Tasty Tweaks

April 22, 2008

It’s always fun to adjust recipes and try to perfect them to your own tastes. Most of the recipes that I have posted here so far, I have changed at least a little bit to make it perfect. A little extra butter, more sugar, less this, more that. Whatever it might take to make them perfect for me.

Well these rolls have been on my mind since I first made them. I assumed that adding sugar to the dough, maybe a little extra honey or something like that might give me what I was looking for, but they didn’t really turn out. That little bit changed the recipe just enough so it wasn’t quite as good as they were before, and the crust wasn’t the least bit crispy so I put it aside once again and continued to let it turn in the back of my mind, hoping to come up with something.

A couple days ago I was looking at the notes on The Fresh Loaf on substituting instant yeast for active dry yeast for another recipe I wanted to try, and a light bulb came on. Check it out…. “using less yeast and letting it rise more slowly will result in a more flavorful loaf.” Total epiphany moment.

So that is what I have done here. I reduced the yeast by a whole 1/2 teaspoon. I will probably do a less drastic reduction next time, but this is exactly what it needed. Now not only are they super pillowy soft inside and gloriously crispy outside; they are huge, and incredibly tasty. Don’t you just love when a recipe comes together like that??

Crispy Rolls Redux
Adapted from Harvest King Flour Recipe

3 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons honey

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast. Stir in the water and honey then mix in the salt. Mix well by hand then dump out onto a work surface.

Knead the dough for approximately 10-15 minutes until soft and slightly sticky. You can add more flour or water as needed.

Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough then cover with a clean towel or saran wrap and allow to sit for two hours or more until doubled. This will take longer to rise than normal.

De-gas the dough, then cut it into eight even portions. Cover all but one.

Take the ball you are working with, flaten it and fold the edges in. Flaten and do it again, stretching the dough a bit as you go. Repeat until the bottom is smooth and flat. Place on a clean surface with the creased-side down and cover with a wet towel. Do the same for the other pieces.

Cover the rolls and allow to rise for another hour until doubled. Preheat oven to 450F. Put cookie sheet in oven about 5 minutes before you’re ready to bake them.

Place the rolls on a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or sheet of stiff cardboard and carefully slide onto the cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet then bake for another ten minutes or until a thermometer inserted inside reads approximately 200F.

Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter. Allow to cool before diving in. Enjoy

As you can see I didn’t cut the tops this time and I kinda like the look it gave. It was also kinda cool to hear the crust cracking as it cooled.

These things are just so incredibly tasty, I will be using this recipe often myself. Let me know if you decide to try them.

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A Roll Down Memory Lane

March 4, 2008

When I was little, maybe 6 or so, my mother worked in a bakery. She worked herself up to manager pretty quickly, and lucky for us, that meant we had to go with her to open in the morning. That place was wonderful so early in the morning. Filled with the smells of fresh bread, cookies and other pasteries (it had cookies bigger than my hand!) and it was just such a great place to be.

rolls

My favorite part of it was that we each got to pick one thing we could have every morning. Even at that age I liked my ruts, and more often than not I would choose these large, soft rolls. They had a hard crispy crust and were pillowy soft inside. There was nothing better than those things when they were hot.

 These rolls are not quite the same, but so much closer than anything I have made so far. I think next time I am gonna make them a little bigger (this batch made 12, I’ll probably make it into 8 next time), and add a little more sugar, but DAMN are they good 🙂

rolls

Crispy Rolls
Adapted from Harvest King Flour Recipe

3 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons honey

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast. Whisk in the salt. Stir in the water and honey. Mix well by hand then dump out onto a work surface.

Knead the dough for approximately 10-15 minutes until soft and slightly sticky. You can add more flour or water as needed.

Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Grease the top of the dough then cover with a clean towel or saran wrap and allow to sit for an hour or so until doubled.

De-gas the dough, then cut it into twelve even portions. Cover all but one.

Take the ball you are working with, flaten it and fold the edges in. Flaten and do it again, sretching the dough a bit as you go. Repeat until the bottom is smooth and flat. Place on a clean surface with the creased-side up and cover. Do the same for the other pieces.

Cover the rolls and allow to rise for another hour until doubled. Preheat oven to 450F. Put cookie sheet in oven about 5 minutes before you’re ready to bake them.

Place the rolls upside down (smooth side up) on a sheet of parchment paper on a pizza peel or sheet of stiff cardboard, cut a slit into the tops and carefully slide onto the cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet then bake for another ten minutes or until a thermometer inserted inside reads approximately 200F.

Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter. Allow to cool before diving in. Enjoy 🙂

The outside is incredibly crispy, you won’t believe just how much softer the inside is.


Fresh Bread Any Day

February 13, 2008

Anyone who knows me knows that I love bread in most of its wonderful forms. French bread, soft sandwich bread, rolls, biscuits, bagels. Those crusty rolls that are pillowy soft on the inside and crispy enough on the outside to cut your mouth. mmmmmm

Whether it’s something fancy, or just a slice of buttered bread when I get home from work, I have to have some bread of some sort every day. Unfortunately with work, I can’t make a loaf of fresh bread every day, so naturally it was important that I get a recipe for something bread-like that I could make any day of the week.

What I love most about this recipe is that in its original form, it makes only four biscuits, making it even easier to handle during the week. I played with it, adjusted the numbers and adapted till I had what I consider the perfect biscuits. Beautifully browned, buttery with a hint of sweetness, and of course soft and delicious. Once I achieved the results I wanted I figured out the math and now I can make these in any multiple of four I need. So now I can come home from a long day at work and have hot, fresh biscuits that don’t come from a tube. And they go well with just about anything.

homemade biscuits

Buttery Biscuits

adapted from recipe found on: CookingClub.com

makes 16 biscuits

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
fresh pepper (you be the judge of what’s enough. I never measure it and it’s always great)
12 teaspoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/3 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cover a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.

2. Sift flour into a medium sized bowl and whisk in the sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.

3. Add the butter and with a pastry blender or two knives, cut it in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs with some pea sized pieces.

4. Pour in the milk a little at a time, mixing as you go until you have a very moist dough. You probably won’t need about a tablespoon of the milk. Put that aside.

5. Cut up the dough and form 16 rough balls. Pat down and place on a cookie sheet then brush the tops with the remaining milk.

6. Place in oven and bake approximately 10-15 minutes until tops are nicely browned.

Serve and enjoy 🙂

biscuits

It’s pretty easy to figure out, but let me know if you want the measurements for making just four of these.