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Roll with it

Jerry Schleisman masters caramel confections and more

January 22, 2016
By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY - Farm News staff writer (yettergirl@yahoo.com) , Farm News

LAKE CITY - Anyone who ever ate lunch at the high school in Lake City from the late 1960s through the early 1990s remembers the homemade caramel rolls that were always served on chili day.

The credit goes to Loraine (Schroeder) Schleisman and her fellow school cooks.

"Pretty much everything my mom made was good," said Jerry Schleisman, of Lake City, who enjoys preparing many of his mother's best recipes and still uses some of her baking pans.

Article Photos

JERRY SCHLEISMAN designed his kitchen to accommodate his interest in baking. He and his wife, Joyce Schleisman, included plenty of counter space and dual ovens so he can bake caramel rolls, hamburger buns, angel food cake and more.

Baking has become a hobby for Schleisman, who retired from farming full time but still helps his nephew, Mark Schleisman, on the family's farm near Lake City.

While Schleisman has always enjoyed cooking, he didn't do much baking until 17 years ago when he was recovering from knee replacement surgery.

He'd stop by his mother's home in Lake City and began learning the fine art of baking her famous caramel rolls and other treats.

"Sometimes Mom would be up at 2 or 3 a.m. to start the next batch of rolls," said Schleisman, whose mother sold homemade baked goods to people in the area and sometimes prepared up to 24 dozen rolls a day.

Loraine Schleisman had spent a lifetime refining her culinary skills, Jerry Schleisman said.

She grew up on a farm near Carroll and began cooking at a young age.

After she and her husband, Earl Schleisman, started a family and settled in the Lake City area in the early 1940s, she cooked for their nine children.

"After my dad died, Mom began cooking at the high school in Lake City and really enjoyed her job," Schleisman said.

For many years she also made homemade banana bars, buttermilk brownies and other treats for kids in the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine program at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Lake City.

When the Schleisman family would stop by after Mass, she would often serve homemade buns with ham.

"I wish I had half her energy," said Schleisman, who noted his mother continued baking well into her later years. "I kind of go in spurts with baking, but I do quite a bit in the winter."

That's why he and his wife, Joyce Schleisman, focused on the design of their kitchen - complete with dual ovens - when they built their new home in Lake City recently.

Schleisman enjoys baking caramel rolls, angel food cake, hamburger buns, date pinwheel cookies and other treats for his family and friends, especially during the holidays.

He also prepares many of these favorites for the God's Harvest Sale, which is held at St. Mary's the first Saturday each December.

While Schleisman's caramel rolls often bring $250 to $300 per dozen at the auction, he admits it takes practice to become a good baker.

"I've had my share of flops, and I keep learning," said Schleisman, who enjoys finding new recipes online and testing them out. "I like to put my own touch on things."

Mom's favorite cinnamon rolls

(These sweet rolls can be made as frosted cinnamon rolls or caramel rolls. They stay moist longer than other cinnamon rolls.)

1 cup cooked, mashed potatoes (made from Yukon Gold potatoes, preferably)

4 cups potato water

6 tablespoons yeast

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs (at room temperature)

2 tablespoons salt

5 pounds all-purpose flour, sifted

2 1/2 sticks of butter, melted

3 to 4 cups granulated sugar

Cinnamon, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel three small potatoes, and cut into cubes.

(Schleisman said he prefers Yukon Gold because of their flavor and texture.)

Put potatoes into a stock pot and cover with enough water to reserve 4 cups of potato water after the potatoes have cooked. Bring to a boil, and cook potatoes until they are soft enough to mash. While the potatoes are cooking, sift the flour.

Remove potatoes from heat. Strain the potatoes, reserving 4 cups of potato water. Mash the potatoes.

Cool the potato water to approximately 115 degrees. (Schleisman said he often places four or five ice cubes in the potato water to cool it faster.)

Dissolve yeast in warm potato water. Add 1 cup sugar, and stir to combine.

When dissolved, add remaining sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, salt and mashed potatoes to the yeast mixture. (Make sure eggs are at room temperature. If they just came out of the refrigerator, crack them into a bowl, whisk them and warm them in the microwave oven for 20 seconds.)

Add flour, about 2 to 3 cups at a time.

Knead the mixture until it forms a soft, smooth dough. (Schleisman kneads the dough by hand for about 10 minutes).

Transfer dough to a large, greased bowl. Allow dough to rise for about 1 hour, until it doubles in size. Punch dough down. Let dough rise again until doubled in size.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Punch down dough, and roll dough into a rectangle. Spread the dough with butter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into a log and cut into slices to form the individual rolls. (As an alternative to rolling the dough into a rectangle, cut a piece of dough, roll to tie into a double knot, dip into butter, and roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Repeat until all rolls are made.)

Place rolls in greased 9-by-13-inch baking pans. If making caramel rolls, prepare the cinnamon roll caramel topping (see recipe below).

Pour caramel topping over the cinnamon rolls.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 35 minutes.

After rolls have been removed from the oven, place a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper across the top of the pan.

Carefully flip the paper and the rolls onto the countertop.

Scrape remaining caramel topping from the pan onto the rolls. Allow rolls to cool.

Makes 4 dozen cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon roll caramel topping

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup butter

Mix all ingredients in saucepan. Boil hard for 1 minute.

Pour topping over raised cinnamon rolls.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Mom's hamburger buns

(These soft, tasty hamburger buns can also be made into dinner rolls, depending on how the dough is shaped and placed in the pan.)

1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes

4 cups potato water

6 tablespoons yeast

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 tablespoons salt

5 pounds all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel about three to four small potatoes and cut into cubes. (Yukon Golds work best because of their flavor and texture.)

Put potatoes into a stock pot and cover with enough water to reserve 4 cups of potato water after the potatoes have cooked. Bring to a boil, and cook potatoes until they are soft enough to mash. While the potatoes are cooking, sift the flour.

Remove potatoes from heat. Strain the potatoes, reserving 4 cups of potato water. Mash the potatoes. Cool the potato water to approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit. (Schleisman often places four or five ice cubes in the potato water to cool it faster.)

Dissolve yeast in warm potato water. Add sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, salt and mashed potatoes to the yeast mixture.

(Make sure eggs are at room temperature. If they just came out of the refrigerator, crack them into a bowl, whisk them, and warm them in the microwave oven for 20 seconds.)

Then add flour, about 2 to 3 cups at a time.

Knead the mixture until it forms a soft, smooth dough. (Schleisman kneads the dough by hand for about 10 minutes.) Transfer dough to a large, greased bowl. Allow dough to rise for about 1 hour, until it doubles in size. Punch dough down. Let dough rise again until doubled in size. Grease cookie sheet pans while the dough rises.

Form dough into buns. For each bun, use a dough ball that's between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. Keep folding the dough around to get the air out of it before placing the dough ball on the pan. (The secret is to keep the dough round, not flat, Schleisman said.)

Bake hamburger buns at 400 degrees until lightly browned.

Makes 4 dozen buns.

(Note: this recipe can be used to make dinner rolls instead of hamburger buns. Make the dough balls smaller, about the size of golf balls, and place them close together in a baking pan so their sides touch as the rolls bake.)

Angel food cake

(This angel food cake tastes so much better than a box mix. The trick is to keep a close eye on the cake during the final minutes of baking.)

1 cup cake flour, sifted

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 1/2 cups egg whites (use 1 dozen eggs at room temperature)

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour and powdered sugar together three times.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites (at room temperature), cream of tartar and salt together until foamy.

Gradually add granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Add vanilla and almond extract to the mixture.

Gently fold in cake flour/powdered sugar mixture into the liquid mixture just until dry mixture disappears.

Pour batter into ungreased angel food cake pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until top of cake springs back when lightly touched.

Invert cake and cool on parchment paper.

Date pinwheel cookies

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 1/2 cups flour

Date filling:

1 pound dates

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

Cream granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter. Add vanilla, salt and eggs.

In a separate bowl combine baking soda and flour. Combine flour mixture with liquid mixture.

In a saucepan, combine dates, sugar and water. Cook and stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth.

Roll dough out to 1/4-inch thick. Spread date filling onto dough. Roll up dough like a jelly roll in waxed paper.

Chill the dough. The dough can be frozen and baked as needed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice 1/4-inch thick slices off of the roll of dough, and place slices on greased cookie sheets.

Bake about 8 minutes, or until slightly browned.

Do not overbake.

Let cool.

Butterscotch pie

4 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 cup boiling water

5 egg yolks

2 1/4 cups milk

8 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in saucepan; add sugar and allow it to brown slightly.

Gradually add water.

In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and a small amount of milk.

Then add flour and remaining milk.

Pour this mixture slowly into butter-sugar mixture.

Cook until thick. Pour into pre-baked pie crust.

 
 

 

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