The Flexibility of Yeast Dough

"You're one of the few people who can get me to eat carbs." Oh really? Well can't say I blame you. The thing is, when I think over my years I rarely think of things like kale. In fact: I don't. I cook through culinary exploration, influenced greatly by life. An all-purpose Yeast Dough is something my grandmother often prepared to bake some of the tastiest desserts and side dishes imaginable. One recent afternoon, a friend of mine and I set aside a couple of hours to really show what one dough can do: Cinnamon Rolls, Donuts (Cinnamon-Sugar, Almond Glazed, Chocolate Flakes), Donut Holes (Traditional Glazed), Dinner Rolls, and Soft Pretzels. One dough, yet so many uses! Our afternoon of conversation and debating what to do created the activity.  Next time you're bored, try making a batch of dough and seeing what you can come up with!!
Servings: "it depends"
Prep Time: ~2 1/2 hours

1/4 Cup Water, lukewarm
3 Packages Yeast
1 1/2 cup Milk, Nonfat, lukewarm
2 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Butter, unsalted
2/3 Cup Sugar, granulated
5 Cups flour + 1/2 Cup Sifted Flour 

Pour the yeast into lukewarm water and allow to sit uncovered for five minutes until it bubbles. Mix in the remaining ingredients except for the 1/2 cup of flour. When well-mixed, lightly oil up a larger bowl, cover, and set aside for two hours to rise. Lightly "punch" the top center of the dough after it has risen. Pat your hands with flour and knead the dough with the sifted flour within the large bowl (turn the dough from the bottom middle over on itself while rotating the bowl until the flour is integrated). Note - I divided the kneaded dough into 4 parts which resulted in these recipe reminders:

Classic Cinnamon Rolls: Competing closely with the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, Cinnamon Rolls are a traditionally delicious dessert and a staple in my book. Skip to the Cinnamon-Sugar Coating and Glaze and this dough will make a morning that much more incredible!

Donuts or Doughnuts + Donut Holes: Ahh, donuts freshly coated or freshly fried, what's not to love?? Skip to the Doughnut Fry after the shapes are formed and follow along to create some deliciously crafted homemade treats. Because this batch of dough doesn't use pumpkin, reduce the fry time to 25-28 seconds on each side, or until a light golden brown.

Soft-Baked Pretzels: A pretzel with breakfast, dinner, or used as the bread for a sandwich elevates ordinary to a whole new level! Though this dough uses milk, the creaminess of the dough pairs wonderfully with its salty exterior. Skip to the Pretzel Bath after the pretzels are formed and have fun! Too simple? SeePretzel Egg Bun for a bit more of a challenge!

Dinner Rolls: Though I've not written about them on eatTALK, these can be a great side dish to go with the sauciest of meals! Form the dough into balls and place lightly touching one another in a greased pan. Cover and let rise an additional 30 minutes before baking. Brush with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for up to 20 minutes, or until golden-brown.