Josh had been talking about me making potato rolls for a while. He talked about it for so long that he eventually switched over to talking about doing it himself, which meant that he was tired of waiting on me. It's not that I didn't want to bake him delicious bread treats, it's that all the recipes called for potato flakes. I don't use potato flakes for mashed potatoes, so why should I use them for potato bread?
I made the dough the night before my car died. It was supposed to sit in the fridge overnight or up to five days. I was planning on making the dough that very next night, but I spent the weekend at my sister's instead, letting her drive me around to car dealerships so they could tell me that they didn't have any cars. Josh was out of town, down in Florida with the band. My sister dropped me off at my house on Sunday night, and I made the rolls. I didn't want to, because I was tired and stressed at the prospect of being vehicle-less for a while. My motivation was that Josh was coming home that night, and wouldn't he like some nice warm potato rolls? Plus, I was worried about the dough. Sure, the recipe said five days, but I did not want to push it.
Frankly, it was lucky I hadn't scrapped the dough entirely the previous Thursday night. I had finally found a recipe that used real, live potato-y potatoes. I peeled, boiled, and mashed them just like I would if I were going to slather them in milk and butter and garlic (and sour cream and more butter and more garlic and is anyone else hungry right now?). Then I mixed them in with the flour and eggs and butter. Only when I pulled the dough out of my mixer did I notice that there were lumps. I felt like such a doofus. Lumps are great in mashed potatoes, but they are not what you want in potato rolls. One thing I don't trust about potato flakes is the lack of lumps, but in this situation it was starting to seem like an advantage.
But the dough was mixed and there was nothing to do about it but let it rise anyway. I would let it rise for a day, then make the rolls Friday night. If they turned out lumpy and weird, I could just make another batch Friday or Saturday, and no one would ever be the wiser. This was the plan.
My car did not respect my plan.
Sunday night, I was rolling out the dough in big circles, just like the directions said. As I worked the dough, I noticed no lumps. I gave those doughy mounds a thorough exam, just like the OB/GYN told me to do to my breasts every month: no lumps. I can only assume that the yeasties ate them. Yeasties know good mashed potatoes when they see them, and good mashed potatoes have lumps.
The rolls were supposed to be crescent shaped, and in a couple of cases, you could tell what they were supposed to look like. Mostly they looked like fattened envelopes. I figured I could get better at that part with practice. They were resting, still warm, on the stove when Josh came in. I proudly showed them to him and invited him to admire the fresh-baked smell, the delicious potato flavor, but not the dumpy shape. He told me he had just had some Bojangles and wasn't hungry.
I was watching TV in the living room, and he disappeared into the kitchen to get something to drink. He came back with two and a half potato rolls in his hands, the missing half in his mouth. He began to sing the praises of the potato roll, crescent-shaped or not. I basked in his admiration.
"You should take these to Thanksgiving," he continued enthusiastically. I froze.
"I can't do that. We always have BFYRs*."
"These are better."
"Maybe, but that's...that's...no, we can't do it. I can't usurp BFYRs."
"It could be the new tradition."
"We can't do that."
"Well, alright. But take them to your family sometime. They'll see."
Colleen's Potato Crescent Rolls
Note: I use butter instead of shortening. I am also experimenting with how many slices to cut the dough circle to get the best crescents. So far, I like cutting three circles into 12 slices better than cutting two circles into 16 slices. I still get mostly misshapen rolls, but I think that might be my own problem.
*Big Fat Yeast Rolls