Unfortunately when she died in 1988, so did that wonderful bread recipe that she held in her head. Or so I thought. Then a dear friend of mine that I've know since those first days of college wrote me an email that let me know she had Mom's recipe...and asked if I would like it. Of course! So, in Ellie's words, here is Mom's recipe for bread...and her cinnamon rolls:
"Mom's Buns (I think this was the same recipe she used for bread, if I remember right Notes in parenthesis are mine.)
Keep in mind that this recipe is written somewhat the old fashioned way as you'll see when you get to the flour and "Ole".
Put 4 C milk and 1/4 lb Ole in a large pan. Bring to a boil. Add 3/4 C sugar and 2 Tbs salt. (That always sounded like a lot of salt but, your Mom liked salt.) Let cool. Add 2 well beaten eggs. Add 2 packages of dry yeast. Add flour to make stiff. (Huh? Well, yeh. About that much.) Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. This makes 60 buns.
Okay, I think a couple of things that were left out were the following. First, after putting all ingredients together, you have to kneed it until it's "smooth and elastic" and then put it in a greased bowl, turn it over so there's grease on both sides, cover it with a light dish towel, put it in a warm spot and let it rise double. Then punch it down, grab hunks of it and roll each in your hands and put on a greased cookie sheet or in a 9x13 inch pan. Let rise a second time. Then cook it at 350 for 20 minutes.
I don't remember how many loaves of bread this would make but, I'm guessing at least 3 so just divide it into equal portions, put them in greased loaf pans, turn them so there's grease on the top too, and let rise. I would imagine it takes close to 45 minutes to an hour for those to cook. I remember her taking the loaf pans out and tapping them on the top to see if they were done. She would also lick her finger and tap it on the bottom of the pan to hear how it would sizzle. Never got brave enough to do that myself. It always seemed a little like voodoo or magic to me!
I also remember that, instead of the milk, if she had boiled potatoes for a meal, she would save the potato water and use that instead.
Okay, that's all I remember on those. I do remember though that she would use the same recipe of bread dough to make her fantastic cinnamon rolls. She'd let it rise once and then roll it out into a huge rectangle, cover it with a thick layer of soft butter, put brown sugar and cinnamon over the butter and then roll it up on the long side. She'd then cut it into slices that were probably at least an inch and a half to 2 inches thick each. In a 9x13 pan, I think she'd melt some butter first and then cover the bottom in a thick layer of brown sugar topped with loads of walnut halves and quarters. No exact quantities, just handfuls of each spread liberally across the bottom. Then the slices of dough were laid on top, covered, and left to rise again until they were about to the top of the pan. I don't remember how long she would cook them but, I'd imagine it was close to an hour.
Many a delicious, sticky cinnamon roll with nuts was eaten in her kitchen and dining room. The taste was fantastic and the smell orgasmic!
Hope my memories of what she did that weren't written down are accurate. I should declare a baking day and give them a try again. Haven't made them in probably 30 years! Life gets in the way when you're working every day and raising kids at the same time. I used to cringe every time I'd make "Homemade dinner rolls", little frozen balls of dough that I'd pull out of a plastic bag from the grocery store to pop in the oven. I knew that Mom Lysdahl would be rolling over in her grave!" ~courtesy of Ellie Andrews