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Hot Rolls Returning

The smell was unmistakable – homemade rolls baking in the school cafeteria kitchen. Just the mention brings back fond memories for Bakers place dough for rolls in pan many Hopkins County Schools’ alumni.

However, it’s been a while since homemade rolls were on the menu. Last month, child nutrition staff from across the district came together in the kitchen at Hopkins County Central High School to re-learn an old skill.

“I’ve been here for about 20 years,” said HCCHS cafeteria manager Donna Stanley. “At one time, that was my job. At the high school, there were two of us doing the same job. We put out about 1,200 rolls a day, every other day.” Menus changed about 10 years ago in response to USDA rules on salt and calories in school meals.

Current students will soon get to try homemade rolls once a month as part of a new “Throwback Thursdays” initiative, said Scott Moore, child nutrition director. 

“We’re doing scratch cooking once a month,” he said. “For Throwback Thursdays, we are using old-school recipes.” It will be part of a home-style meal that will likely include gravy, meat, and potatoes.  Hot rolls return to the menu on Thursday, March 30. The Fiestada – similar to an octagonal Mexican pizza – is another familiar favorite that will be returning on someThrowback Thursdays.

“This generation of kids has never had the rolls,” Stanley said. “We told them to add a bread button on the register because I think they’re going to come back and get extras. It’s introducing a whole new aspect of food to a generation that just throws it in the microwave.”

The old hand-written recipes were in most of the school kitchens.

“Everyone had their own little tweaks, but the base recipe was the same,” Moore said.

South Hopkins Middle School cafeteria manager Angie White said, “I still have my old one. It’s on a little index card. I brought mine to see how it compared with the recipes.”

The new recipe includes a mix of 51% wheat with regular flour to stay within federal regulations. 

“The more you do it, the easier it gets,” Stanley said. “You just get your hands in the dough and you know if it’s right. Everybody’s excited.“ At the end of the session, all participants received a button with the honorary title, “Certified Hot Rolls Baker.”

Bakers work in kitchen

Person places pan of rolls in ovenPreparing dough for rolls