Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bread for Thanksgiving

You know I work at a bakery, and yet I didn't get any bread to serve to my guests for the Big Thursday meal. A little shortsighted, right? Things get away from me, work is often just work and not as special to me as it is to someone coming into the shop to get a nice handmade loaf of awesome bread. So this morning when I realized that we were quite breadless, I looked about for a recipe I could make for dinner. After toying with the idea of making brioche rolls, and then moving away from that due to time constraints, I stumbled onto this one from the King Arthur Flour website. I like for my dinner rolls to be made with eggs and milk and butter, not the lean kind we have at the Bakery. I also had a beautiful butternut squash sitting around wanting me to use it for something. When I got up at 8, the kitchen was cold and the oven wanted me to turn it on. So I roasted that squash, and used it to make the dinner rolls. It was a big squash, and there are a lot of people coming over for dinner, so I doubled the recipe. And then I messed around with it some more.

Start with a big roasted squash, mine was about 3 cups worth. Puree. Or not, I don't really think it maters much, especially if you roasted it really well.

Dissolve 4 packets of instant yeast in a cup of warm water. Not hot water. There are instructions about this sort of thing on the yeast packet. I actually used one pack of quick rising, 2 packets of active dry, and one chunk of fresh yeast. So I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference what kind you use. Just know that if you have fresh yeast you will have to use more of it by volume than you would the granulated stuff. Also, King Arthur has a good article on yeast, worth reading if you do this sort of thing a lot.

Ok, in a big ol' mixing bowl I combined the squash, a cup of milk, about 1/3 cup of apple cider, 4 beaten eggs, about half a cup of honey, 2 tablespoons of butter cut up into little pieces, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 4 teaspoons of salt (if you use kosher salt like I did, use more, maybe twice as much. I wish I had) and oh yeah, I put in a little bit of levain from the bakery, which I just happened to have hanging out. I wouldn't go to the trouble of making a whole sourdough starter just for this dough, but I love my levain - you could call it my secret ingredient. Then mix in the yeast & water.

In another bowl measure out 6 cups of flour. I almost always go by weight when I am making bread, but I was in a rush on the fly and so I didn't. Beat this into the wet mixture with a spoon (or paddle attachment), it will be soupy, for about 2 minutes. I also added about a cup of our West Virginia Wheat flour for texture, and next time I will add more because I really like how those whole wheat berries look and taste.

Measure out 6 more cups of flour, I used a combination of white and whole wheat. Add that to the dough and change to a dough hook if you are using a mixer. If you are making this "unplugged" be prepared to stir and knead and then keep on doing that for half an hour or so. I took this down to the bakery and did it in the Hobart stand mixer and it only took about 4 minutes. This much dough wouldn't fit in a Kitchen-Aid mixer anyway.

Mix it till it is smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary as you go along. When it passes the windowpane test, turn it into a greased bowl and let it rise till doubled.

I weighed this out into 2 oz portions and baked the rolls in a well greased muffin tin. Baked it in with the TURKEY at about 375 for about 10 minutes. When the internal temperature reaches 190, they're done. Brush the tops of the hot rolls with melted butter, or do like I did and just use the stick of butter to swipe the tops. It made 24 rolls and I still have more than half of the dough in the fridge. Might make it into sweet rolls for breakfast tomorrow.


Prisoner of the Universe #2-16 said...

I have enjoyed those rolls all day. Thanks for giving me a bag full.
Yo Mamma

Cynthia said...

These sound divine! Thanks for sharing the technique and the photos.