When it comes to large dinner parties and holiday buffets, we appreciate no-knead recipes more than ever. The dough can be made the day ahead, refrigerated, and made into rolls the next morning. You can also make them ahead of time and freeze the baked rolls. Warmed in the oven, no one will be able to tell they weren't baked fresh!
3/4 cup (6 ounces) warm water
1 scant tablespoon (1 package) active-dry yeast
1 cup (9 ounces) mashed sweet potatoes (see note below)
1 cup (8.5 ounces) milk - whole or 2% preferably
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter - melted
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups (20 ounces) all-purpose flour
Combine the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl and let stand until the yeast is dissolved. Add the mashed sweet potatoes, the milk, the melted butter, the brown sugar, and the salt. Stir until all ingredients are evenly combined. Add the flour, stirring until a shaggy dough is formed and no more dry flour is visible. This dough will be very sticky.
Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let stand until doubled in bulk, at least 2 hours or as long as 5 hours. The dough can be used immediately, but it's easier to work with if you can refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. The dough can also be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
When ready to shape the rolls, sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and turn the dough out on top. Sprinkle a little more flour on top and press the dough into a thick disk. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into 24 pieces. Shape into balls and place about 5 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise until the rolls are roughly doubled in size, about 45 minutes in a warm kitchen.
About 20 minutes before the rolls are finished rising, preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
Remove the cover and bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, until they are puffed and toasted brown. Serve warm or room temperature. Rolls are best the first day, but will stay fresh for several days after if stored in an airtight container.
• To make the mashed sweet potatoes, roast a medium-sized (roughly 9 ounce) sweet potato in a 400° oven until completely soft. Strip off the skin and mash.
• For extra richness, brush the tops with melted butter or egg yolk before baking. So good!
• These rolls can also be frozen if you're making them ahead of time. Allow the baked rolls to cool completely, wrap them in aluminum foil, and freeze them. To re-heat, let them thaw on the counter and then warm them in a 300° oven for 15 minutes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)