Mar 16, 2013

Basic White Dinner Rolls



Since the time I discovered that I too can conquer yeast, I have this feeling of having reached square 1 of infinity. The possibilities are endless. I am constantly thinking about what to bake with it. Some might call it obsessive but it is a great stress buster especially to get my mind away from the everyday happenings around me. Baking bread does to me what attempts at meditation do not. Complete focus and attention are naturally there.
The past weekend was an over zealous baking marathon. It was also extremely therapeutic in a way that I ended up totally satisfied with all that I was able to do. I had two things to bake. The first one, dinner rolls, was for sheer repeatability. I wanted to be sure that the first time I got it right was not by fluke and I could replicate the feat with ease everytime. The second one on my list was a Sweet Chariot-ish Pineapple cake complete with the frosting. It will suffice to say that I had my share of success and failure (respectively) but the sheer pleasure and relaxation that the process provided, left me with a whole lot of good cheer.
Baking bread has helped me fight the cakes and cookies fatigue. It has gotten me over the anguish of baking something sweet which the family wont eat.


Baking breads or buns is time consuming.... for the dough. There is very little one has to do in the four odd hours that it takes to make apart from wait for it to rise. So one has enough time to conjure up the accompaniment. In my case I decided to turn the rolls into the pav of pav-bhaji. Given the quantity of the dough I got after the rise, I decided to try my hand at shaping pretty rolls as well. I got a braided one, a knotted one and also a rolled one. I dint really look at any making videos or techniques to make the different shapes. I used some photos online as my inpiration.


Basic White Dinner Rolls

Servings: 15 regular medium sized rolls
Prep Time: 4 hrs (including rise time)      Cook Time: 25 mins

Ingredients

3.5 cups all purpose flour
2-1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm Water (Microwave for 20 secs)
1-1/4 cups milk
3 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. Stir in the yeast and sugar in lukewarm water and let it rest for around 10 mins. If the mixture does not froth up discard the liquid and start over again.
  2. Soften the butter completely by leaving it out on the counter for sometime. Or Microwave it for 20 seconds to get it soft.
  3. Mix the butter and milk into a smooth mixture.
  4. Add the yeast mixture to the milk mixture
  5. Add salt to the liquid and mix well.
  6. Now add the flour one cup at a time into the liquid and mix well.
  7. By the time you add the 3rd cup, the mixture starts to form into a dough.
  8. Start kneading the dough by hand (It is going to be very sticky at this point)
  9. Add small amounts of flour and keep kneading till the dough starts to unstick from hands and forms into a smooth ball.
  10. Continue to knead for another 10 minutes or so.
  11. Grease a bowl (double the size of your dough ball) and place the dough ball in it and roll it around so its covered all around with the grease. Cover with a plastic cling wrap. (I think you can use a clean cloth as well as long as the bowl is well covered.)
  12. Also I rubbed the paper, the butter was wrapped in, all over the bowl to grease it. A few drops of oil could also be used.
  13. Place the bowl in a wam place and let it sit for 2 hours to enable the dough to rise. Top of the fridge works best for this.
  14. After 2 hours, the dough would have risen to twice the size.
  15. Softly knead down on it with knuckles and then shape it in whichever way you like (See instructions for Shaping the Roll below)
  16. Place the rolls in the tray that would use to bake ensuring there is atleast 1.5 inches of space around each roll.
  17. Cover the tray with plastic cling wrap and keep the tray in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. Again top of fridge.
  18. Preheat the oven to 350°F in the last 15 minutes of the second rise.
  19. After 1 hour, the rolls would have risen very nicely and would have stuck to each other. Looks like one big pull apart roll.
  20. Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes till the top is a nice golden brown. Mine were done in around 23 minutes.
  21. Serve warm or slice it and warm it up on a skillet before serving

Shaping the rolls

1) Regular roll




  • Flatten the dough to a 1 inch thick square. Using a rolling pin is easier for this. If the dough tends to spring back, leave it for a couple of mins before rolling again.
  • Cut the square into equal sized squares using a knife on the vertical and horizontal axes.
  • Using your palms, shape each small square (2 inches) into a ball
  • Place it in the baking tray.
2) Braided roll


  • Pinch off 3 table tennis ball size ball from the dough.
  • Roll each ball between palms to elongate the ball into a 4 inch long rope (1/2 inch diameter)
  • Place all the 3 ropes beside each other and braid them like you would hair.
  • Pinch the top edges of the ropes together and the bottom edges together
  • Place it in the baking tray
3) Knotted roll




  • Pinch off a ball the size of a golf ball, from the dough.
  • Roll the ball between palms to elongate the ball into a 6 inch long rope (1/2 inch diameter)
  • Make a simple knot with the long roll
  • Loop the end of the rope coming from below, stick it on top of the knot.
  • Loop the end of the rope coming out from the top and stick it below the knot.
  • Place it in the baking tray
4) Rolled




  • Flatten the dough to a 1/2 inch thick rectangle
  • Cut a rectangle around 4 inches * 2 inches from this
  • Starting from a smaller side roll lightly till the end of the length.
  • Place it in the baking tray
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