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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dinner Rolls for Aunt Agatha

That is the name of the recipe for pull apart dinner rolls in Laurel Robertson's bread book. In my case, they were going to be dinner rolls to go with an Indian dish called Pav bhaji for visiting relatives. I wanted to make them the evening before my guests arrived for the weekend. The book described how this could be done as a brown-and-serve version. Score!

The dough
The recipes calls for high gluten whole wheat flour. I normally add some vital wheat gluten to regular whole wheat flour to make high gluten whole wheat flour. However I didn't want to risk gummy-ness from the v.w.g. Also because this was for guests who may not be used to wholegrain dinner rolls, I decided to use some bread flour. I used 250 g of bread flour and 500 g of whole wheat flour. The recipe also calls for 150 g for whole wheat pastry flour. Salt is added to the flour mixture.

The setup

The softness of the rolls comes from the use of an egg and some buttermilk. Honey is the sweetener used. Indian dinner rolls are not sweet, so I only used 2 instead of 3 tablespoons. The three ingredients are mixed together. Yeast is dissolved in a cup of warm water to make the second liquid component added.

Liquids ready to go into the flours

The dough was kneaded for 12 minutes and then butter was smeared on the working surface little by little and kneaded into the dough. The recipe calls for 56 g of butter. I only had 45 g at hand, so I added 1 tablespoon oil to the buttermilk+egg+honey mixture.

The risings
The dough rose exceptionally well and very quickly, another sign that summer has arrived to Arizona.

Ready for the first rise

First rise is done

After the first rise, the dough was deflated, rounded and left to rise again.

Ready for the second rise

Second rise is done

The shaping
After the second rise, the dough was split into 4 equal parts. The total dough was 1592 grams. I was happy to have a digital scale to make sure my pieces very close in weight.

Dough is divided into four parts, rounded and rested

After resting the four balls of dough for a bit, each is split into six parts that are rounded into rolls and placed half an inch apart, ideally on a thick 11 x 16 aluminum bun pan or one 9 x 13 and one 8 x 8 Pyrex dish or a large cookie sheet. I went with the cookie sheet option. I kept the rolls covered with a damp paper towel while other rolls were being shaped.

Each of the four parts makes six rolls.

LR suggests a quick proof to keep the rolls from drying. I kept the paper towels under the clear plastic wrap throughout the proofing time.

Ready for proofing

When they were done proofing, the rolls touched each other and I knew they would look like the pull apart rolls I wanted to have.

Wonderfully proofed

The first bake
In a two stage baking process, the rolls are cooked but not browned in the first stage by baking them at 275 F for 30 minutes. There was some oven spring but no browning, so that in the picture is it hard to tell that they are semi-baked.

First half of the baking (evening before)

The second bake
The second bake is done for 15 minutes in a 450 F oven. This browned them just right for serving. I dabbed a little butter on them right as they came out (after this picture was taken)

Second half of the baking, right before dinner

Pav bhaji is usually eaten with the pav (bread) split in half (and toasted with more butter) as shown in the picture. I tested a left over roll with PB&J (gotta do that test!) and I thought it was good.

Decent crumb

Notes
Date: May13, 2011
Recipe: Dinner Rolls for Aunt Agatha from Laurel Robertson's book, 'The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book'

Flours: Whole wheat, bread flour
Bread specific ingredients: Egg
Sweetener used: Honey
Liquid: Buttermilk and water

Comments: Used some bread flour to make rolls acceptable for company, but 100% whole wheat might be fine too. 2 T of honey was quite sufficient. I wonder if the butter amount can be reduced without compromising softness. Maybe replace some more butter with oil next time. All in all, a successful first attempt at dinner rolls and also the two-stage baking method, which made it possible to spend time with guests and still be able to serve home-made bread.

-RPH

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