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And also to the Second Neighbor!

It started several weeks ago. I don’t like admitting this, especially to myself, but my recovery seems sooooo s. l. o. w.! sigh. (I actually sighed after typing that sentence.) I broke my back on July 16th, 2012 and got scoliosis surgery in October. It’s been over a year. So come on, what’s with this tedious recovery? Alas, my research proves that I’m normal and doing well. But it still takes me days to recover from a simple outing because riding in a vehicle is just not friendly to my concrete spine. Not yet.

On the plus side, my stamina is better than it’s been in years. I’m tackling long overdue tasks, such as sorting through bins of old papers and organizing shelves. I’m rearranging rooms and overseeing remodeling. And I’m back in the kitchen cooking and baking. But I want to do more. I want to be involved in Community.

Since I can’t get out easy, I’ve decided to serve my own neighborhood. I call the service …

BFN – Baking for Neighbors.

Instead of bye for now, my BFN is Baking for Neighbors. I think there are 71 houses in my neighborhood. I barely know four of them so just one or two at a time, I’m going to bake something for all my neighbors. Baking for Neighbors will give me an excuse to bake, encouragement to walk outside (which is still slow and painful), and I’ll get to meet new people. It’s a win-win situation!

Several days ago I declared my first BFN Day. I took Butterflake Herb Rolls. This recipe has been in my family for decades. It was from an old Pillsbury Bake-Off cookbook my mom had. I wrote up the recipe on a blank card, which is now all stained from use.

Butterflake Herb Loaf recipe

Butterflake Herb Loaf recipe

Herb Butter Recipe

Herb Butter Recipe

I rarely make these rolls so I’m not sure why I started with them. It just seemed like the right recipe and I was at peace. And they are delicious! With each recipe I pick, I’m going to pray that it will be ok with the neighbor and perhaps even be just what they need.

Butterflake Herb Rolls

Most yeasts no longer needs proofed but I did it anyway. 4 1/2 tsp (two packets) of yeast are softened in 1/4 cup warm water.

Dry yeast is sprinkled on warm water.

Dry yeast is sprinkled on warm water.

In a large mixing bowl, place 1/3 cup shortening, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp salt and 1 cup hot scalded milk. Cool to lukewarm.
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Blend in 2 eggs and the softened yeast. I also mix in two cups of the flour at this point and beat till the batter is smooth. Gradually add 2 1/2 to 3 more cups of flour.

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The first two cups of flour are beaten in, making a nice smooth batter.

On a floured surface…. And here I pause. I wonder if all bakers enjoy sprinkling a surface with flour. There’s just something magical about scattering that soft powder over the counter and then spreading and smoothing it out with your bare hands. I love the dusty flour on my hands.
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Knead the dough on a floured surface till smooth and satiny. This was the first time in over two years that I kneaded dough so I ran out of steam fast. I wasn’t able to get it to “smooth and satiny” but it still turned out.
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I put the dough in a greased bowl and place it in the cold oven. Then I turn on the oven light. The light from the lightbulb is enough heat for the dough to rise. While the dough is raising, I make the herb butter. I usually leave out the onion and just used fresh or dried garlic. Sometimes I add a little more of everything if I want a stronger herb roll.

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We were out of Cayenne Pepper so I scraped the last little bit of Chipotle Pepper from the jar. There was about 1/8 tsp. We were out of fresh garlic too so I ground up dried garlic with a mortar and pestle.

I used to use a saucer and cut around the rolled-out dough with a sharp knife to make nice tidy circles. But it’s a lot faster to just use a bench knife to divide the dough up into little pieces. I cut the dough in half, then half again, etc until the lumps of dough are about the size of a small egg, about 32 rolls.
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Each piece of dough is rolled out flat. It doesn’t matter if the piece is perfectly round or not. Herb butter is spread on half the dough piece and then it is folded in half.
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Herb butter is again spread on the top each folded roll and then they are slightly overlapped on a parchment covered baking sheet.
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The loaf is left to raise. Again, I put them back in the oven and let it stay warm with just the oven light on.
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After they raised about double in size, the loaves are taken out of the warm oven and the oven is preheated to 350F. Then they are baked for 20 to 25 minutes.
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For giving, I placed a hot loaf, fresh from the oven, on a paper napkin on a sturdy paper plate and wrapped it in foil. And then I carried it next door. :)

I asked the first neighbor if I could take a picture of her holding the plate and she didn’t mind. The reason the foil is left on is because the rolls are keeping warm. But most important of all, it’s NOT about the rolls, it’s about the neighbor. The hands in this photo are more important than what’s on the plate. I want to keep it that way.
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Blessings to you, Neighbor 1!
And here is the second neighbor. Blessing to you too, Neighbor 2!
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I don’t know if they’ll ever see this blog. But I was so happy to finally be able to do something for my neighbors.

I shall be posting all my BFN days. 2 down, 69 to go.