Bina's Yeast Rolls (with recipe)

in #food3 years ago (edited)

My mother-in-law, Jakobine (Bina for short), was Norwegian and had a clear idea of what constituted a holiday feast. She was a wonderful cook who knew how to please the eye as well as our tastebuds. Her holiday tables were beautiful, even before the food arrived! Linen tablecloths and napkins, with silver napkin rings, her heirloom plates and serving bowls, fresh flowers and candles, it was a joy to sit at her table.


Jacobine Randine 'Bina' Eikrem Metcalfe

For every holiday she made special treats. Rum cake for Easter, Rømmegrøt for Christmas, sweet potatoes baked in orange halves for Thanksgiving, but best of all were her dinner rolls. Everyone politely fought over them and if there were any left over we did our best to take home as many as we could.

She didn't write down her recipes, she knew them by heart, and when she passed and I inherited her cookbooks and notes I was dismayed to find only a list of ingredients for her yeast rolls - with no measurements or directions!. Why had I never asked her to teach me how to make them? It seemed there would always be time to learn

I knew a little about making bread and had a general idea of proportions so I set out to duplicate her recipe. The first batch I made was a huge disaster. I knew the minute I took them out of the oven that they were nothing like hers. I actually sat down and cried, missing her all over again.

But I perservered and several batches later found success! My husband declared that they were as good as his mother's! Now I make them for every holiday meal, and sometimes for no special reason except the joy of eating them and remembering her.



If you have made yeast breads you will find these easy to make. If you haven't they are still worth trying! Allow yourself plenty of time, the secret is to let them rise twice before forming them into rolls, and then let them rise again.

I am making them for our Thanksgiving meal. We will eat at 2 pm and I started them at 9 am. I have gone the modern route and use a bread machine for the kneading. If you knead the dough by hand keep going with it until it is “as soft as a baby's bottom!”

Bina's Yeast Rolls
(Bread Machine Version)


2 ½ to 3 c. flour (Bread Machine flour) (use as little as possible)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. Butter (softened)
¾ c. Milk
2 ¼ tsp. Yeast (quick-acting, for bread machine)


Measure milk and butter and warm until butter begins to melt. Add to bread machine with the egg. Add the flour and sugar. Make a small dent in the center of the flour and add the yeast in the center.

Use the bread machine's 'dough' setting. Mine takes an hour and 40 minutes to complete. When that time is up wait another hour before removing it to a floured surface. Let rest 10 minutes.



Roll out dough evenly. How thick you roll it isn't important, anything less than a half inch thick is fine.

Use a knife or other cutter to cut the dough into squares, then each square diagonally to make triangles. (I use a pizza cutter!)

5_First Cut.jpg


Roll the triangles from the widest end into a crescent roll shape, pinching the tip into the roll so it keep its shape while rising.

Place the rolls on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper to keep them from sticking.)


Let rise in a warm place for at least an hour, until you see they have risen a bit. They will not double in size but will look somewhat puffy. Bake them starting with a cold oven set to 350 degrees for 22 minutes. Enjoy them warm or cold!

8_Baked Rolls.jpg

If you will be making them without a machine you can substitute regular white flour and yeast for the bread machine versions. Mix the milk, butter, egg, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the flour gradually, stirring it to combine. Start with 2 ½ cups of flour and add more until the dough doesn't stick to the side of the bowl.

Knead on a floured board, adding a bit more flour as you go until it doesn't stick to your fingers. Lightly coat the large bowl with oil and put the dough back in. Cover the bowl and let rise for one hour. Punch down the dough to let out the air bubbles, cover for another hour.

From there the process is the same, turning out the dough onto a floured surface, rolling, cutting, forming, and baking the rolls.

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Ooo such lovely looking rolls @donna-metcalfe! They have the shape of a croissant! And it is so wonderful of you to share your mother in law's recipe with us, and I love how you persevered to test several batches to get the measurements. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I miss my grandma who was a great cook and many recipes are left in my memory as a kid watching her cook. You are my inspiration now to try out her recipes based on what I remembered. Thank you @donna-metcalfe!

This is the shape she always made. But once the dough is rolled out there are lots of ways to shape it. The difference in her recipe from others I've made is the double rise and no salt. I thought that might have been a mistake but leaving it out I think makes them extra tender.

Oh if you can recreate her recipes wouldn't that be wonderful? Such memories come from childhood foods. After my first disaster with the rolls I swear I felt her spirit beside me, encouraging me to keep trying. I think that's why I didn't give up. Be sure to write down everything as you go along! Memories can be tricky and once you perfect her recipes you'll be glad to have them written down.

Aah a little bit of improvisation that made it even better. I can imagine how happy you must have felt when your husband declared they are as good as his mother's :) I will need to hand knead and I like how you said to "keep going with it until it is “as soft as a baby's bottom!”", I will remember that always :). I tried kneading bread before and I was kneading and kneading, wondering when to stop and I think I stopped before it was as soft as a baby's bottom! No wonder it was hard :P.

Yup yup, I hope too. She cooked very yummy traditional recipes and I can remember she mixes the ingredients but not really sure the measurements. She left 10 years ago and the memories are fading. I hope to be able to do this. Writing down is a great idea or all will be lost. Thank you again @donna-metcalfe!

My husband and I agree that she was the best cook ever. But with all modesty I have a way with vegetables and he compares mine favorably to hers. Of course she was cooking for a group of people and I cook with his tastes in mind. :-)

Oh yes, a baby's bottom! I read that somewhere and it's been a good guide. Also you look for tiny wrinkles on the surface. Hard to see until you know what you're looking for but once you notice them they're pretty clear. Also it depends on what kind of bread. A heavy dough takes a lot of kneading, not just patting it, you have to get in there with the strength of your shoulders sometimes! I was taught to knead, then fold and turn it one quarter around a circle. Pressing with one hand, folding and turning with the other.

I think as you start cooking her recipes you'll remember more and more. Getting the spices right will be important. I could never get my lima beans to taste like my grandmothers until she told me to use a pinch of savory. That was what it was missing! If you have family members who remember her cooking they can help you with taste-testing too!

Ooo I love vegetable dishes stir fried very simply with garlic. How do you cook yours? I would love to read your post on that :)
Ah tiny wrinkles, I think I have seen that on baking shows and I have seen how people knead, and fold in and turning in circles. Such a therapeutic motion in action. Time to get my hands bready! :)
Ah that is a great idea. I can get my family members to try but I will need to thicken my skin first to face the critiques :D. My aunty used to cook like her and was the only one who knew her recipes by heart but she passed away suddenly 2 years ago due to cancer :( Life is so unexpected sometimes.

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Do what the baking show people do, it sounds just right! And yes, very therapeutic!

One of the things my husband and I agree on is lots of garlic and spicy hot chilies! Which is not a Norwegian-type thing. I have one of his mother's recipes for a noodle dish that calls for a whole clove of garlic - pierced with a toothpick - and removed before baking! My version uses 3 cloves, minced and sauteed with the onions.

She mostly boiled her vegetables. Nothing wrong with that, but I like to steam mine (artichokes, with garlic powder and a few fennel seeds in the steam water) or roast them in the oven (with, yes, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon before serving). She would boil cabbage until it nearly gave up the ghost. I stir-fry mine lightly with salt and pepper and a pinch of whole celery seeds. I never liked beets all that much, the canned and pickled kind, but roasting them whole in the oven changed all that. I like my vegetables to shine on their own, not just be an extra thing on the plate.

Critical relatives? Perhaps you could take the pressure off by explaining that you're doing an ongoing experiment? Not looking for a thumb's up or down, you just need their feedback on the flavors? Hopefully choosing the testers/tasters who are also cooks? Even if you don't exactly match her flavors you will come close and create new family favorites!

You either don't post or come with a powerhouse and it seems to be food related.

I'll need to rethink how to welcome your posts or reward you ...

freedomshift transfer 0.400 STEEM to hoaithu

I hope it works as expected ...

Wow, thank you! I was just wondering who hoaithu was! How very generous, thank you so much!

Life got weird there for a while. Unfortunately it's not something I can write about, family wrangles and lawyers are tedious to go through and even worse to read about! But I have some ideas percolating and my calendar is clearing up!

Sorry, but I did not understand. I'll retry with the min = max = 0.02 SBD

wooowww... wooowwww... look at your post @donna-metcalfe, You did it... and @curie picked it!
I never tried to make any kind of bread because I don't have bread machine, YET! hehehe... and I wonder how people make rolls. so.. you don't have to polish the bread with yolks and butter to make it shiny right?
thank you for sharing your belated mother in law recipe with us... I took a note of this recipe, maybe one day when I have that bread machine, I'll re-bake and show you the result too.

Oh I know, I was amazed at the response and very grateful they chose me to feature! And other curation groups too, so very nice of them.

I have made other breads that call for brushing the tops with an egg wash, or butter, or milk. That makes the top nice and brown. But her rolls are done when they are just slightly brown on top. I do sometimes mist the rolls with water as they start to rise. I think that helps to relax the dough and not get too dry.

But oh @cicisaja, people have been making bread for centuries before bread machines were invented! And I made bread for years before I got one. I mostly use mine for the mixing and kneading and then shape the loaves by hand. It is really helpful to have someone teach you in person how to knead. Back in the day there weren't Youtube videos like there are now. It is a wonderful way to work out your aggressions too! But I like to start the machine and then go do something else, plus my hands aren't as strong as they once were. So yes, get a machine if you want but you don't need one to make great bread!

get a machine if you want but you don't need one to make great bread!

What can I say, I always got troubled by the yeast... mom said I need to learn about it before do something, I even failed to make a donut dough.. hahahaha, well the basic of donuts and bread is almost similar I think, proofing is the key.. and you're right, people have been making bread for centuries... but for someone who has born in the ocean of rice field, what can I do? I like bread, but we bought it from the chinese seller, they're really cool with their amazing bread yeast, I forgot the way they call it (I saw it in the movie).

by the way.. you just eat the rolls like that or with something else @donna-metcalfe?

Yes, donuts are like other kinds of breads and yeast is important. Hey, if your mother knows about making bread she'd be a good one to talk to!

When I first made bread the yeast came in little squares wrapped in foil. You had to mix them with warm water and see if you get any bubbles. Then there were little packets of dry yeast granules. I don't think you had to 'proof' those, there was a date stamp to show if they were fresh.

I have even made sourdough bread! That is made with 'wild' yeast and I bought mine from a woman who had collected it from the grape vineyards in her area. Sourdough yeast takes a lot of care. You have to 'feed' it with flour and water and a little sugar every few days to keep it fresh. From this 'starter' you use maybe a cup for a recipe of bread. Then keep feeding the original until you have enough to make more. After a few years my starter turned too sour to taste good. I didn't take good care of it. But it was fun while it lasted!

The rolls we eat warm with a little butter. The next day we make little sandwiches with them, slice them in half and put leftover ham (or turkey) inside. We usually run out of rolls before we have eaten the leftover meats. Very sad. :-)

Thanks for sharing that story. Home made goodies are always best around the holidays. Congrats on not giving up and figuring out the recipe.

Hello @donna-metcalfe. Here is a bread bakers community @breadbakers. It's really nice to read the story of the bread and you tried to restore the recipe you inherited :)

Your post was found with #bread tag. When you bake bread, post with #breadbakers tag. We are happy to see bread bakers on Steemit.

Thank you! I don't know many tags and didn't know about #breadbakers! I love bread and am happy to know there is a community here!

You can still replace a tag with this one. We're getting started with it :)

Yay! We're a family now! ;)

Wonderful recipe and a grateful for the sharing of a family tradition.

Great post. Traditional holiday tables are fading away. My wife has given up on making my mom's rolls. And my mom is still alive to consult! lol Maybe I can talk her into trying this recipe.

I've never attempted to recreate her holiday tables, or menus, but this one thing I can do!
Wow, if your mom is still alive, that is so great! Someone in your family should learn her recipes! Don't be like me and wait until it is too late.

I love hearing about the stories behind family recipes.. I feel like so much love and culture is passed down through the food we make for our families. My grandmother was an amazing cook and I have the best memories of her in the kitchen making something amazing.. I love that I now how those recipes (and old books with scribbled notes) that I use with my own daughter.. there is something special about that.

I was like you though and didn’t have her teach me many of her recipes so I’ve had some trial and error discoveries as well! It feels great when you finally get it right!

Thanks so much for sharing this delicious looking recipe and the your families story behind it. I really enjoyed it!

I have a few of her other recipes, mostly for cookies and the rømmegrøt for Christmas, that she gave me when she was still alive. With the recipes came her firm command that I only make them at Christmas so that they don't become ordinary. Even now that she's gone I wouldn't dare disobey her! One year I sent my brother in law some cookies from her recipes. He said they tasted "almost" like hers. I had cheaped out on the spices - fresh nutmeg and cardamom. I made sure to have them the next time and he said I'd nailed it. I was so proud.

I have some of my grandmother's recipes with her handwritten notes and I cherish those and that connection with her. Those really are special! And how wonderful that you are sharing with the next generation(s)!

The power of determination and not giving up, I'm so happy you could recreation your mother in laws recipe.
Happy Thanksgiving

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Thank you for sharing such personal recipe. I can understand what you mean with that your mother did not have written recipes but knew them by heart, it is sometimes that people when they do cook or bake for long time they still improving or adjusting them all time and even every time it is a bit different. I do bake different type of bread products of course as desert at home and looking at yours that reminded me the one I know, from being very close to Russian cuisine, it is called bagel, but they look identical :)

I am one who needs my written recipes. If I copy one to use I will scribble notes all over it. Otherwise I will forget and probably leave out something important!

I think the difference for bagels - and pretzels - is that they are boiled in water at some point? I haven't made either so I'm not sure. Hmm, now I want a bagel!

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I had no idea the flour you use for bread machine is different from regular flour, okay, I actually had no idea that there is something like a "break machine flour". What is the difference between the bread machine flour (and other bread machine ingredients) and the regular ones?

What a great story you have with this family recipe, you must have had a feeling of your mother-in-law while you successfully created that recipe. I am so so glad you didn't give up on it, thanks so much for sharing this secret recipe with us.😊

She was a beautiful woman, with great kitchen skills. And more, I am sure!😊

The flour and yeast for bread machines are quick acting. I didn't look it up but if I remember right the flour has a higher gluten content. The gluten is what creates the stretchy texture that holds the bubbles the yeast creates, making the bread rise. Don't tell anyone but the batch in the photos was made with regular flour. I forgot to reach behind it to get the bread flour and didn't notice until we ate them and they were denser than they should be. The next day I made another batch with bread flour and they were light and tender.

My mother in law was amazing. My husband's dad was career military and he would get shipped off somewhere and she would follow him, after arranging the packing, traveling with their four young children! She was a good officer's wife and loved to entertain, helpful for his career. I loved that woman! And yes, I felt her spirit beside me when I was figuring out her recipe!

I really had no idea... The high gluten content could be it! 🤐 my lips are sealed, not gonna share that secret with anyone😉. The result one get for not using bread flour is a much denser rolls, then...

What an amazing woman! She sure has made great sacrifices for her family. It is not something just anyone can do. She seem like a woman to be loved by all.... Its amazing!!😊

Using regular flour and yeast is fine if you are kneading by hand. The bread machine has to work quickly and needs those special ingredients. Before I had a bread machine I made breads that turned out great. Just took more work. Remember that people made bread for centuries before there was electricity, much less machines to do the work! ;-)

I swear she had more energy in her 90's than I ever had in my 30's! She kept a beautiful home. Me, not so much. But once when we were first married my husband complained to her about my not doing something around the house. She stood right up and scolded him for not helping me! That I worked hard and he should appreciate me more! He came home with a new attitude and I would have loved her forever if it was for only that one thing!

Those people then were really hard working and dedicated. Cooking back then was more like a labor of love. I am glad though that things got a bit easier with time....

Wow! That is an amazing woman!!! I am sure a ton of women will easily take their son's side, I am so glad she had so much insight and good heart. I love her energy.

It's still a labor of love, but yes, a lot less labor! I'm just glad we don't have to pound out our own flour from corn or acorns or whatever in a stone mortar and pestle. Or grow the grains in the first place. But still, making bread give us that connection with our ancestor women. A little bit of kitchen magic!

So so glad for that too. And yeah, even with that hard part gone, the connection is still there...😀

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