These are the soft, fluffy kind of homemade rolls. I cheat and let my bread machine mix, rise, and knead the dough. This makes them so light and fluffy! I will include "regular" instructions for those who don't use the bread machine with notes for those who do.
This makes a lot of rolls but don't worry, you can place formed (not risen) rolls on a wax paper lined tray and freeze until firm; put in a freezer zipper bag. To prepare, place frozen rolls in greased pan and rise for 2-3 hours, bake as directed.
1 tablespoon fast acting dry yeast (you will need 2 packets but you won’t use all of the 2nd one)
1 teaspoon plus 1/3 cup sugar (just 1/3 cup if using bread machine)
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees) (may need 1-2 tablespoons more in bread machine)
1/2 cup butter, softened (margarine can be used; I suggest real butter)
1/2 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1 egg, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour (more or less)
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Add the butter, milk, egg, salt, remaining sugar and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes (I probably only knead 3 or 4 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. You can simply pat the dough out (about 1/2 inch thick) and cut into squares or whatever shape. For a fancier way of doing them, roll each portion into a 12-inch circle, cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up wedges from the wide end and place point side down 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Curve ends to form crescents.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks.
BREAD MACHINE TIPS: When you do this by hand, you can decide whether or not to add all the flour. I add all 4 cups in the bread machine and watch it during the first mixing cycle. If it's too thick, I add 1 tablespoon water and another if necessary. You want a not-too-sticky dough but something that if poured out onto a surface, it flattens very easily.
Pour onto a floured surface, form as desired. The best way to get soft, fluffy rolls is to simply pour the dough out, flatten (don't knead anymore), cut into squares, move to pan, bake. Yum!
*NOTE: An oven with the light on is a great place to rise rolls if the oven is not being used to bake something else at the time. If the oven is already employed, the top of the stove is a good place (the heat from the oven will help them rise faster).