Recipe: Favorite Bread Rolls
Makes 24 dinner rolls 2 cups warm water 2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast 2 tablespoons sugar 4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour...
Makes 24 dinner rolls
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
4 ½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow the mixture to stand until the yeast softens, about 5 minutes, then stir until the yeast is completely dissolved.
2. Whisk in two cups of flour, one cup at a time. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature until the mixture has almost doubled in volume, about 30 minutes, then whisk in the vinegar and salt. Switch from a whisk to a wooden spoon and stir in 2 cups of the remaining flour to make a sticky mass of dough.
3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured countertop and knead in ½ cup of the remaining flour, pressing and folding the dough until it is very springy, sprinkling on additional flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Be careful not to add more flour than necessary or the dough will be stiff and the rolls heavy.
4. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover the bowl with a damp, lint-free kitchen towel or plastic wrap and put in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with baker's parchment. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface and turn it over once so that the whole mass is lightly covered in flour. With a dough scraper or a large knife, cut the dough into four long strips, each one about 4 inches wide. Then, cut each strip into 6 pieces, cutting on a slight angle to make puffy diamond-shapes. Turn these over once on the floured surface to make football shapes and plant them, cut side up on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
6. Bake until the rolls are brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Serve hot, or cool to room temperature and reheat just before serving.
Note: The recipe for these rolls has evolved over the years. I started baking them for a cafe in Friday Harbor, where they were known as "Cafe Rolls," and each place I have worked since then has seen a new incarnation of the same basic roll. A few years ago, I learned that a splash of vinegar in the dough lends the rolls a hint of tanginess, reminiscent of sourdough; it also gives the rolls a better, chewier texture.
From Greg Atkinson
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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