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    Entries in rolls are sexy (2)

    Friday
    Jul122013

    Because Little Buns are in Fashion

    Sliders are all the rage right now, and to be honest I think it’s great!  Not only are sliders cute (we all know little things are cute) but because of their small size, they’re easy to eat, and you get to have more than one!  That definitely appeals to our greedy nature, and it also allows for variety.  For those of us who are somewhat decision impaired, that’s a very good thing.  These little buns are perfect for your summertime cookouts.  (I’m converting to the local lingo.)

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ¼ cup warm water
    • Pinch of sugar
    • Packet of yeast
    • ½ cup hot water
    • ½ cup milk
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 4-ish cups flour

     

    Into your mixing bowl go the ¼ cup warm water (think bathwater temp), pinch of sugar, and yeast.  Stir them together and set that aside. 

    In a measuring cup combine the hot water and the milk, which should also land at warm. Add the butter and give it a minute to melt.

    Once it has, add the egg and whisk everything together. 

    Now back to your yeast.  It should be showing signs of life by now, in the form of bubbles mostly. 

    Pour in the milk mixture.

    Stir that together and add 2 cups of flour along with the salt and sugar. 

    Mix that together until you have a nice batter consistency.  Add another 1 ½ cups of flour and mix until it comes together. 

    If it looks like this, with a large area still sticking to the bottom of the bowl, you need more flour. 

    This is what you’re looking for.  It should almost completely remove itself from the bowl.  I know it it’s a shaggy mess, but a few minutes of kneading will fix that. 

    Allow it to knead for 5 minutes or so, or if you’re kneading by hand, probably 10 minutes.  Either way, you’ll need to butter a large bowl. 

    When your dough is ready it should be smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. 

    Place it top side down into the bowl, then turn it and flip it over so that it has butter on all sides. 

    Cover with a damp towel and set aside to rise. 

    You want it to double in size.  That will probably take about an hour, but it depends on the temperature of your house.  You’ll know it’s ready when it looks something like this. 

    Dump it out onto a floured surface and deflate most of the large bubbles with your knuckles. 

    Cut off a small piece of dough and flatten it into a disk. 

    Pull all the edges together to form a ball.

    Then place it on an unfloured surface and move it in circles with your hand.  You should have a nice smooth ball about the size of a ping pong ball. 

    Place it onto a parchment lined sheet pan. 

    Keep your balls covered with a damp towel as you work so they don’t dry out. 

    Continue doing this until you have 24 balls of dough.  I had a little extra dough left, so you could probably actually get 28 out of this recipe.  I just used the extra for a little dessert thing. 

    Flatten them out a bit. 

    Then, as before, cover with a damp towel and set them aside to rise. 

    Generally, the second rise doesn’t take as long, so maybe 45 minutes or so.  They should be nice and puffy. 

    This is probably a good time to preheat the oven to 375°.  Then, in a small dish, combine an egg and 1 Tablespoon water.

    Beat thoroughly with a fork. 

    Using a pastry brush, apply a small amount of egg wash to the top and sides. 

    Repeat until each roll is coated. 

    Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top. 

    Or, if you’re like me, sprinkle some of them with sesame seeds, some with poppy seeds, and some with dried, minced onion.  I did mention I’m slightly decision impaired, right? 

    Bake for 15 minutes.  They should be nice and golden on top and around the edges.  Move them to a rack to cool. 

    Here are the sesame seed ones

    The poppy seed ones

    And the onion ones. 

    Take your pick.  They are all fabulous.  I have actually done a batch since these and used all three toppings together.  They were basically “everything” buns and they were absolutely delicious.  Don’t limit yourself to just burgers on these little buns, either.  I made Sloppy Joses on some of mine, and next week I’ll be showing you a fabulous Thai chicken slider that is to die for. 

    What is your favorite thing to put on your buns?

     

    Friday
    Mar292013

    Dinner Rolls

    Dinner rolls.  They couldn’t really have a more mundane name, but in reality, they are anything but.  There aren’t many things in life better than a fresh, hot, roll.  You can spread butter on them, or eat them with soup, or pile on some of your fresh baked Easter ham to make fabulous little sammiches.  I grew up eating my mom’s homemade rolls.  They were always the best, and we all loved them.  She usually makes potato rolls, though, which call for things like mashed potato and scalded milk.  Well, I’m way too lazy for that, so here is my simplified version. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 ½ cup warm water
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1 pkg yeast
    • 3 ½ cups flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 3 Tablespoons butter

    Place the sugar in your mixing bowl and pour over the water.  The temperature of the water should be about like a nice warm bath would be. 

    Swirl that around to dissolve the sugar, and then sprinkle on the yeast. 

    Walk away for 5 – 10 minutes, or until you start to see active signs of life.

    Add 2 cups of flour to the water. 

    Mix that until it just comes together.

    Add the butter, and mix for about a minute or so. 

    Add the remaining flour, as well as the salt, and switch to the dough hook. (if you’re using a stand mixer) If you’re not using a stand mixer, work the flour in as best you can with a wooden spoon, and then switch to kneading by hand.  If you are using a mixer, allow it to knead the dough on medium low speed for 5 minutes or so. 

    While that’s doing its thing, go ahead and butter a large bowl. 

    If you happen to have a butter wrapper on hand, it is the easiest way to do that.  My friend Elise just passed on a little tip.  She says you can stack them in the freezer, and then just pull them out when you need them.  That’s a great tip, but with my brain, I’m likely to remember it just after I’ve dropped the butter wrapper in the trash. 

    At this point your dough should be nice and smooth, but still a bit sticky. 

    Flour your hands, and then move it to the bowl, flipping it over so that both sides have butter on them. 

    Cover that with a damp kitchen towel and leave it to rise. 

    Depending on the temperature of your house, it will probably need somewhere between 45 and 90 minutes.  Most likely, it’ll take about an hour.  You want it to basically double in size. 

    Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and poke it with your knuckles to get rid of the largest bubbles. 

    Divide the dough in half and set one piece aside. 

    Cut the half you’re working with into 9 equal-ish pieces. 

    Flatten each piece into a disc shape. 

    Then fold all the edges into the center to form something resembling a ball. 

    Put it down on the work surface, place your hand loosely over the top like a cage, and move it in small circles.  This will pull everything tight and make a nice ball. 

    Place the ball into the prepared pan and repeat with the rest of the dough pieces. 

    If you need more than 9 rolls now, go ahead and do the same with the other half.  Personally, I’d prefer to save them for another night to save me some time.  In that case, roll them into balls the same as you did the others, but place them with a bit of space between them on a floured, parchment lined, sheet pan, then pop that into the freezer for a few hours.  When they’re frozen solid, go ahead and drop them into a freezer bag.  Then when you’re ready, go ahead and continue from this point.  Just remember it will take a bit longer because they have to thaw before they’ll rise. 

    Allow the rolls to rise until they’re nice and puffy.  Probably another hour or so.  When they’re getting close to that size, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350°.  

    When they’re ready, bake them for about 25 minutes.  They should be nice and golden on top and if you tap on them, they’ll sound hollow. 

    Remove them from the pan immediately.  If you want them to be pretty, brush them with a little butter, and they’ll be shiny and gorgeous.

    They really do need a better name.  Look at that beauty! 

    What’s your favorite thing to do with a roll?