Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Homemade Bread Chronicles Part 1

During Lent our church is holding a Soup/Salad/Bread book study on Tuesday nights. We are looking at The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, so far it is oddly intriguing.

Last week I offered to make the bread and decided it would be fun (and more cost effective) to try to make it from scratch. Thanks to inspiration from Cooking During Stolen Moments I attempted the yummy looking Cheddar Pan Rolls. I would like to tell you that they turned out great but that would certainly not be the truth. They looked like a wimpy version of the picture and had a odd taste to them. To the credit of everyone at church the rolls were eaten up quickly and I even received a few polite compliments.

Determined to figure out this bread making thing I offered to make bread again today. One thing I must say is assembling homemade bread or rolls takes FOREVER! I started making these rolls at noon today and they were done 10 minutes before we walked out the door to church at 6 PM. This statement would certiainly be more dramatic if church was more than a few second walk across the lot... but I digress. The upside is that they were nice and warm at dinner time.

{Side Note} What a true sign that you are grown-up? When your kids give you the "what the heck" look when you get excited to use a dough hook in your stand mixer for the first time. Yah - I'm talking about myself... and in the third person too.

I am so happy to say these turned out great and I hope you give them a try! Look for more homemade bread attempts in the future, who knows what I'll turn out.

Potato Rolls

1 medium baking potato (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup hot water (115 degrees F)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar (4 1/4 ounces)
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (1/4 ounce package)
1 teaspoon fine salt
4 1/4 to 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (13 1/8 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more for brushing

Cook the potato in a microwave on HIGH until soft and it squeezes easily, using the designated baked potato setting, or up to 15 minutes. Peel and pass the warm potato through a potato ricer or food mill into a large bowl. (You should have 1 cup pureed potato). {I used my Quick Chef Chopper from Tupperware}

Stir the hot water, eggs, 1/3 cup sugar and yeast into the potato. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix with a wooden spoon to make a sticky, shaggy dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Beat butter with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Switch to the dough hook and add the risen dough to the creamed butter. Continue to mix on low until the butter and dough come together, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 2 1/4 cups of flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, to make a shaggy dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Continue kneading on medium speed until dough is smooth but still tacky, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until dough is smooth and no longer tacky, 1 to 2 minutes more. (If dough is still sticky, gradually add 1/4 cup flour.) Shape dough into a ball. {I had to add 1/2 cup additional flour to get it smooth and unattached from my fingers. If only there had been someone home to take that picture...}

Brush a large bowl with butter and turn dough around in bowl to coat lightly. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, trace a circle the size of the dough on the plastic and note the time. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Generously butter two 9-inch round or square cake pans. Turn the dough out of the bowl and pat in to a rectangle about 16- by 8-inches, gently pressing out excess air. Divide dough into 32 equal portions, about an ounce each, with a pizza wheel or bench scraper. (If you don't have a scale, divide dough in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise. Cut each of those four sections in to 8 equal-sized rolls.)

Tuck the edges of the dough under to make round rolls and place them seam-side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space in between each roll. Cover the pan with buttered plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the rolls rise almost to the rim of the pan and have more than doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Bake Rolls until golden brown and puffy and register 190 degrees F, about 40 minutes. Remove rolls from oven and quickly brush the tops with soft butter.

Cool the rolls in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a rack in one piece. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature in one piece or pulled apart as individual rolls.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Shelby...I'm drooling, I can just smell your yummy bread baking!