I am not a fan of boughten bread, especially rolls that pass as “bread.” More specifically “buns” – that ubiquitous, cottony fluff that seems to haunt the American hamburger. Specialty bakeries can produce very good products, but they are not that easy to find for a reasonable cost. Of course, cost is always relative – is it worth my time? If yes, the cost is worth it. But if my time is not available, boughten might be acceptable.
This past week I have not been interested in sitting inside. Rather, the weather and light have been pulling me outdoors. The air is bright and wintery (as wintery as it gets where I live!), clouds, new green on branches, willow buds and toadstools. The squirrels are quite plump – “in someone’s corn” – and busy eating everything. I’ve also been inclined to knitting and reading and fidgeting and cooking and, today, baking some rolls for tonight’s dinner. In a week, all this will be set aside as I return to work.
So, the recipe, and the rolls.
1 pkg. dry yeast
1 c. hot water
1 tsp sugar
pinch sea salt
2-4 T. olive oil (I glopped it in)
3-4 c. King Arthur unbleached white flour
Mix together hot water (not boiling) with yeast, sugar, oil, and a cup of the flour. Stir to make a slurry. Beat awhile to mix it smooth.
Begin adding the remainder of the flour, about a cup at a time. At about 3 cups total, add it in 1/4 c. increments.
When batter is a bit stiff, turn out onto floured board and knead about 10 minutes, working in flour. Keep dough a bit soft.
When done kneading, form into ball, and then place in oiled bowl. Turn bread dough around in bowl to make sure all surfaces are covered with oil. Cover with damp cloth and set aside to rise in warm area for an hour, or until double in volume. Punch down dough, turn out onto lightly floured board, and knead for about a minute. Return to bowl to rise another hour.
Remove from bowl, cut into 6 slices, and then shape into balls and flatten. Roll in cornmeal, and place on 11×16 cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Warm the oven to 375 F, with rack in center of oven.
Remove cloth from top of rolls, brush with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes; cool on wire rack. If rolls are not brown enough to your liking, broil lightly to brown tops.
We have leftover pork tenderloin which we roasted after marinating it in olive oil, rosemary, garlic and pepper. This will be thinly sliced and made into sandwiches with caramelized onion, mustard (optional), tomato and something green and leafy, like cilantro or arugula. We also have some aioli, which might also be a good addition to a sandwich.
Now, out for the evening walk, to enjoy the sky filled with pink clouds!