Grandma Bess made these rolls when she operated the Green Gables Restaurant. I cut this recipe in half because I’m not cooking for a restaurant, and because my mixer won’t handle the full batch.Jump to Recipe
Green Gables Bread
by Bess Sibley
Early in 1969, a series of events occurred which ultimately led me to Clay Center to own and operate the Green Gables Restaurant.
Green Gables was located on the west side of Clay Center on Highway 24. In 1969 and for a few years later, there was at that location a motel and restaurant, owned by Harold and Olive Holtz. The caretaker of the motel was Leila Knox and I agreed to manage the restaurant.
I was fortunate to have in my employ an excellent cook, Vera Benson, a wonderfully efficient and amiable waitress Letha Evans, and a young woman who was also pleasant and hard-working, Annette Easterberg. Her daily tasks required her to was the dishes (by hand those days), and tend to other kitchen chores. There were several other employees, including a couple of my own daughters to serve as waitresses and cooks and tend to other aspects of the business.
During the period of time that my family and I lived in Timken, Kansas, I had been given a bread recipe by a good friend who was also a member of the extension unit to which I belonged. The bread recipe called for only one small package of yeast, although two could be used for faster rising. If mixed correctly and given a sufficient amount of time to rise it made a wonderfully tasty batch of bread.
While I was involved in running Green Gables, I made a large batch of bread each morning. I mixed the ingredients in a very large bowl, led the dough rise for an hour and a half, then worked it down and made it into dozens of cloverleaf rolls. I always managed to the the bread baked and delivered to the restaurant in time for the lunch crowd.
I still make this bread recipe for family dinners or other special occasions. My son-in-law, Doug Erickson, refuses to eat cake or pie or other desserts, no matter how delicious, but he will, if given the opportunity, wolf down a couple of these rolls in nothing flat!
Editor’s Note: Whenever there were leftover rolls at the restaurant, Mother would slice them thinly (the ones she used for this were the regular 1 piece rolls, not the cloverleaf she mentions above) and brush each side with garlic butter, toast them in the broiler until beautifully brown on each side, and serve them in baskets to accompany salad orders. Yum!
Never Fail Rolls
- 2 cups warm water 105-115°F
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 1/2 - 7 cups bread flour
- Mix together water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl.
- Beat together egg, shortening and remaining sugar in large bowl.
- Add water mixture and salt to egg mixture.
- Gradually stir in bread flour to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead dough for 5 to 6 minutes or until dough feels light and smooth.
- Let rise about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
- Punch down dough.
- For cloverleaf rolls, scale out 2 ounces of dough for each roll. Divide into thirds and shape into three balls. Place dough balls into lightly greased muffin tin.
- Cover, let rise for one hour.
- Bake in 325°F oven for 22-25 minutes.
Additional notes from Grandma (based on double batch of dough):
- This recipe can also be used to make loaf bread. Important: for loaf bread, use only 1 egg. Use about 1/4 or less of this batch for one loaf. Bake 45 to 50 minutes in 325°F oven.
- For quicker rising, use two packages of yeast.