The “World Famous Lion House” Rolls. Here’s the thing. I had never actually made these rolls from their mix until last night. I have always used the recipe that the cafeteria style restaurant in the historic old Lion House downtown in Salt Lake City has published. Actually, I think they have published several cookbooks. All of them have great recipes. Some with a more international flair, but most of them are quintessentially Utah. Perhaps the most prominent being these rolls.
I had the rolls before, but until I moved to Utah myself I didn’t realize what a big deal they were. People order these rolls from the restaurant by droves to have them at all types of celebrations. Baby showers, wedding showers, funerals, wedding receptions, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, you name it. The collective response when people get there and see them (and yes, they just look at them and know where they came from) is always the same. “Oh, Those Rolls!” Funny enough, don’t believe me. They even put it on the back of the mix box. Hilarious!
So, they must be pretty spectacular, right? Well, they are. Here’s the thing. If you like a soft, all around white roll with great flavor that can go with anything and is even usually big enough for a sandwich, then this is your roll.
So, for this event, and because I had the mix, I thought I would give it a try. Before we get to that though, here is a bit more on the “Terroir” history of these rolls. The information comes straight from the source and is printed on the back of the box. “In the pioneer days, bread was as much a staple as it is now. Numerous loaves of bread, dinner rolls and other pastries were created in that pantry…It is believed that this was the forbearer of the famous Lion House Roll, which is universally enjoyed today.”
The Lion House itself, finished in 1856, was once a personal residence of Brigham Young. It is now a restaurant and banquet facility.
In one more little aside, the roll mix is actually packaged with products from the Lehi Roller Mills in Lehi, Utah. If you have seen the movie Footloose then you have seen the mill with Kevin Bacon dancing his way around it.
It should also be noted here that my rolls above are pictured with the Lion House’s honey butter recipe. I’ll provide that below as well. The Lion House cookbooks provide several variations you can make with this roll recipe, but since this post would never end you’ll either have to order the cookbook (which does have tons of great home cooking recipes in it) or wait until I can break those ones out another day.
LION HOUSE DINNER ROLLS
Makes 1 to 1 1/2 Dozen Rolls
2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
2/3 cup non-fat dry milk (instant or non-instant)
2 Tablespoons dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup butter, shortening or margarine (butter is best for flavor)
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or bread flour
oil for bowl
In bowl of stand mixer with flat attachment combine water and milk powder; stir until milk dissolves. Add yeast, then sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 more cups of flour; mix on low speed until incorporated, then for 2 minutes at medium speed. (Dough will be getting stiffer so switch to kneading attachment at this point). Work in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough is soft, not overly sticky, but workable and not stiff. (You probably won’t use all the flour).
Scrape the dough off the sides of the bowl and pour about a tablespoon of vegetable oil down the sides. Rotate the dough ball so that all sides are covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise til double in size (about 45 minutes). Flour a surface for rolling out the dough and turn the dough out. Roll and cut as desired and place in a greased pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise again til double in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Brush tops with melted butter immediately when removed from the oven. Serve warm with honey butter.
NOTE: The Lion House cookbook suggests rolling the dough into a rectangle that is 8 inches by 12 inches then cutting that once down the middle the long way, then cutting that into two inch wide strips (to make 12 2 inch by 4 inch strips). Then just roll the strips up from their short end and place into the pan seam side down. It will look like you rolled individual cinnamon rolls and placed them in the pan on their sides.
LION HOUSE HONEY BUTTER
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey
Whip softened butter. Add vanilla and honey gradually. Beat for 20 minutes. Makes 1 cup.
Now you can have the rolls that Utahns eat with, well, everything! Enjoy!