Adventures in baking

23 Nov

I took the day off work to help my mom prepare for Thanksgiving.

Every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, she makes a cinnamon roll type thing called tea-ring that my dad’s mother used to make. It’s a yeast bread, so it takes a good 6 hours to make with the time for rising. I offered to make it for Thanksgiving, and surprisingly she took me up on my offer. (Surprisingly because she doesn’t normally let us help with holiday preparations.)

It’s so cool to me to make a recipe that my grandmother made over 80 years ago and that my dad had when he was a kid. There’s just such a family connection in that. The recipe is from the Betty Crocker cookbook.

When I got married, I got a copy of the book as a wedding present. I’ve made tea-ring quite a few times since then. I like knowing that the knowledge and tradition won’t die out with my mom.

So this morning, I make a Target run because my mom forgot to get more flour and some yeast…and a rolling pin. Hers, which had been a wedding shower present from my Aunt Marge, had cracked a few months ago and my mom forgot to replace it. (How on earth does my mother remember her wedding shower presents from 52 years ago?) Target is out of Fleischmann’s yeast so I run to Byerly’s. They don’t carry Fleischmann’s, but they do have some random brand. Yeast is yeast right? As long as it’s active and not quick rise. OK, got everything, time to head home!

I get out my fabulous KitchenAid stand mixer. Get the water at the right temperature, add the yeast to it, and let it start bubbling away.

Then I add the milk, sugar, eggs, salt, shortening and flour, and let the mixer do its magic.

Time to turn it out on a floured board…

…and start working out my stress and frustrations, also known as kneading the dough. Knead, knead, knead until it is smooth and elastic.

Plunk it in a greased bowl, tuck it in with a damp towel, and let it sleep for a few hours and double in size.

My mom has this ginormous bowl that she only uses for making tea-ring. We call it, originally enough, the tea-ring bowl. When I got married, guess what I got as a present? Yep, a tea-ring bowl. Mine’s in storage right now, but I like having one.

I came back after a few hours to check on its progress and notice that it’s barely risen. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s too cold in the house. I turned up the heat, turned on the oven to make the kitchen warmer, and stuck the bowl on the floor in front of the heat register. I went back an hour later and it’s still not risen. Hmmmm. I wonder why…oh crap, I used milk straight out of the refrigerator and forget to warm it to 110 degrees. My mother “suggests” starting over. SIGH.

Repeat all of the above except this time, warm the milk. Plunk it in the bowl and let it sit.

I checked it a few hours later, and this time guess what? It hadn’t risen much. HMMMMMM. OK, no time to start over. I’ll just make it like normal and hope it turns out OK.

I roll it out, cover it in melted butter, sprinkle it in cinnamon sugar, add raisins, and then roll it up. Place on greased cookie sheet, cut slits around it to make rolls, and bake it. It came out golden brown but would it taste OK if it hadn’t really risen?

Turns out…yes! The flavors are all fine; it’s just much denser than it should be. But my family will have tea-ring on Thanksgiving, which is as it should be. Whew. I’ll be making this again for Christmas, so I’ll post the recipe when I make it successfully.

(I noticed later that the yeast I bought was a gluten-free yeast. I have no idea how much of a role gluten has in the rising process, but I’m guessing a lot. So I think that’s why the dough didn’t rise nearly enough. From now on, Fleischmann’s yeast only!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

2 Responses to “Adventures in baking”


  1. Weekly roundup « The Reinvented Lass - November 28, 2011

    […] *Baked my grandma’s and mother’s recipe for tea-ring…with only a few adventures. […]

  2. Chicken pot pie « The Reinvented Lass - December 4, 2011

    […] the way, I made the tea-ring again this weekend, this time with the correct yeast. It worked! Recipe is posted. Share […]

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