Rolls are made by rolling the raised dough into small forms, with the hands or with a rolling-pin, and afterward cutting and folding into the desired shape; the shape and manner of manipulation giving the distinctive names. The dough for rolls should be very light, and when wanted unusually nice, more shortening should be worked into it after the second kneading. The rule for Water Bread made with a sponge is good for plain rolls; Milk Bread made with a sponge is the same as Parker House Rolls, which have been generally adopted by housekeepers as the standard. The following are some of the best varieties and shapes: -
For Finger Rolls, make a dough by the rule for Milk Bread, No. 2, and when risen and ready to shape, divide the half reserved for rolls into twelve pieces. Make each piece into a smooth ball as if for biscuit, then roll it between the palms, or with the palm of one hand on the board, into a long roll about the size of the second finger. Roll with buttered hands or with as little flour as possible. Place them close together in a long, shallow pan. Let them rise to the top of the pan, and bake in a very hot oven for ten or fifteen minutes.
To make a Cleft Roll, make the dough into smooth balls, then with a floured knife-handle press through the centre but not quite through on the ends. Or make them round, and place them some distance apart on the pan, and when ready to bake, make a deep cut through the middle. Make another cut at right angles with the first and you have a Gross Roll.
Parker House Rolls are made after the receipt for Milk Bread with sponge, and when well risen and ready to shape, roll the dough on the board as you would pastry, and, if wanted richer, spread a generous tablespoonful of softened butter all over it. Fold the dough, and roll out again until nearly half an inch thick. Lift the rolled dough from the board and let it shrink back all it will, and be sure it is of uniform thickness before cutting, or the rolls will lose their shape. Cut with a round or oval cutter; press the thumb across the middle and fold over like a turnover, letting the edges come together. As they rise they will open a little, and, if folded only half-way over, they are liable to open too far. Spread a bit of soft butter the size of a pea on the edge before folding it, if you like the crusty inside which that gives. Or roll the dough thinner, and put two rounds together with a thin spreading of butter between; these are called Twin Rolls.
To make Pocket-book or Letter Rolls, roll the dough in a rectangular shape one fourth of an inch thick, and cut it in 6trips four inches wide and as long as the dough will allow. Spread with soft butter; fold one end of the strip over about an inch and a half, and then over again. Cut off even with the folding, and then fold another, and so on. Or out the dough into strips two inches wide by seven long, and spread each strip with butter, and fold one third over and then again like a letter. Or roll the dough out one fourth of an inch thick, then roll up and cut pieces one inch wide from the end of the roll, turn them over on the side, and place close together in a pan to rise.
To make a Braid, cut the rolled dough in strips one inch wide by six inches long, and pinch three strips together at the end, then form into a braid. Or roll little balls of dough into long pieces the same as for sticks, and then braid them.
To make Crescents, or Vienna Rolls, roll the dough until only an eighth of an inch thick; cut into pieces five inches square and then into triangles. Hold the apex of the triangle in the right hand, roll the edge next the left hand over and over towards the right, stretch the point and bring it over and under the roll; bend the ends of the roll around like a horseshoe, being careful to keep in the folding. Any dough that is quite stiff may be shaped with the hands into small, oval rolls with quite tapering ends, and baked far enough apart to allow each roll to have a crust all over. These are called French Rolls. Any of these rolls may be rubbed with a cloth dipped in melted butter; or, better still, twist a piece of butter in a clean cloth and rub it over them just as they are taken from the oven.