I started with a recipe from a King Arthur, each time I make it a tweak it a bit further from the original. Today, I am making some rolls to go with my simple cioppino. These rolls started out as pull-apart-rolls, but I decided to space them further apart as individual loaves.
Karl’s Dinner Rolls
3½ cups AP flour, separate uses
2 Tbs. potato starch
1 Tbs. Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
¼ cup warm water
1¼ cups lukewarm milk (I use lactose free)
6 Tbs. butter, separate uses
1. Sift three cups of flour with the potato starch, sugar and salt into a medium bowl.
Tip: I sift the flour 5-6 time to get a good blending of the ingredients.
2. Put the yeast and a pinch of sugar in a small cup and add ¼ cup of water.
3. Stir the yeast into the water and let it sit for five minutes.
Tip: This is called proofing the yeast and gives it a head start before you add it to the flour. The sugar jump starts the yeast growth by giving it something to eat.
Note: Be very careful with the water temperature. After five minutes the surface of the of the yeast cup should be fairly foamy. If the water was too hot it will have killed the yeast and you will have to start over.
4. Put the milk in a large measuring cup and microwave it for 1-2 minutes.
Tip: This is called scalding the milk. Heating the milk deactivates the whey protein that restricts gluten formation.
5. Put 5 tablespoons of butter into the warm milk.
Tip: The heat of the milk will melt the butter and the butter will cool off the milk enough that the eggs do not cook when you add them to the mix.
6. Scramble the egg into the milk mixture.
7. Make a well in the flour and add the contents of the yeast cup.
Tip: Use a splash of the buttered milk/egg mixture to rinse out all of the yeast from the cup into the flour.
8. Stir the milk mixture into the flour until it forms a ragged dough—rough with some dry flour showing.
9. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and slightly tacky, about 4-5 minutes.
Tip: Work the remaining half cup of flour into the dough until it “feels” right. A board scrapper is a useful tool to keep the dough from sticking to the board at the beginning of the kneading process.
Note: Over time you develop a tactile “feeling” for when to stop kneading your dough. Until you learn this sense, do not over-knead the dough, as it will produce a very dense roll.
10. Form the dough into a tight ball and return it to the bowl.
11. Cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth and set it in a warm place.
Tip: If it is Winter, you may start the oven for a few minutes to warm it up. However, do not make the oven too warm or it will start baking the dough.
Note: Yeast likes to grow in a slightly warm, damp environment.
12. Let the dough ball rise until it has doubled in size, about one hour.
13. Press the dough to deflate it, and transfer it the work surface.
14. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.
Tip: Use the board scraper to divide the dough, first into quarters and then into 12 pie wedges.
15. Take each piece of dough and push the point of the wedge into the dough, form the dough into a round smooth ball.
16. Melt the remaining one tablespoon of butter in a small cup.
17. Butter one of your hands and handle each ball of dough, until it is buttered on all sides.
18. Space the dough balls around a lipped baking tray.
Tip: Depending on your tray you may need to grease the pan or use parchment paper.
19. Set the tray in a warm spot and allow the rolls to rise for about 20 minutes.
Tip: Preheat your oven to 375° F.
Note: I have tried raising the rolls for as much as an hour, but the final results were too fluffy and insubstantial. Twenty minutes produces a roll with enough lift, but which still has some bite to it.
20. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes,
Tip: Rotate the pan half way through the baking period.
Note: According to King Arthur, bake “…until they’re golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the center bun should register at least 190° F.”
21. Set the rolls on a cooling rack for a few minutes.
22. Serve warm with butter on the side.