Recipe developer Julia Turshen is at it again, with a guide to culinary satisfaction that’s won the praise of Ina Garten, April Bloomfield and Ruth Reichl. There’s nothing like pulling a perfect tray of something delicious out of the oven, which is why we’re cooking our way through Small Victories.

When I was in high school, I took a weeklong bread baking intensive at the French Culinary Institute (now called the International Culinary Center). Not only did I feel like I had a better and closer understanding of my maternal grandparents, who ran a bread bakery in Brooklyn long before I was ever even a thought, I also learned so much about the chemistry behind baking, which helped me to overcome my fear of yeast. Prior to the course, anytime I saw yeast as an ingredient in a recipe, I turned the page. Yeast? It seemed over my head and too easy to mess up. What I can offer you in a condensed space is this: Don’t be afraid. It’s a tool, just like any other leavening ingredient (like baking powder). The other thing I learned, a true small victory, is that once you stop being afraid of yeast, mastering a basic yeasted dough, like the one I’ve included here, means that everything from cinnamon buns to dinner rolls is within your reach. This rendition employs raspberry jam, which is spread on top of the rolled-out dough so that when you roll it up and slice it, the jam is spiraled throughout the individual buns. Served with a generous amount of sweetened crème fraîche drizzled on top, this version is my personal favorite, but as you’ll see in the Spin-Offs, the possibilities are limitless.

Spin-offs:

For cinnamon rolls, instead of spreading the dough with raspberry jam, sprinkle the surface evenly with a thin layer of brown sugar and shake over a very thin dusting of cinnamon, then roll it up and proceed as instructed. Substitute cream cheese for the crème fraîche in the frosting mixture.

For terrific garlic buns, instead of spreading the dough with raspberry jam, brush it with ½ cup [110 g] melted butter and then sprinkle over six minced garlic cloves, a generous sprinkle of salt, and a handful of finely chopped parsley. Roll up the dough and proceed as instructed. Skip the frosting!

For herb-goat cheese buns, instead of spreading the dough with raspberry jam, dot it with 8 oz [230 g] plain goat cheese and sprinkle over a small handful of finely chopped thyme, rosemary, and/or sage. Roll up the dough and proceed as instructed. Skip the frosting!

For monkey bread, divide the dough into a dozen even pieces and roll each piece in melted butter and then in cinnamon sugar (this will be a messy job, very well suited for children). Pack the pieces into a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest and rise for 1 hour. Uncover it, brush with beaten egg, and bake in a 350°F [180°C] oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

For salami or prosciutto bread, instead of spreading the dough with raspberry jam, shingle 4 oz [115 g] thinly sliced salami or prosciutto over it. Roll up the dough, don’t slice it, and let it rest and rise for 1 hour, then brush the loaf with the egg and bake it. Thinly slice it while it’s warm. So good!

For buttery dinner rolls, divide the dough into a dozen evenly sized pieces and form each into a little ball by rolling it between your hands. Transfer the balls to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, arranging them so that they’re touching each other. Cover with plastic and let them rest and rise for 1 hour. Uncover, brush with egg, and bake in a 350°F [180°C] oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Brush with melted butter instead of frosting.

Reprinted with permission from Small Victories