POSSIBLY THE most enticing aroma to come out of any kitchen is that of fresh bread baking. It says "welcome" and "I love you" and whets the appetite instantly.
Time was when many a homemaker baked every day. Hot biscuits or buns were as much a part of the breeakfast scene as thick slices of fresh-baked whole-grain breads were at lunch and dinner. But with the current dietary emphasis on the evils of overweight, "starches" in all forms, and particularly bread seem to have fallen into disfavor.
The latest nutrition reports eventually may succeed in changing the present attitude toward the value of bread in the diet, however. The old dietary charts stressing the four food groups pointed out how important it is to eat some grain (bread) foods each day. But today's accent is on increasing one's consumption of fiber. And that recommendation of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs that Americans need to increase their intake of carbohydrates (while reducing their intake of fats and sugar) indicates that nonbread eaters perhaps should take another look at their overall needs.
It's the overindulgence that can do one in, so, as long as you choose breads that fit you particular dietary needs, there's no reason a sensible diner can't enjoy them in moderation. And if the breads you choose are fresh and homebaked, so much the better.
If making sturdy loaves of homebaked breads is not a project you feel equal to try some of the other bread forms. Hot rolls and buns can turn a prosaic meal into one with character Mexican Cheese Buns, for instance are good choices when you've planned a light supper. The first bite of these yeasty creations reveals the hidden ingredient. Cheddar cheese, and their chewy texture is just what one wants to go with soup or salad.
If company's coming, you may want something a bit fancier. And although the basic ingredients in our Flower Rolls recipe, a package of hot roll mix and a package of fruit-flavored gelatin, may not sound too intriguing, you'll find the end product is. It's not what's in these rolls as much as how they are put together that makes them special.
Here are recipes for these and other hot rolls and buns that will provide a heady aroma in the kitchen and a lot of pleasure at the table. FLOWER ROLLS 1 package (13 3/4 ounces) hot roll mix 1/2 cup very warm water (105 to 115 degrees) 2 tablespoons sugar 2 eggs 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine 2 to 3 tablespoons colored sugar or dry fruit-flavored gelatin
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast from hot roll mix in warm water. Stir in sugar and eggs. Add flour mixture and blend well. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes. Grease large baking sheet for basket, or 12 muffin cups for rolls. Punch down dough and toss on floured surface until no longer sticky. Roll out dough to a 12-by-10-inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter. Sprinkle with colored sugar or fruit-flavored gelatin. Starting with the longer side, roll up lightly jellyroll fashion and seal edges. Cut into 20 slices. For each flower, place 2 slices side by side on flat surface, pinwheel side up. Press slices together. Pinch both ends and draw them backward around main part of roll until they meet behind (layers will separate). Place in a greased muffin cup. uCover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Dough does not need to double in size. Bake at 375 degrees 12 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool at least 10 minutes in muffin cups. Drizzle with powdered sugar glaze, if desired. MEXICAN CHEESE BUNS (Ensaimades) (Makes 8) 1 1/2 cups flour Sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 package dry yeast 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened 1/3 cup very hot water 4 egg yolks (at room temperature) Melted butter or margarine 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In small deep bowl throughly mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Add softened butter. Gradually add very hot tap water to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scrapping bowl occasionally. Add egg yolks and 1/4 cup flour, or enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn out on lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down, turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 9-by-5-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons sheredded cheese. Roll up tightly from long side, then coil into a round bun. Punch ends to seal. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Bake at 375 degrees about 20 minutes, or until done. Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. While hot, brush with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sugar. Serve warm. ALMOND COUNTRY BUNS (Makes 1 dozen) 1 package dry yeast 3 tablespoons warm water 1 cup milk 3 tablespoons shortening 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup dark ry flour 2/3 cup chopped blanched almonds toasted
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a mixing bowl. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Scald milk and stir in shortening, sugar and salt. Cool to luke warm and add to yeast. Blend in all-purpose flour and beat until smooth. gradually add the whole wheat flour, then the rye flour, beating well. sCover the bowl and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. cStir dough down and mix 1/2 cup of the almonds. Spoon into greased 2 3/4- inch muffin cups, filling each about the half full. Sprinkle remaining almonds over top. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 20 to 25 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees 15 minutes, or until browned, and muffins sound hollow when lightly tapped. Serve warm. ORANGE SCONES (Make 16) 2 2/3 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt Sugar Butter or margarine 1 tablespoon grated orange peel 1/2 cup currants 3 tablespoons vinegar 3 tablespoons vinegar 3/4 cup orange juice 1 egg, beaten Milk
Mix flour with baking powder, soda, salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in orange peel and currants. Combine vinegar and orange juice. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add liquid and egg all at once. Stir in mixture with a fork until all dry ingredients are moistened. Turn onto a floured board and knead gently 8 to 10 times. Add a small amount more flour, if necessary, to make a dough that can be handled. Roll out to a 12-by 6-inch rectangle. Cut into 8 three-inch squares and cut each square in half diagaonlly. Brush tops of triangles with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place on greased baking sheets and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot with butter. BRAN BISCUITS (Makes 12 to 14) 1 1/2 cups flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup soft shortening 1/2 cup shredded wheat bran cereal 3/4 cup milk
Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Set aside. Mix wheat bran cereal and milk in bowl. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add to flour mixture and stir until combined. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times. Evenly pat or roll out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out biscuits with floured 2 1/4-inch biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately. CROISSANTS (Makes 2 dozen) 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups flour 2 packages dry yeast 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk 1 cup water 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon salt 1 cup butter or margarine, frozen 1 egg
Stir together 2 cups flour and yeast. Heat 1 cup milk, water, sugar and salt over low heat only until warm, stirring to blend. Add liquid ingredients to flour-yeast mixture and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes on medium speed of electric mixer. Add 1 cup flour and beat 1 minutes on medium speed. Stir in more flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and satiny, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Shape into ball and place in lightly greased bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover and let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees) until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Shred 1/3 of butter crosswise over center third of dough. Fold 1/2 of dough over butter and remaining 1/3 of dough underneath. Press down gently and seal in buttered area. Wrap in wax paper, keeping butter layer up. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Place dough lengthwise on lightly flowered surface. Roll out to original size. Repeat procedure for buttering, sealing and chilling, using the second portion of butter. Repeat one more time using remaining butter. Cut dough in half and seal cut edges. Shape each portion into a circle 18 inches in diameter. Cut each circle into 12 wedges. Starting at wide end, roll up triangles and seal. Place on greased baking sheets, sealed side down. Curve into crescents. Let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour. Combine egg and milk and brush on rolls. Baked at 425 degrees 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. WILLIAMSBURG BUNS (Makes 2 dozen) 4 to 5 cups flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel 1/4 teaspoon ground mace 1 package dry yeast 3/4 cup milk 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup butter or margarine 2 eggs at room temperature
In a large bowl thoroughly mix 1 1/4 cup flour, sugar, salt, lemon peel, mace and undissolved yeast. Combine milk, water and butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Butter does not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour, or enough flour to make a thick batter. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide in half. Form each half into a 12-inch roll. Cut into 12 one-inch pieces. Form into smooth balls. Place in greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes, or until done. Removed from muffin cups and cool on wire racks. PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH SNECKEN ROLLS (Makes 27) 5 to 6 cups unsifted flour 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 packages dry yeast 1 cup milk 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup butter or margarine 2 eggs at room temperature Melted butter or margarine 1 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl thoroughly mix 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Combine milk, water and 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat until liquids are very warm (120 to 130 degrees). Butter does not need to melt. Gradually add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour, or enough flour to make a thick batter. Beat at high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to greased top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
Punch dough down and turn out onto lightly floured board. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rectangle, about 14-by-9 inches. Brush lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle the rectangle with a mixture of 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll each up -- as if for a jellyroll -- to make rolls 9-inches long. Seal edges firmly. Cut each roll into 9 equal pieces. Place, cut side up, in greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. Remove from muffin cups and place on wire racks to cool. Frost with powdered sugar frosting, if desired.