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.

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