LOCAL FLAVOR: Refrigerator Rolls from Debbie Cheshewalla

Carla Core Brown

Debbie Cheshewalla’s recipe for refrigerator rolls comes with a very rich and interesting FAMILY history. This particular recipe originated from her Aunt Earlyne Ann Cunningham Hutchens. (Side note: Earlyne was named after Earl Jackson, grandfather to Debbie and Gayla Jackson.)

Debbie explained that after graduating from Northeastern State University with a degree in elementary education, Earlyne accepted a job at Burbank Public Schools teaching kindergarten, first grade and Home Economics. She was housed in the only place available; the Home Ec House! With her sharp ingenuity, she quickly figured out she could put half the students in one section so they could be learning sewing skills while the other half could be cooking.

At the close of the day, she along with some of her students were guaranteed dinner! An additional perk for Earlyne was the fact the neighbor’s wife was also the school cook. The cook’s daughter, Ellie May, delighted in visiting with Earlyne and the Burbank students. Once Ellie May became a part of the group, students who needed something to eat could often stop off and make themselves a sandwich or prepare something with the leftovers. Eventually, some local ranchers “got wind” of what was happening at the Home Ec House. They would then sometimes donate meat to the group after their butchering had been completed.

The main rule during Earlyne’s teaching tenure in the Burbank Home Ec House was, “WASH YOUR HANDS AND PICK UP AFTER YOURSELVES! I’m not your mother!”

Debbie shared that her family has made her Aunt Earlyne’s recipe (taken from an old Betty Crocker cookbook found in the Burbank High School) too many times to count. She said it is a “NO KNEADING - fresh hot rolls every single night,” kind of recipe. When Debbie revealed this long treasured, family recipe, she blessed our little family with the unexpected gift of freshly made hot rolls and a loaf of bread, straight from the oven! Now, how’s that for a little LOCAL FLAVOR?


2 cups warm water (NOT HOT) 110-115 DEGREES 1 egg

2 packages active dry yeast 6 ½ -7 cups flour, like Gold Medal

¼ cup sugar (Use 2 Tbsp. of it with the yeast) 2 tsp. salt

¼ cup soft shortening

The dough may be put into the refrigerator immediately after mixing or it may be allowed to rise once, punched down, and then put into the refrigerator. This dough can rise overnight and be used the next evening.

TEMPERATURE: 375 degrees, BAKE 12-15 minutes, YIELD: 4 dozen medium rolls.