As Frankenstorm moves up the northeast coast and you're battling the onslaught of both high winds and media hype (a different kind of wind altogether), I suppose it's best to be prepared, just in case. So after you've purchased water, dusted off your flashlight, and hunkered in for the duration, why not make rolls?
Stormy weather is perfect for homemade soup and there's no better accompaniment than old-fashioned dinner rolls, pulled from the oven and buttered while still warm. Rolls are ideal to make during a storm: First, chances are you're stuck at home for hours, and the low barometric pressure will allow the dough to rise more easily (it has less air to "push" against). Plus, as with all bread making, there's very little actual work, and a lot of waiting around, so you can watch Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture (currently available on the Sundance channel on Free Movies on Demand) while feeling a sense of accomplishment as your dough rises in the kitchen.
Only good things can come from melting butter and sugar in sweet milk, the start of this recipe.
A "sponge" is made first, left to rise, and then a second, smaller batch of flour is added before the bread is kneaded.
Form the dough into balls and let rise in the pan.
A more beautiful and shapely roll can be made by using a muffin tin, rather than the free-range method above.
I made just half of this recipe, and used butter instead of shortening. I also used dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons, or the equivalent of one package). These rolls could be improved with a bit more salt (and by spreading them with salted butter). You can certainly make the entire amount, as these are meant to be refrigerator rolls, i.e., kept in the fridge until you need to make them.