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Lambert's Hot Ro's

Lambert's Cafe, Sikeston, MO
Lambert's Cafe, Sikeston, MO (image from internet)

Have you guys ever been to Lambert's Cafe, Home of Throwed Rolls, in Sikeston, Missouri? (I know that should say thrown, not throwed. They didn't ask me before making their sign.)

Anyway, our family has visited regularly for as long as I can remember every time we're in Southern Illinois. A visit to Aunt Georgia Lee always included a trip to Lambert's.

She lived over an hour away from the restaurant. Her town was near where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet. (I'm speaking in the past-tense because she is deceased. I miss her very much.)

Her house was an hour from anywhere. When you go to Southern Illinois, you can't just find restaurants and hotels at every corner. You have only a few options; towns are far apart; and the scenery is beautiful. Just settle in for a long ride no matter where you go.

Sikeston, MO, is somewhere in Missouri off I-55. Is it I-55? I'll have to look.

Lambert's is a local attraction. You can't just pop in for a quick burger. You put your name in at the front desk and wait.. and wait... and wait.

But it's worth the wait.

Once you're seated and have ordered whatever you order (think Southern, so okra is a normal thing there), you wait for the bread man to come out of the kitchen. He rolls out with a tray of piping hot rolls and hollers "Hot ro's!" It's too far south to use the letter l.

You just hold up your hands, and he'll toss that roll clear across the room to you.

If you're like me, you might have one land in your blouse instead of your hands, because you catch like a girl, but that's just part of the fun.

You can eat as many rolls as you like, plus the waiters come around with pots of filler food for anyone that wants it: fried okra, corn, tomato something, fried apples, and more that I can't remember.

The steak you order is more of a side dish to the rolls. If you leave there hungry, it's your own fault.

Today, I saw a post from the FlyLady showing a newspaper clipping of a recipe for Lambert's rolls. That became today's project. Don't ask me where the recipe originated or if it's really Lambert's recipe greatly scaled down for home use; I don't know.

If you're used to making bread and rolls already, this will be a cinch. Otherwise, just do what I say. It'll turn out. If it doesn't, don't chuck a roll at me.

Our version of Lambert's Cafe Rolls

Lambert's Cafe Rolls

  1. Mix and let stand 5-10 minutes: 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 package dry active yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons), and 1/4 cup tepid water (think baby bathwater).

  2. Mix in a large bowl: 1 cup warm milk (think baby bathwater again), 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt.

  3. Stir in: yeast mixture and 3 1/2 cups flour. Dough will be sticky. Add in 1/2 cup flour more as you knead for 4-5 minutes. You can use the counter top or the mixing bowl to knead. When you're done, the dough will be smooth and elastic.

  4. Let it rise in the bowl, covered, until double in size.

  5. Butter a 12-cup muffin.

  6. Punch down dough. Pinch off pieces about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (or divide the dough in half, then cut each half into 12 sections, which is what I did).

  7. Roll each piece into a smooth sphere; place 2 spheres in each cup of the muffin tin.

  8. Cover and let rise 45 minutes.

  9. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.

  10. Lightly butter the tops when you pull them out of the oven.

We love these rolls! I even threw them across the kitchen to the kids. They're better at catching than I am.


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