spray as well and cover lightly with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Let rise for 20 minutes at room temperature or until the dough is full and puffy.
  5. Gently deflate the dough and pat out to a rough rectangle about 8 inches by 12 inches. Cut the dough into 4 long strips, then cut each strip into 6 portions for a total of 24 dough balls. Shape into round balls as you would shape meatballs, using your cupped hands to roll the dough. Spritz your hands with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  6. You can place the rolls into any of the following pans, well greased or lined with parchment paper: One half-sheet baking pan or 2 quarter-sheet pans. Two 13" x 9" x 2" pans. Four 8" or 9" round baking pans OR a combination of any of these pans.
  7. After the rolls are in the pans, cover again with your plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until well rounded and full looking. If you are baking now, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  8. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and an internal thermometer reads 190°F. You can brush the baked rolls with melted butter if desired. Serve warm, store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
  9. If you want to freeze the unbaked buns, place in the pans as described in step 6 and allow to rise for 10 minutes. Wrap airtight and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To bake, thaw overnight in the fridge, then unwrap and bake as directed.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Yes, you read that yeast amount correctly. This is a quick rise recipe, hence the higher amount of yeast.
  • This recipe as written makes 2 dozen large, fist-sized rolls. Feel free to make a larger number of (smaller) rolls simply by dividing the dough into a greater number of pieces initially.
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