Thursday, December 1, 2011

Clover Leaf Dinner Rolls

This recipe has been handed down for a few generations.  I call it "Mildred Fredrick's Dinner Rolls," because that is the lady that gave my mother the recipe.  I'm not at all sure who she is...I think maybe the mother of an aunt or something.  Anyway, they are the most fabulous dinner rolls.  If a better roll recipe exists, I just haven't found it yet...not that I'm looking...

I'll post the recipe below, but for now, I'll just walk you through the steps to make the clover leaf shape.  It really is quite simple, but I've been making these rolls since I was a child, so I really probably shouldn't make the "easy" claim so readily.  Depending on the dough temperature, and a thousand other factors, it could be tricky. Please don't let that stop you!  You'll be sorry!

The dough is mixed up the night before, then tucked into the fridge in a HUGE, greased bowl with a lid or piece of Saran wrap covering the top.  I always give the top of the dough a squirt of cooking spray to keep it from drying out.  The next day, you'll want to get the dough out of the fridge and let it warm up just a bit, but you do NOT want the dough to be warm.  If the dough is too warm, it will be harder to form.  You just don't want to freeze your hands off while forming the dough balls.
Grease your hands liberally (I use butter flavor Crisco) and pull off a good hunk of dough.

For now and for the remainder of these photos, please ignore my ugly, greasy paws!  Macro photography and grease does nothing for making one's hands look beautiful.  Pretend you have a blob of silly putty and just push the dough up through your hands to just make a smooth side to it.  (You are not kneading the dough...just smoothing it out.)  The best description I can think of is like what your tongue does to bubblegum when you're forming it to blow a bubble.  Get it now?

Wrap one fist around that smooth "bubble"  and push a little dough through.

Squeeze your fist closed to "poop"  out a little ball.  I'm not trying to be gross here, just incredibly descriptive.  Thanks for sinking to my level for a few moments...

Pinch off a ball the size of an English walnut and plunk it into a greased (I just use cooking spray) muffin tin. 

You will want 3 balls in each cup...unless you are an over-achiever and want your clovers to have four leaves.  I In this case, your balls will have to be smaller.  *Snicker*  (Sorry!  I'm immature and couldn't help it.)

Place the tins in a warm, draft free place.

Cover them up with some clean dish towels. 

Check them in about an hour and see how they are doing.  You can bake them at this point, but if you have time to spare, give them a while longer.

Now we're talking! (This photo taken from a previous batch when I obviously had more time.)

Pop them in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  I usually rub a stick of butter over the tops as soon as they come out of the oven.  Not necessary, but it helps keep the tops from drying out, and really, can you have too much butter? 

Dump them out into a basket (you don't want sweaty rolls) and smack the hands that start to grab!

Clover leafy goodness!

With butter?  Even better!

Dinner Rolls
2 pkgs (4 tsp)  instant yeast
1 c cold water
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 c margarine
1/2 c butter flavor Crisco
1 c boiling water
7 1/2 c all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the cold water and beat in the eggs.
In another bowl, combine the sugar, salt, margarine, Crisco with the boiling water and stir to melt the fats.  Let this mixture cool to warm (think baby bath temperature).  Add this to the yeast mixture and then stir in the flour.  I now mix mine in a stand mixer with a dough hook, but did it with a wooden spoon and bicep power for years.  You may need more or less flour, but I've found that 7 1/2 cups consistently works for me.  Put the dough in a very large, greased, covered bowl in the fridge overnight.
The next day, form rolls as described above.

This recipe will easily make 24 rolls, but I like to make a double batch so that we can fry up the dough in the morning and have dough cakes with butter and jam.  Holy deliciousness!


  1. Well, I guess the secret is out now for good. At least I have a head start on the rest of the world perfecting the process!

  2. I want to thank you. I haven't tried the recipe(But I will!), but I came here to learn how to "Poop" the dough. My grandmother makes potato rolls every year during the holidays, and that's how she makes her rolls is by "poofing". This year it was up to me to make the rolls, but I had no clue how to poof them, your diagram helped me greatly. Thank you, Happy holidays!

  3. I saw this on Pinterest, and I've got to giggle a little at the randomness of my sister happening on this blog and finding a recipe of our Great-Grandma Fredrick on here! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Christie, glad you found it helpful!

    Ramona, what a small world! If you are who I think you are, you have a Great- Aunt Marsha. My father was a half brother to her husband. Is this a family recipe that you use, by chance? We have always given credit to the lady who gave my mother the recipe. (She knew Mildred.) We do not have an Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinner without them!

  5. Hi, the farmer's wife! I'm Ramona's sister, Annie, and I actually found your blog because I googled our Great-Grandma's name looking for pictures of her. I'm wondering if it's our Mildred, which I suspect she is, and if it is our Great-Grandma, she lived in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. It would be fun if she's one-in-the-same!

  6. Love these with butter! Thanks for the idea!