Beck's Blog

From Our Family Farm to Yours

Family and Farming

Mom's Dinner Rolls: A Labor of Love

Published on Thursday, May 5, 2016

This weekend many will be celebrating those special women we call, Mom. Mothers play a number of important roles within a family. For my mom it’s hug giver, cheerleader, chef, teacher, life coach, and role model. For many, it may also be early riser, caretaker, seamstress, tractor driver, farmer.

Recently I had the opportunity to interview two incredible farm moms, Marcia Gorrell of Marshall, Missouri and Cathy Ogg of Martin, Tennessee for my column in our CropTalk Newsletter. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, it can be found here.

Left: Marcia Gorrell Right: Cathy Ogg (R) with her mom, Dorothy (L).

Marcia and Cathy come from very different backgrounds, but have many of the same inspiring qualities. The one that was most evident with both of them was selflessness. Doing whatever needed, whenever it needs to be done, without asking anything in return. And I’m sure many of your moms would fit this mold as well.

During my interviews with Marcia’s son, Rob and Cathy’s son, Scotty, I learned that in addition to being an integral part of the farms, their moms are also wonderful cooks. They both shared that whenever they get the chance, they enjoy having family dinners on Sundays. I asked if they had a favorite food their moms made and coincidentally they both replied with the same answer, dinner rolls! Marcia’s were traditional yeast rolls while Cathy’s are sourdough rolls.

When my family used to have Sunday dinners on my grandparents’ farm, we would always have a loaf of fresh baked bread – a recipe I am still trying to master. :) But dinner rolls are another top favorite of mine so I knew I had to ask Marcia and Cathy for their recipes and give them a try.

Being from the city, Marcia didn’t know much about farming until she married her husband, Keith. So she followed a lot of what Keith’s mom, Frances had done. Marcia said that Frances was also the one who taught her how to cook and gave her this recipe. (Marcia also wrote a column in her local newspaper about her most memorable and humorous experiences transitioning from city life to the farm.)

“What I love most about being a mom is the opportunity of seeing my sons grow up
into such fine men and it’s the best job in the world.” – Marcia Gorrell

If you should know one thing about making yeast breads and rolls, it is a lengthy process. Even with fast-acting yeast, making Marcia’s recipe took me almost four hours. Making them all the time, she is probably much more efficient at it than I am, but it is definitely goes to show just how much time and love they put into making these for their families. Here’s how to make them:


  • 2 packages of yeast (use fast acting yeast to cut rising time in half)
  • 1/2 c. lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter melted
  • 5 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 egg beaten


Soften yeast mixture in warm water. Beat egg and add to yeast, let soften. (I used fast-acting yeast and let soften for about five minutes before adding the egg. Be sure your water is only luke-warm, too hot of water can kill the yeast and cause your dough not to rise.)

Note: I also used this wait time to prep my other ingredients. This speeds up the process as you go through the next couple of steps.

Scald milk and add sugar, salt and butter. Let cool a little then add yeast mixture, add flour and mix. (I chose to pour the liquid ingredients into the flour that was already in the bowl instead of putting flour into pot I scalded milk in, so I didn't have to dirty a big stove pot to fit the entire mixture.)

Put dough in large bowl, cover, and let it rise for 2 hours until doubled (1 hour if using fast-acting yeast.) Punch down and let rest for a few minutes. Roll out dough into rectangle 1/4 in. thick and cut with medium size cutter. Brush butter on top and then fold in half for parker house rolls.

Put in ungreased baking pan, cover and let rise for 2 hours (1 hr. for f-a yeast). Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until brown on top. Brush on more butter and serve warm.

To print the full recipe, click here.

I made these on a Saturday evening to take to a family lunch the next day. Even though it was almost 9:30 p.m. when the rolls finally came out of the oven, I just had to taste one. You know, just to make sure they were edible. :) And believe me when I say, these rolls were worth the work and the wait!

A few days later I started the process of making Cathy’s sourdough rolls. Cathy was raised on a dairy farm and helped on the farm all of her life. From a young age of 10, Cathy would get up and cook a full breakfast for her family while they were out milking before she caught the bus to school. As a mom and grandma she cooks lunch just about every Sunday, which almost always includes her sourdough rolls.

"What I love most about being a mom and grandma is just being there. I learned to cook, sew and quilt from my parents, so enjoy getting to teach that to my kids and grandkids." -Cathy Ogg

Being that they are sourdough, they require making what is called a “starter”. What I forgot was that you have to make your starter about 3-5 days before you actually want to make the rolls. Rookie mistake!


So unfortunately I wasn’t able to make her rolls before sharing this blog, but I have made the starter and am planning to make the rolls, or maybe even her cinnamon rolls with the dough for Mother’s Day this weekend.

Here’s the printable recipe for Cathy’s Sourdough Bread, Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls.

To wrap up, I want to say thank you to Marcia, Cathy, and the rest of the Gorrell and Ogg families for sharing your stories and recipes with me. I also want to thank all of the wonderful mothers out there for the tremendous amount of hard work, love and care you give to those around you.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Mother's Day!


Comments (0)Number of views (22591)
Chelsea O'Brien
Chelsea O'Brien>

Chelsea O'Brien

Beck's Hybrids marketing associate, social media specialist, southern Indiana native and advocate of agriculture.

Other posts by Chelsea O'Brien
Contact author

Leave a comment

Add comment