Growing up, items from Jackson’s Bakery in Rochester, New York, were always an integral part of birthdays, holidays, graduations and celebrations. Jackson’s is as old school as bakeries come. They have been in business since my grandparents were young, and are well known in Rochester. Their cakes, cookies, kuckens and breads are all fantastic and made fresh daily; according to my Grandpa Glen, who was quite the “Dapper Dan”, everything always looks bodacious in Jackson’s, and it does. White Mountain Rolls are a family favorite and one of their popular items. They are a lightly sweet, cake like roll that we used for small sandwiches, toast and dinner rolls. Moving from Rochester after college, Jackson’s is one of the things I miss most, so I had to try and recreate my childhood favorite at home.
I found this recipe on online from a New England cooking site; it was taken from an old Boston cookbook from 1884. What I thought was most interesting is that the recipe called for folding in a stiffly beaten egg white into the dough. I have made a lot of yeast breads, and this was the first recipe I have ever seen this in.
It is important to keep the dough soft and a little tacky. Too much flour will give you a dense roll.
I’ve made them a few times, and made some of my own tweaks to the recipe to get it closer to Jackson’s. I think they turn out pretty darn close to the originals, but nothing can beat Jackson’s.
White Mountain Rolls
Adapted from New England Recipes
Makes 18 Rolls3 – 3 1/2 cups white flour
2.5 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup, 4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg white flour for dusting Warm milk in a sauce pan to lukewarm (do not exceed 110 degrees). Pour ¼ cup warm milk in glass measuring cup, add yeast and ¼ teaspoon sugar and stir, let rise 5 to 10 minutes. If yeast does not rise in 10 minutes throw away, yeast in no longer active and will not raise your dough. While yeast is proofing, add butter, sugar, salt to warm milk in pan, and allow to just melt. In a separate bowl: Beat egg white until stiff. Set aside.
Pour in milk, butter, sugar and salt mixture into a medium size mixing bowl and add yeast mixture. Whisk in one cup of flour until there are no lumps. Fold in egg white. Gently mix/fold in remaining 2 cups of flour in two additions. Dough should be slightly tacky and just barley stick to your hand. Add up to 1/2 cup more flour to adjust consistency. Give dough a few turns in the bowl, just to knead into a smooth ball. Transfer to oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and let double in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle about 9 x 14″. Cut dough horizontally into three even strips. Cut dough vertically into 6 even strips. Take each dough square and round edges and shape into about 2 x 3″ rolls. Place on floured baking sheet. Dust tops with flour. Cover with tea towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to one hour. While rolls are rising, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake rolls in oven for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned and they sound hollow when tapped. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days. Can be frozen for up to one month.