United States of Bread (Running Press, 2014), by Adrienne Kane, contains 75 vintage American bread recipes — everything from yeast breads and quick breads, sweet rolls to bread puddings, and even what to do with dried bread. Included for the novice bread baker are helpful sidebars about fermentation, equipment and flours. For the more experienced baker and history enthusiast is intriguing information on classic American bread-making. The following excerpt from the chapter "Rolls" is a dinner rolls recipe.
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What would Thanksgiving be without buttery homemade rolls to go alongside your turkey and gravy? Or how about a pillow-soft roll sliced in two for the bread in your weekday sandwich? Slathered with jam and an extra pat of butter, then eaten on the go as you dash out the door on your way to work—good homemade rolls can be all of those things. Once you have mastered the basics, this roll recipe will prove invaluable. If a petite side roll is what you desire, you can easily scale down the size of the individual rolls that you make. Want something more substantial? Alter the proportions.
Dinner Rolls Recipe
• 1/4 cup warm water (100 degrees to 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
• 2-1/4 teaspoons (1 package) dry yeast
• Pinch of sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
• 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups (1 pound, 1/4 ounce to 1 pound, 2-3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the water, yeast, and sugar together. Allow the mixture to bloom. It should become bubbly and smell yeasty, about 10 minutes.
2. In the same bowl, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the egg, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and 3 cups (15 ounces) of the flour. Mix briefly at low speed until the mixture becomes web-like and dough begins to cling to the paddle.
3. Remove the paddle and attach the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, begin kneading with the dough hook and adding additional flour by the spoonful. The dough produced by this dinner roll recipe will become a more cohesive mass, more elastic, and start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It is important to watch the dough during this process. All of the flour should be incorporated at each step, but you don’t want the dough to become too dry or heavy. Stop the mixer intermittently and touch the dough; it should still be tacky, but not too sticky. The dough will take anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 cup (1-1/4 to 3-3/4 ounces) of additional flour. It should be smooth and free of lumps. This kneading process will take 6 to 10 minutes.
4. Empty the dough out onto a well-floured surface, scrape the bowl with a pastry scraper, adding any bits of dough from the bowl to the mound, and gently knead it into a ball. Put it back into the bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the dough.
5. Place it in a warm spot, and let it rise for approximately 1-1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
6. Pull back the plastic wrap, and empty the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Fold the dough over, once in each direction, to release the gases. The dough will weigh about 2 pounds. Divide it into 18 equally-sized pieces, weighing approximately 1-1/2 ounces each. Form each mound of dough into a roll shape. Place them on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.
7. Cover with a tea towel or light kitchen cloth, and let the rolls rise for about 1 hour, or until almost doubled in bulk.
8. Move the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Fifteen minutes prior to baking, preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and remove the tea towel from the tray.
9. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are golden brown. Remove the rolls from the oven, and set the pan on a cooling rack for approximately 5 minutes. Take the homemade rolls off the pan, return them to the rack, and allow them to cool until just warm or room temperature.
Reprinted with permission from United States of Bread © 2014 by Adrienne Kane, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Buy this book from our store: United States of Bread: Our Nation's Homebaking Heritage: From Sandwich Loaves to Sourdough.