I've posted a couple of times on threads about making the sort of pillowy soft dinner rolls I remember from childhood holiday dinners (thanks to my Aunt Irene).
After many years using an old family recipe that used Crisco, I switched to a recipe from America's Test Kitchen, using butter. It's been quite successful for me, but still not reaching quite the ultimate goal I was seeking.
Yesterday, I realized my new jar of yeast had gone missing and I was left with just enough yeast that had been in the freezer way too long. There would be no do-overs! The yeast had to work and the dough had to be right the first time.
Somehow, I got distracted while measuring out the flour. I think I added an extra half-cup. From now on, I'll be doing it by weight and measuring the correct amout out ahead of time! Hindsight wasn't helping me this time.
As I mixed the dough, I realized it was WAY too dry... didn't look right at all. After a moment of panic, I decided to soldier on, gradually adding milk until it looked right. Worst case, I'd have to pull some frozen rolls out.
Well, they were the BEST rolls I've ever made!!! The old yeast was obviously still viable, because they rose beautifully. They were light and fluffly, with a nicely crisp crust... just what I was after!!!
After nearly 40 years of making bread, I think my "chops" have finally developed to the point where I just know when it is right. Not a bad Christmas present, I'd say!