Convenience food alternatives - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 05-12-2008, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure whether this belongs here or in a Nutrition forum, but here goes anyway.

Most stuff I make from scratch. We don't really do processed food at all... BUT... DH and I both really love those little Pillsbury crescent rolls and biscuits, but they totally add up by the end of the month. (The store brand just isn't the same for some reason.) I love how you just have to unroll the tubes and prep time is about thirty seconds for a good, hot breakfast. It's really adding up on costs and I think it's a silly thing to blow the budget on. Is there a way I can make the same kind of dough in advance at home? I'm a great cook (imo anyway ) but I suck at baking.

Do you have any processed food vices for which you're looking for an alternative?
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#2 of 4 Old 05-12-2008, 11:26 AM
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How about making up Potato Refrigerator Dough. You just make up a batch leave in the fridge for up to a week and whenever you want hot bread grab a chunk out of the fridge, shape and bake.

Potato Refrigerator Dough (Makes 4 dozen rolls, 3 medium loaves or 3 braids )

2 packages (5 tsp.) active dry or fast-acting yeast*
1 1/2 cup warm (105-115° F.) water
1 cup lukewarm (95-105° F.) mashed potatoes**
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup margarine, butter or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
7 to 7 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour (may be part whole-wheat flour), divided

*If using active dry yeast, dissolve in 1/2 cup of the warm water until it foams. If using fast-rising yeast, use warmer water - 120-130° F. and simply stir the yeast and water into the other ingredients plus half the flour (see steps 1 and 2).

**May be made from 1 1/3 cups boiling water and 1 cup instant potatoes. Cool to 105° F. before adding to the yeast mixture.


1. Combine the dissolved yeast and remaining 1 cup water or the fast-rising yeast with all the water and remaining ingredients except the flour.
2. Mix in 3 1/2 cups of the flour with an electric mixer or beating by hand. Beat for 3 minutes.
3. Mix in additional flour with dough hooks or by hand until the dough forms a rough dough ball.
4. Turn onto a floured counter and knead by hand or with the mixer's dough hooks until smooth and elastic - about 5 to 8 minutes.
5. Place in a greased or sprayed bowl, turning dough so greased side is up. Cover bowl with sealing lid or plastic wrap. (you may want to spray it so it doesn't stick)
6. Place in the refrigerator. Punch down when doubled (about 30 minutes for fast-acting, 45 minutes to an hour for active dry yeast).
7. Keep dough refrigerated for up to 4 days, punching down if doubled in size.
8. About two hours before baking, shape dough into desired rolls, loaves or braids.
9. Place in greased pans and cover with sprayed or greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.
10. Bake at 375° F. according to directions for type of roll or loaf prepared.

Rolls: Divide dough into 4 pieces. Divide and shape each piece into a dozen rolls. (This link has descriptions of different shapes and how to make them. Scroll about 1/2 way down till you see "rolls"). Cover shaped rolls with greased plastic wrap and let double in size. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden.

Loaves: Shape into three medium loaves and place in greased 8 1/2-inch loaf pans. Cover with a greased plastic wrap and let rise until above the edge of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees F., 25 to 35 minutes.

Braid: Divide dough into three pieces. Divide each of these again into three pieces and roll pieces into three smooth ropes of dough, about 15 inches long. Braid each set of three dough ropes, pinching the ends and tucking them under. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover and let double in size. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 minutes or until golden. Optional egg wash - Beat 1 large egg + 1 tablespoon cold water. Brush on just before baking.

Pecan Caramel Roll: Shape 1/4 of the dough into 12 smoothly rounded dough pieces. Prepare Glaze and spread in the bottom of a greased 8-inch round or square pan or bottoms of 12 medium muffin cups.

Caramel roll glaze:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine1/2 cup brown sugar1/4 cup honey1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Place in microwaveable bowl. Bring just to a boil.- Pour into greased, 8-inch baking pan or 12 medium muffin tins.- Cool before topping with yeast dough.
Cover the dough pieces with greased plastic wrap. Let double in size and bake at 375° F. until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Immediately turn onto a plate and cool.

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#3 of 4 Old 05-12-2008, 04:25 PM
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You could also combine the dry ingredients together in a clean coffee can or something, and label it with what wet ingredients are needed. Then just grab a cup or two of it, mix in some wet ingredients and that is that. It cuts out some of the steps, so it would shave a little bit of time off.

Also, most bread recipes, you can freeze it after the first rise. Just let it rise once, punch it down, split into serving pieces & freeze. Then when you are ready, just take out as much as you need & let thaw a bit to make it rise & bake.


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#4 of 4 Old 05-13-2008, 08:44 AM
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There are almost *always* homemade copycat versions of favorite convenience and (chain) restaurant foods.

I googled "copycat pillsbury crescent rolls" and it gave me this recipe:


* 2 pk Active Dry Yeast
* 3/4 c Warm Water (105 degrees)
* 1/2 c Sugar
* 1 ts Salt
* 2 lg Eggs
* 1/2 c Shortening
* 4 c Unbleached Flour
* Butter Or Regular Margarine, Softened


1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in the sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and half of the flour into the yeast mixture.
2. Add the remaining flour blending until smooth. Scrape the dough from the sides of the bowl and cover with a cloth dampened in warm water. (The cloth should feel wet, but not be so wet that water drips onto the dough.) Let rise in a warm place (85 degrees F.), until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Divide the dough in half, rolling each half into a 12-inch circle 1/4 inch thick. Spread with the soft butter and cut each circle into 16 wedges. Roll up each wedge beginning at the largest end. Place, point side down, on a greased baking sheet. Curve to form crescents. Cover and let rise until double, 1 hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are a rich golden brown. Brush with soft butter.
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