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PROOF of love

A letter my Grandma Alice gave to me on my wedding day. She was a character, and I miss her:

September, 1996

Dear Gretchen: I know you will want this recipe some day SOON when all the families come to visit, and we all enjoy a snack or two.

Of course you will have in your kitchen, a floor model of a Kitchen Aid Mixer and also a Proofing Oven. Now: Into the large bowl, you place about 10-14 T. of dry yeast, a few more or less does not matter much! Pour over yeast about 4-5 cups of warm water, or fairly hot, and half cup of sugar. This becomes bubbly and its called PROOFING. I do not know why. Meanwhile, mix together about 8 cups flour, half cup salt. Beat 10 eggs or you might as well use the entire dozen which came in a plastic container. Easy, huh? You did not need to go and find eggs in a hen house. Whip these eggs slightly. Melt about 2 cups of good margarine, the stick kind, or if you need to raise your cholesterol level considerably, use butter. This should be softened. Now that the liquid is PROOFED, with mixer at medium speed, add the eggs, butter, and dry ingredients. Start the darn thing going from medium to high. Now, your experience in baking will dictate how much more flour you add, maybe another 5 lbs., maybe 8, I am guessing, but keep adding flour till dough is sort of soft, yet firm enough to handle. When this white blob feels about right, place bowl in the PROOFING OVEN, which stands about 6 ft. tall in your efficient kitchen. You place a container of warm water in this monster, and again I do not know why! Eventually this dough will rise and rise and rise: mountains of it! Now comes the really fun part. Remove this dough with floured hands and place it on a very large kitchen counter. A table the size of a picnic table would be OK also. Flour your rolling pin, your hands, break off portions of dough, roll into a circle, and proceed to cut out rolls. Simple. You will have about 8 cookie sheets greased and ready to hold the delicate rolls. Then let stand someplace warm until rolls double in size, triple, or whatever you want. Heat the oven to about 400 degrees and pop the pans into said oven. Bake till the mess looks good to you.

The amount. Oh yes. It makes 12 dozen of 24 rolls. I think so, or maybe you should have used more milk, or water or something. I know, you should have added about 6 cups of boiled, then cooled, milk. Then it would have absorbed those 8 or 10 or 14 more cups of flour which you had standing around. Another HINT: Sometimes I’ve thought of adding a few spoons of vanilla. However, my problem is this. Vanilla is brown, and tho I certainly am not a racist, I do not want to have brown substance mixing with my white dough. That’s reasonable, isn’t it? Find some other white flavoring maybe. I have not baked these super rolls, but I have a friend who bakes in a busy Retreat or Seminar Center where guests PAY to dine. They claim to have enjoyed these, tho the Retreat is of a religious background, telling a lie is probably frowned upon. Maybe they are served with bowls of warm milk and one could use this to enhance (or soften) the rolls, sort of like MILK SOUP???

Isn’t this great? I know you will post this on your kitchen bulletin board to have ready for any special event. If you need any more recipes just call me; glad to help a struggling cook.

Much love,



Grandma Alice holding her second-of-seven children, aka my dad. Check out the Kate Hepburn vibe. Loving the 1940s pantsuit.

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