Roll Another One

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I’d have a say my favorite clouds are Altocumulus. They resemble little, lightly dusted dinner rolls floating on a buttery breeze. Almost as if you could reach up and pull one out of the deep blue sky. Second best to that is making the real thing, and with the holidays approaching, what better time to roll out a delightful dozen than now.

This recipe is straight out of Christopher Kimball’s, The Cook’s Bible, and it needs no improvement. However, you might want to make a double batch since these chubby cheeks go down easy. The recipe is as follows:

Makes 12 Rolls

3 cups white flour, preferably bread flour

2 Tb sugar

½ Tb salt

½ package rapid-rise yeast

2 Tb unsalted butter, softened

1 egg, whisked

½ cup warm milk

½ cup warm water

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and stir. Add the butter, milk, water, and egg. Using a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients until they come together. At this point, you can keep using the spatula or use your hand to knead the dough for about 5 minutes. The dough will remain wet and sticky, you just want to work the gluten. Leave the dough in the bowl, scraping down the sides, and cover with a towel. Leave in a warm place. Every 15 minutes, give the dough a couple of turns and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ hours. Pull the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and loosely shape into a round. Divide the dough in two. Roll each half into a cylinder and divide into 6 equal portions, giving you 12 rolls. Now the tricky part:  shaping. On an unfloured surface with floured hands, take a piece of dough and place it between your thumb and pointer finger. Roll the dough counterclockwise (if you’re right handed), putting pressure on the dough with the ball of your thumb. The goal is a tight ball with a closed seem on the bottom. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfect; it’s harder than it sounds, and it will still taste delicious no matter what it looks like. Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet so that they are close but not touching. Lightly flour the rolls and cover with a kitchen towel. Proof until they have doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Before loading the rolls, brush with melted butter or lightly flour. Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes, until their tops are golden. Let the rolls cool on a rack and smile. Feel free to test a warm one just to make sure it’s up to par.

Wild Oats Inside Her

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I know what you’re thinking, but not to worry. The only rise you need for this bread is a hot oven. The inclusion of oats and cracked wheat give this bread a handsome flecked crumb, while the apple cider lends a welcome tartness. The Baker’s Percentage for this bread is as follows:

Total Flour                                           1,000 g                                          100%

White Flour                                            900 g                                             90%

Whole-Wheat Flour                              100 g                                              10%

Levain                                                   200 g                                             20%

Oats                                                      100 g                                             10%

Cracked Wheat                                      100 g                                             10%

Apple Cider                                            350 g                                             35%

Water                                                      300 g                                             30%

Salt                                                          24 g                                               2.4%

You will need to prepare a “soaker” for this bread. The night before, or at least two hours before you mix the dough, put the oats and cracked wheat in a small bowl. Pour enough boiling water to cover the grains and cover. The grains will absorb most of the water, so you will need less liquid in the Mix. As always, use your intuition and feel to guide your dough. Add the soaked grains in at the Mix as well as the apple cider. Continue on through the Bake. Breathe deep and enjoy.