Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fast White Rolls

Today's visual interest is my great- grandfather Hendrik Winkel who immigrated to the United States from Holland. He and his wife Everdina were converted to the Mormon faith there but came to Utah in search of Zion. Richfield is where they finally settled and raised a family of eleven children on the earnings from his bakery. That's where this photo was taken, probably around 1930.

I am proof that the ability to bake a fabulous loaf of bread is not genetic. I have always wanted to be proficient in making rolls, for example, but somehow always fell short. Too tricky, too time-consuming, so many places where you can go wrong. I decided that watching over someone's shoulder who was in the process would be a great help since I am such a visual person and learn best that way.

A friend of mine who used to live in our neighborhood invited me over one day to do just that. Turns out that (with her recipe) it's actually a snap and they turn out every time. I looove fresh bread from the oven and since this is a quick recipe, I get to satisfy my craving before it's gone. You, too, can impress family and friends by following theses basic steps! Trust me. If you're visual like I am, and watching would help, come on over and I will bake some up with you. We'll turn out a dozen or two that would make Grandpa Henrik proud.

2 Tbs active dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 c warm water (or milk)
2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
1/4 sugar
1/2 c butter (one stick) at room temperature
5 c flour (probably will need to add more)

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c water. Pour 1 1/3 c water in a KitchenAid type mixer along with the rest of the ingredients, minus the flour (also, it helps if the butter is cut into smaller pieces). Mix together until combined (don't worry about the butter not being incorporated at this point). Stir in yeast mixture. At this point you can start adding the flour but keep an eye on your dough. I know I have added enough flour (about one or two cups more than the five prescribed) when the dough hook begins to clean the side of the bowl. From experience I know to leave the dough a bit sticky as well but not too sticky that you can't handle it. Too much flour makes the rolls heavy and dry.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for a few minutes until it feels elastic. Jamie taught me that kneading the dough by hand (as opposed to letting the mixer do it) makes for a better finished product. Spray the inside of a large mixing bowl with cooking spray and put it over ball of dough and let rise for half an hour (or until doubled). Shape dough into balls and arrange on a greased cookie sheet. How close you place them to each other depends on how you want them to turn out - closer together if you want to pull the rolls apart, farther if you want individual rolls. I usually get about a dozen on one sheet. Cover (I put mine in a plastic bag) and let rise again (about another half hour or so) then bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Rolls should be lightly browned and hollow sounding when tapped. Rub the tops with a stick of butter. Yummy!


•Using bread flour really makes a difference.
•When using whole wheat flour, a ratio of no more than 2:3 works beat. More makes the dough heavy.
•Using wheat gluten (according to package directions) also makes a big difference.
•Don't let the rolls rise too long.
•These make great hamburger buns!
•Can also use for bread sticks: make a long snake of dough, fold over on itself and twist. Dredge in melted butter then a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese, garlic salt and Italian spices. Don't let rise - cook right away

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