Makes 12 rolls
- 2¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 1 egg
- ⅔ cup milk, at room temperature
- ½ cup warm mashed potatoes
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ⅓ cup rendered bacon fat, melted and cooled to room temperature
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and sugar with the water and let sit for 15 minutes, until frothy.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, knead together the egg, milk, mashed potatoes, and the yeast mixture on low speed. Add the flour and salt and knead for 4 minutes. Add the bacon fat by the spoonful and mix until the dough is homogenous. You want to have a smooth dough consistency. It should taste like raw mashed-potato bread dough—in other words, not very good.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and set it in a warm place. Let the dough rise for an hour, or until doubled in size. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and knead it for a minute. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (2½ to 2¾ ounces each). Roll each piece between the palm of your hand and the floured work surface, pressing down gently. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and oil the sides. Place the dough balls, seam-side down, on the baking sheet ¼ inch apart, so when they rise they attach to one another. Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place, or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, or until very lightly browned. They should not turn golden brown, but instead look like the cheap grocery-store doughy rolls that your grandma serves. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before tearing apart and serving.
Reprinted with permission from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by Fredéric Morin, David McMillan & Meredith Erickson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.