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I’d show a picture, but since they came out of the oven at roughly 1 o’clock, we are down to 3 rolls. They look sad without their brethren. (Never fear, for they shall meet again in the Great Tummy, and there will be much rejoicing.)

They are excellent warm, cold, or indifferent. While just about any cinnamon roll dough recipe can be used, this particular (if not very well-measured) recipe is what I used. The crumb is light, the dough not overly chewy and the juice from the baking sausage gives the whole damn thing an orgasmic, pig-flavored edge. Excellent to take on the go (if you remember to grease between the rolls so they come apart, that is. I normally attack the damn thing with a fork), for a hearty snack, or a main dish if you feel so inclined.

Ingredients shall be followed by the appropriate directions. Feel free to pick it up wherever you like.

~2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (or the packet equivalent, should be one packet, I think)

~1/2 to 2/3 cup lukewarm water (tapwater works, if it tastes ok)

~Sugar (I didn’t measure, but I’d say no more than 1/2 cup. Basically enough to let the yeast eat without making the dough too sweet)

Mix this all together and let it sit a second. If it looks a bit foamy, good. That’s the yeast farting (what, you thought those light, airy bread loaves were flatulence-free?).

~2 cups flour (I used white flour, though we did have bread flour. Whole wheat works too, it’ll just be darker and taste nuttier)

Mix in the flour to your farting yeast glop. It’ll look a little dry but don’t worry, it gets better.

~2 large eggs

Crack ’em and toss them in. Mix some more. It should look looser and much yellower, if you have good eggs.

~1 cup flour (same addendum as previous flour)

Mix this in slowly, a bit at a time. This is where it gets dirty, folks, so be prepared. Knead the dough up to five minutes. We are looking for a nicely resistant dough that is fairly smooth (no huge lumps of individual dough bits). Add flour as it gets sticky. If your bowl is big enough, you won’t need a board until it comes time to load the rolls with sausage. Once it is kneaded, cover with a clean towel and stick it in a warm place. What is warm to us can be too warm for bread; a pilot light in a gas oven is wonderful. On top of a working radiator is not. Use your best judgment. Let the dough sit in the spot to rise until it is about doubled. Depending on temperature, it should take an hour or so.

~extra flour for kneading (keeps it from sticking everywhere)

Punch the dough down. The escaping gas will make odd noises; do not fear the yeast farts. Ball it up again, adding flour as needed, and start kneading. This is the stage that the dough starts looking beautiful- satiny smooth, resilient to the touch, and just plain sexy. Another five minutes or so, and we set it to rise again. Same place, same bowl, same towel, same time, same schtick- come back when it has doubled.

~Cheese (I used cheddar, ’bout 2 cups or so when grated. Use what you like, just remember that unless you saturate the dough with cheese, it won’t be ooey-gooey-cheesy. It bakes into the dough, making delightful cheese-tasting flecks throughout the bread. More cheese can be added on top for the equivalent of savory sticky buns, but that will have to wait until I get there.)

~Seasonings + Salt (Salt retards the yeast, so I like to add it a bit later in the process. About a teaspoon is sufficient, more if you like it salty. In my last batch of rolls, I just added some garlic and onion powder and went from there. Add what you like in the amounts you like, its your bread after all.)

~flour (just for the stickiness. It probably won’t take that much)

Grate your cheese (if you didn’t buy it pre-grated) and toss in your seasonings and the salt. Mix it well so the dry powders coat the cheese strands. When the dough has doubled the second time, haul it out. Dump the cheese into the dough and knead. You only have to knead enough for the cheese mix to be well distributed throughout the dough. Set the dough aside once it it cheesified, and find a board. I have a bread board, but a cutting board or even a well-cleaned counter-top or table would work. Lightly flour the surface of whatever it is you are using and lay out the dough ball. I like to use my hands, but a rolling pin helps, too. Basically we are (gently) stretching, poking, prodding, pulling, and whacking the dough into as neat of a rectangle as we can. Even thickness is desirable but not necessary, if it truly won’t cooperate. Position it so the longer sides are parallel to your body (basically, so when you roll it you get a long fat roll instead of a short INSANELY FAT roll.)

~RAW SAUSAGE. AND LOTS OF IT. (well, not really. If you don’t want the thing to squeal when you bite into it, I *suppose* it would be acceptable to use less. Keep in mind that it will shrink as it cooks [the fat renders off and makes delicious love to the dough], so the finer grind you use, the smaller the gaping holes where your meat used to be will be. I used a tube and a half of uncooked Jimmy Dean sausage this last trip and it didn’t shrink that much. Last time I made them, I used rough-chop country sausage and had holes. Still tasted good, though.)

I like to carpet my dough in sausage so you get some in every bite, but I realize not everyone shares my love of ground-up, seasoned pig (coughblashphemerscoughcough). However much you end up using, try to spread it in an even layer across the dough. It makes rolling easier if you leave a half inch or so of dough sausage-free on the long edge across from you so you can seal it. Press the meat firmly into the dough so less falls out as you roll.

Now, start rolling. It helps to start at the ends, for me. Roll it away from you, meat side up so it gets tucked into the roll. This Youtube clip (which also has a related clip on making the dough into a rectangle, if you need it) shows how to get the roll going. Just imagine the brown stuff is raw pig and you’ll do fine. My rolls never get the perfect little ends on them, so if they look ugly, its ok. So do mine -.-

Before we start cutting our roll, find a pan. A 9″ by 13″ pan generally holds everything for me, with a 9″ pie pan as a overflow container. Grease or spray the pan(s) you plan to use. You can also have grease or melted butter to lube up the completed rolls so they come apart easier. Or, if you are lazy, as I am, forget the butter and pry the cooked rolls apart with a fork.

Now, with greasy pan and optional butter lube in hand, we are ready to cut some rolls. It can be done one of two ways- with a very sharp knife, or with a piece of clean thread or dental floss. The floss makes a very clean cut, so if you like that, go for it. I prefer the sharp kitchen knife or a pastry knife myself. Just remember to clean the meat bits that cling to the blade off between slices.

To get even rolls, I do the following. I first cut the roll in equal halves. I then take a half and cut it in half again. I like an inch or so high rolls (measured at this stage), which (depending on the length of the roll) could be as simple as cutting the now-fourth in half, in thirds, or in fourths. I tend to go for even cuts out of the “ugly” end, and use the tail end to hold extra meat scraps and act as a filler for the pan. The “pretty” rolls are arranged in the pan (and where the sides will touch once they rise coated in butter, if I remember to coat them) so they have room to expand (maybe an eighth of an inch between them). The cutting process is repeated on the other half of the mega-roll, tail ends saved, until all of the “pretty” rolls are in. The tail ends are arranged in the 9″ by 13″, or in the overflow pan if there isn’t enough room.

The rolls are covered one last time with the towel and popped back into the resting place to rise until they touch. It shouldn’t take more than an hour, sometimes significantly less. Once they have risen, turn on the oven to 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and pop them in, without the towel on top. I’ve put them in a cold oven and cooked them that way, so you don’t really have to preheat anything. It should take 20 minutes to a half hour unless you have super-thick rolls. The bread tops should be golden brown to a pale brown, and the sausage should be brown, as well. A test roll can be carefully removed from the pan and broken open to check for the done-ness of the meat (it will be HOT). They will smell freakin’ good, so be prepared to fight off family members from peeking into the oven.

Once they have cooked, pull them out. To preserve the softness of the bread, cover with the trusty towel as they cool. The towel traps the escaping steam and softens the bread that way. You can also smear a fat on the bread bits when it is piping hot. Butter, margarine, bacon fat- it all works. It helps lock the softness in. If you are a cheese freak, during the last few minutes of cooking you can cover the top of the rolls with more cheese and stick it under the broiler to toast. That’s up to the individual cook, so I leave it to you.

If they last that long (and I make no promises, these things go fast), store leftovers in the fridge. You can leave them out as long as you have cold nights, but it is safer in the fridge. You can reheat them in the microwave or nom on them cold. They are an excellent potluck food (make them the day before, take them out of the fridge the morning of, a quick reheat and you’re good). They never lasted long enough to go into a freezer, but I would expect that they would be a decent freezer meal. If your rolls don’t look beautiful, don’t worry. They will still taste wonderful, and it gives you an excuse to try again.

If you have any questions, let me know. I like helping people ^_^

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