When I bake bread I usually go right for a loaf, boule, braid or other large use of the dough.
It isn't that I dislike rolls...I just don't think to make them very often. Recently I put together a dough based on White Bread 101 in the King Arthur Flour Baking Book. Being the happy co-dependant of a nice sourdough starter I decided to sub in starter for yeast and some of the liquid. Having recently purchased fresh white whole wheat and whole wheat flours I was moved to put some of them in instead of some of the white flour. Canned evaporated milk I had in the fridge went in instead of dry milk (I rarely have dry milk in the pantry), so the liquid amounts changed, which meant more flour...and so it goes. Eventually I had a nice,tacky but not sticky, supple and silky dough to make rolls with. The whole grains made them delightfully chewy and full flavored.
Unfortunately I was making these on a day when lots of other things were going on so I didn't write down the recipe. They didn't get baked until late evening (hence the golden glow of artificial light in the photos, plus heavy shadows). I'm including the original King Arthur recipe...its a great basic and you can play around with it yourself and let me know how it worked for you.
The fun part about rolls is that you can shape them various ways. I made Parker House style ones, coils, simple rounded rolls, a couple of cloverleaf rolls and even a braid for whimsy. Even though they are called 'dinner' rolls I have been enjoying one with lunch this week on days I worked. They went really well with the Summer Soup.
What is your favorite roll shape? I'm looking for new shapes for the next time making rolls seems like a good idea.
White Bread 101
makes one loaf...from The King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion baking book
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (or try subbing 1/4 to 1/2 the amount with whole grain flours)2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
4 tablespoons *2 ounces) butter
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) potato flour, or 1/3 cup (3/4 ounce) potato flakes
1 1/8 cups (9 ounces) lukewarm water
Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together - by hand, mixer, or bread machine - until you've made a soft, smooth dough. Adjust the dough's consistency with additional flour or water as needed (this is why you can play around with this recipe); but remember, the more flour you ad while you're kneading, the heavier and drier your final loaf will be. Cover and let the dough rise for 1 hour, until it's puffy (though not necessarily doubled in bulk).
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. If making a loaf of bread, shape it into an 8-inch log. Transfer the log to a lightly greased 8 1/ x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, cover the pan and let the bead rise until the outer edge has risen about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour. (I use a well-oiled piece of plastic wrap for this kind of rising, making sure that the oiled side is toward the dough).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Uncover the pan and bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil for the final 10 - 14 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly.
Remove the bread from the oven, take it out of the pan, and place on a wire rack to cool completely (I know...it smells so good you want to cut into it right away...resist the urge...it slices so much better when cooled).
If making rolls, when you transfer the dough to the work surface, use a bench scraper or knife to cut the dough into 16 pieces or roll out if required, depending on the shape you have chosen to make. Shape into rolls. Here is teh URL for The Back Home Bakery tutorial on rolls to give you some ideas. http://www.thebackhomebakery.com/Tutorials/Rolls.html
After shaping, let the rolls rise until puffy and almost double in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes,until golden brown with an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.
Finished rolls can be brushed with butter for a soft crust or lightly dusted with flour. I brushed mine with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water) before baking for a shiny finish. You could also brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with seeds if you prefer.