Whole Wheat Loaves {TWD-BWJ}

Many of the Tuesdays with Dorie recipes from Baking with Julia have been new to me, either in ingredients, technique, or finished product. Not so these hearty whole wheat loaves. I’ve been baking bread for over 30 years, so there was nothing new here. Classic ingredients, standard techniques, nothing fancy.

But don’t take that to mean this was a ho-hum recipe. Far from it. While everything about this recipe was comfortably familiar to me, the finished loaves were nothing like the dense, crumbly whole wheat loaves so many recipes produce. No, these were light, airy, slightly sweet loaves that rose well over the pan and far beyond my expectations.

The ingredients list for the loaves was simple: water, yeast, honey, bread and whole wheat flours, canola oil, malt extract, and salt. It’s the honey and malt that give these loaves their earthy sweetness. And the combination of flours resulted in a hearty, yet tender, crumb.

The dough was wonderful to work with: firm, tacky but not sticky, and quite supple.

Here it is before bulk fermenting:

And here’s what it looked like 1 1/2 hours later:

I divided the dough (not too evenly, as it turns out), shaped the loaves, and put them in pans to proof.

After an hour of proofing, the loaves were well-risen and ready to bake.

This, boys and girls, is why you should always scale your dough.

I baked the loaves, cooled them, then put one in the freezer and kept the other out to use for toast and sandwiches.

This is a delicious bread, and easy enough to make a bread baker out of anyone!

Our host for this week are Michele of Veggie Num Nums and Teresa of The Family That Bakes Together. Check out their posts for the recipe and to see what they thought of this bread.

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Half Hour Hot Dog Buns {Recipe}

After yesterday’s success with half hour hamburger buns, I decided to try the recipe again, this time as hot dog buns. It’s the same basic recipe. I changed the shaping instructions and rewrote it to make by hand instead of with a mixer.

Half Hour Hot Dog Buns

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. Pour water into a large bowl. Add yeast and sugar, stir to dissolve, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix with dough whisk or large spoon. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes, adding flour as necessary so that dough it smooth and elastic, like French bread dough.
  4. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and preshape each piece into a ball. Working with one dough ball at a time, flatten into an oval. Fold top third of dough to the center, seal, then fold down again and seal into a torpedo shape. Using both palms, roll from the center to the ends to desired length.
  5. Place dough balls close together (about an inch or less apart) on prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. If desired, brush rolls with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds just before baking.
  6. Bake rolls for 8-10 minutes, until well-risen and browned. Cool on pan for a few minutes.

Makes 12 hot dog buns.

Half Hour Hamburger Buns {Recipe}

I don’t know about you, but Mondays and Fridays tend to be quick dinner nights around here. For whatever reason, at either end of the work week, I want something simple and fast to throw together. One of my almost instant dinners that my family really likes is Sloppy Joes.

So last night (Thursday), I got a pound of ground beef out of the freezer to make Sloppy Joes for dinner tonight. There weren’t any hamburger buns in the freezer, and the ones on top of the fridge were of questionable vintage. Rather than stop on the way home to pick up buns, I decided to try a recipe a number of my baking friends had been chatting about — Taste of Home’s 40-minute Hamburger Buns.

You might wonder (1) how you could possibly have homemade bread of any kind in about half an hour, and (2) whether it could possibly be any good. Let me tell you….

Bread derives its flavors in two basic ways. First, from time — the rising and fermenting processes allow the yeast in the dough to convert the starch in flour to sugar, thereby adding flavor. The other way to get flavorful bread is through the ingredients used to make it. For example, eggs, sugar, and oil are often added to bread to make an enriched dough that relies more on these ingredients than the fermentation process for its resulting flavor.

In the case of these burger buns, the flavor comes almost entirely from the ingredients, as the dough is not given a chance to rise. This recipe also relies on another principle of bread baking: if you add enough yeast to the dough, you can make bread that rises “instantly”.

I’ll admit to being a bit skeptical of these buns, as I tend to rely heavily on time to develop flavor in my breads. I can make amazing bread using nothing but flour, yeast, salt, and water (and in the case of sourdough bread, just flour, salt, and water). But I needed hamburger buns for dinner, and it seemed like a good time to see what all the fuss was about.

I was surprised at how good these burger buns tasted. I would still opt for a more traditional recipe when time permits. But for an almost instant bread, these were great. And they fit right into my quick Friday dinner plans. These were so good, I made them again as hot dog buns.

I made some changes to the recipe, and I found they were done in closer to half an hour than 40 minutes. Here’s my version.

Half Hour Hamburger Buns

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
  2. Pour water into bowl of electric mixer. Add yeast and sugar, stir to dissolve, and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix with dough hook on medium-low speed for 3 to 5 minutes, adding flour as necessary so that dough clears sides and bottom of bowl.
  4. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Place dough balls 1 to 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly. (Placing dough balls closer together will cause them to bake together, creating pull-apart hamburger buns similar to those you get from the store.) Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. If desired, brush rolls with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Or for softer buns, brush with a little milk.
  5. Bake rolls for 8-10 minutes, until well-risen and browned. Cool on pan for a few minutes.

Makes 12 hamburger buns.

Oasis Naan {TWD-BWJ}

I am so pleased to be hosting this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Julia recipe! This was a particularly good pick for me, as I love naan but had never made it myself. I’ve had several recipes bookmarked to try at some point, but never quite got as far at making them. So hosting this week finally gave me the push I needed to try my hand at baking naan. And, boy, am I glad it did!

This recipe begins with a batch of Persian Naan dough (recipe below), which was a breeze to throw together. I began by measuring tepid water into my mixing bowl, then sprinkling yeast on top.

The recipe calls for active dry yeast. Since I always use instant yeast, I turned to my handy yeast conversion table and saw that I would need 0.75 teaspoon of instant yeast for every teaspoon of active dry yeast in the recipe. Since the recipe calls for 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, I used 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast. I stirred the yeast into the water, then added 3 cups of flour, one at a time, using my dough whisk.

At this point, I put the bowl on the stand mixer and began using the dough hook to mix in the salt and remaining flour.

After mixing in 6 cups of flour, the dough was still quite sticky, so I added more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until it stopped clinging to the sides of the bowl.

It took an additional 7 tablespoons of flour to get the dough to the point where it was tacky but not sticky. The recipe said to knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. I mixed it on medium-low speed with my stand mixer for about 7 minutes.

I put the dough in a well-oiled bowl, turned it to coat both sides with oil, then set it aside to rise for 2 hours.

After 2 hours the dough had more than doubled in size, which I expected given the amount of yeast in the recipe.

About 15 minutes before the dough reached the 2 hour mark, I put my unglazed clay tiles on the oven rack and began preheating the oven to 500°F. It takes both the oven and the tiles longer than you might think to reach such a high temperature (don’t trust the “oven ready” beeper), and I wanted my tiles to be smoking hot by the time I was ready to begin baking.

While the oven was preheating and the dough finishing its rise, I chopped 2 scallions and got out some coarse sea salt and cumin seeds.

To shape the naan, I divide the dough into 8 pieces. Normally, I scale dough when dividing it. But naan is a rustic bread, so I didn’t really care if the pieces weren’t exactly the same size.

I preshaped each piece of dough into a ball and flattened slightly. Then, working with one dough ball at a time, I rolled the dough into a 6-inch circle, which I sprinkled with water and docked with a fork.

I moved the dough to a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal, then rolled out a second dough ball. Once I had two naan on the peel, I sprinkled them with salt, green onion, and cumin seeds.

I loaded the dough into the oven and began preparing the next two dough balls. I baked the naan for about 8 minutes, until they were well puffed and the scallions began to take on some color.

The naan baked up puffier than what I’m used to getting at an Indian restaurant. But it was delicious — better than any restaurant or store-bought naan I’ve ever tried. The bread was soft and chewy, and the cumin and scallions gave it a deep, subtle flavor that definitely reminded me of the best Indian dishes I’ve had.

And speaking of Indian food, I served the naan with homemade butter chicken — a perfect pairing.

If you love naan but have never made it yourself, give this recipe a try. It’s easy, quick, and delicious. You may never buy naan again.

Persian Naan Dough (from Baking with Julia; recipe by Jeffery Alford & Naomi Duguid). Reprinted by permission.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups tepid water (80°F to 90°F)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast [or 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast]
  • 5 to 6 cups bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon [Kosher] salt

Directions

  1. Put the water and yeast in a large bowl and stir to blend. Add 3 cups of the flour, about a cup at a time, stirring in one direction with a wooden spoon [or dough whisk]. Beat for 1 minute, or about 100 strokes, to develop the gluten.
  2. Sprinkle the salt over the mixture and start adding the remaining flour, again about a cup at a time, stirring after each addition and then stirring until the dough is too stiff for you to work. You may not need to use it all.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it vigorously, adding more flour as necessary, until it is smooth and easy to handle, about 10 minutes. [Or mix with stand mixer on medium-low speed with dough hook for about 7 minutes, adding flour as necessary until dough does not cling to sides or bottom of bowl.]
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to cover the entire surface with oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest at room temperature until it has more than doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Don’t worry if it goes longer — it will be just fine. If it’s more convenient, you can put the bowl in the refrigerator and let the dough rise overnight; bring the dough to room temperature before continuing.

Oasis Naan (from Baking with Julia; recipe by Jeffery Alford & Naomi Duguid). Reprinted by permission.

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Persian Naan dough, fully risen
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped (white and tender green parts only)
  • 1 teaspoon (approximately) cumin or caraway seeds

Directions

  1. Center a rack in the oven and line with quarry tiles or a baking stone, leaving a 1-inch air space all around. (If you do not have tiles or a stone, place an inverted baking sheet on the oven rack.) Preheat the oven to 500°F. Set aside a baker’s peel or dust a baking sheet with flour.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball; flatten each ball with lightly floured palms. Roll out the dough into circles about 1/4 inch thick and 5 to 6 inches across and sprinkle with water.
  3. Each circle needs to be well pricked all over, with the exception of a 1- to 2-inch border. Traditionally, this is done with a dough stamp, a round utensil with concentric circles of thin spikes. Alternatively, you can use a roller pricker (also known as a pastry docker), the tines of a fork, or the pointy metal loop at the bottom of a whisk. Whatever you choose, you want to prick the dough with determination, flattening the center of each circle.
  4. Sprinkle each center with coarse salt, chopped scallions, and a pinch of cumin or caraway seeds.
  5. Slide the breads onto the hot quarry tiles using the baker’s peel (or slide onto the baking sheet), and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the tops start to color.
  6. Remove the breads and cool on a rack for about 5 minutes before wrapping them in a cotton towel. These are best served warm.
  7. The breads are best eaten shortly after they’re baked, but they’ll keep, wrapped in a towel, for a day. For longer storage, wrap the [fully cooled] breads airtight and freeze for up to a month. Keep the breads in their wrappers while they thaw at room temperature, and then warm them for a few minutes in a 400°F oven before serving.

Persian Naan {BWJ}

The first June recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie is Oasis Naan. I was lucky enough to be picked to host this recipe, so I’ll be posting the full recipe with step-by-step photos and instructions next week.

The Oasis Naan begins with a batch of Persian Naan dough, and since I had to make the dough anyway, I decided to make some Persian and some Oasis Naan. Check out the Oasis Naan post for the recipe and instructions for making the dough.

After mixing the dough and letting it rise, I got my oven ready. Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven called a “tandoor”. The best way to replicate this in a home oven is with a baking stone or clay tiles.

I picked up these unglazed clay tiles for about 50 cents each at a French bread baking class I took a few years ago. They are great for baking crusty artisan breads. And because they are individual tiles, they are easy to get in and out of the oven, store, and (if you buy extras like I did) replace if you break one. I set the oven to 500°F and let it preheat while I shaped the naan.

I deflated the dough and divided it into four pieces.

I preshaped each piece into an oval, then let them rest while the oven finished preheating. This allowed the gluten to relax and made them easier to shape.

In the meantime, I prepared a small bowl of water and got out some black sesame seeds.

Once the dough had relaxed a bit and the oven was good and hot, I began shaping the naan. I made one at a time. First, I pressed the dough out with wet fingertips. I dipped my hands in water every few seconds to get the dough good and wet.

Next, I gently lifted the dough over my hands and stretched it out. Finally, I sprinkled the naan liberally with black sesame seeds.

I lifted the naan off the work surface and gently moved it to the oven. It only took about five minutes to bake, since the oven and tiles were so hot.

As you can see, my naan came out kind of funny shaped. I had stretched it too long and had to make it fit on the tiles. Hence, the shmoo-shaped naan. This was fine, as naan is a rustic bread that is served by placing the whole piece in the center of the table and letting everyone tear off hunks to eat.

The naan was delicious. Light, crisp, and just a little bit yeasty. The thinner parts were almost like a cracker, while the thicker sections were soft and pillowy.

I served the Persian naan with butter chicken for a delicious and satisfying dinner.

This recipe was fun to make and wonderful to eat. Definitely a repeat.

Pecan Sticky Buns {TWD-BWJ}

Our second May recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie is one with which I am very familiar. Growing up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, sticky buns were an almost ubiquitous morning treat. After leaving PA Dutch country, I tried so-called sticky buns literally from coast to coast. None of them could hold a candle to any that I had growing up. And of the sticky buns in Lancaster County, none could compare to the ones made by Melinda Fisher.

I was close friends with the Fisher boys growing up — John, Jake, and David — and was lucky enough to spend many nights at their house. Dan and Melinda grew up Amish, and although they no longer lived on a farm, they still breakfasted like farmers. So breakfast at their house was always a treat. But never more so than when Melinda made sticky buns.

I’m not sure what made her sticky buns so much better than all others. Dan raised bees, so she naturally used honey in her recipe. But it was more than that. And I wish I had her recipe. They were, as the Dutch would say, am beschde (the best).

So, when Dorie claims that Nancy Silverton’s recipe is the ne plus ultra of sticky buns, she has a high bar to clear in my book. This, then, is a battle of superlatives: the ne plus ultra versus am beschde. And as much as I love Melinda’s sticky buns, I was pulling for Nancy’s recipe to come out on top. After all, I have her recipe available to me in my copy of Baking with Julia.

Nancy Silverton’s sticky buns recipe begins with a batch of her brioche dough. I made the dough the day before baking the sticky buns, and because it is a completely separate recipe, I gave it its own blog post.

The first step in making the sticky buns (once you’ve made your brioche dough) is laminating the dough. No, this doesn’t mean putting through a machine to encase it in plastic. In this context, laminating refers to folding (or turning) layers of butter into the dough. To do this, I divided the dough in half, and rolled one piece out to a large rectangle. Then I spread softened butter over the dough.

When I made the brioche dough, I found it much easier to work with the butter if I spread it with an offset spatula. So even though the sticky buns recipe said to dot the dough with butter, I used my spatula to spread it evenly over the entire surface of the dough. I folded the dough in thirds. letter-style, then rolled it out to roughly the same size it had been before. I folded the dough again, then wrapped it and put it in the fridge while I worked with the other half.

When the dough was chilled, I rolled one piece out again, then brushed it with an egg wash and sprinkled it with cinnamon-sugar and chopped pecans. The recipe said to roll the pecans and sugar mixture into the dough with a rolling pin, which just sounded like a mess waiting to happen. So I covered the dough with wax paper before rolling it. That kept my rolling pin clean and ready for the other half of the dough.

I rolled the dough into a tight log, which I then wrapped in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for about an hour.

This recipe makes 14 sticky buns, but as there are only four of us, I decided I didn’t want to make all the buns at once. After the initial chill, I double-wrapped one log and put it in the freezer for another day.

One of the unique things about sticky buns is that they are baked upside down and inverted onto a plate as soon as they come out of the oven. The “sticky” is a caramel sauce in the bottom of the pan that, when inverted, covers the tops of the buns and oozes down the sides, covering the entire sticky bun with ooey-gooey goodness.

Most recipes for sticky buns that I’ve seen use a caramel sauce that is cooked and then poured into the bottom of the pan. This recipe, however, makes the caramel sauce directly in the pan while the buns are baking. To do this, you use your fingers to smear a stick of butter on the bottom of the pan (at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I found this much easier to do with an offset spatula).

Then you top the butter with brown sugar.

In my final major departure from the recipe, I arranged pecans on top of the brown sugar. The recipe says to press the pecans into the top of the buns, then try to hold them in place while you invert the buns into the pan. Why not just put the pecans in the pan to begin with?

To form the buns, I cut the dough into even-sized pieces (yes, I measured them).

I flattened each roll slightly, then arranged them in the pan.

Looking at the formed rolls, I saw the results of laminating the dough.

I set the rolls aside to rise, which I knew would take a few hours, as the dough was still quite cold. After about two hours, the rolls had risen and were touching, so it was time to bake them.

I baked the sticky buns at 350°F for about 40 minutes, until they were well-risen and golden brown.

As soon as they came out of the oven, I inverted the sticky buns onto a plate.

They were beautifully layered, and the caramel flowed over and around them as if on cue. I waited for the buns to cool a bit (no sense scorching myself with hot caramel after all that work), then dug into them.

The sticky buns were rich, buttery, and pull-apart flaky. The caramel was sweet and creamy, and the pecans gave the buns a nice crunch. As far as the flavor goes, both the buns and caramel were a bit flat and tasted like they needed some salt. And the buns overall were just so-so. Better than many I have eaten around the country. But not as good as the ones I used to get in PA. And nothing like Melinda Fisher’s.

I had such high hopes for these sticky buns, especially since they used an insane amount of butter and were two days in the making. Unfortunately, they didn’t live up to the hype. And while I will continue to search for a sticky buns recipe that can live up to the ones made by Melinda Fisher, I definitely won’t be making this recipe again.

Brioche {BWJ}

Our next Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Pecan Sticky Buns, which is due to be posted May 15, 2012. The first “ingredient” listed in the recipe is one batch of brioche dough. Since the brioche is a separate recipe and is used as a base for various other recipes in Baking with Julia, I decided it deserved its own post.

Brioche dough is loaded with butter and eggs, so you know whatever you make with it is going to be good. Brioche is known for its richness and fine texture. It can be tricky to work with, and it is definitely best made using a heavy-duty stand mixer.

Now, I’m no stranger to brioche. I made three versions of it during the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge. Bubble-top brioche was one of the first recipes I made from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (AMFT). And Nick Malgieri has a quick and easy brioche recipe in The Modern Baker, which I used to make a quick brioche braid and marbled chocolate brioche loaf.

The recipe in BWJ was contributed by Nancy Silverton and begins with a sponge. Milk, yeast, one egg, and a bit of flour are mixed just until the flour is blended in.

More flour is sprinkled on top, and the sponge is allowed to rest until the yeast begins working. You know it’s ready when the flour starts to crack.

Once the sponge was ready, I added sugar, salt (not enough, in my opinion; next time I’ll increase the salt by about half), and more eggs and flour. I mixed the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook for about 15 minutes, until I had a shaggy dough that clung to the dough hook and slapped against the side of the bowl.

The next step called for incorporating lots of butter into the dough. In order to do this, the directions said the butter should be roughly the same texture and consistency as the dough. The recipe recommended beating the butter with a rolling pin or smearing it on the work surface with a dough scraper. I decided to use the smear method, but I found the dough scraper awkward to work with. I had much better luck with an offset spatula.

I incorporated the butter a bit at a time. Thanks to the instructions, I didn’t worry when the dough separated, as I knew with continued mixing it would come back together. Once all the butter had been added, I continued to mix the dough for about 5 more minutes. The dough was soft, sticky, and warm from all the mixing. I put it into a large buttered bowl and set it aside to rise.

After about 2 hours, the dough had doubled in size.

I deflated the dough and put it in the fridge for its second rise.

After an overnight rest in the refrigerator, the dough was ready to be made into sticky buns. Check out the sticky buns post to see how they came out.

As for the brioche dough itself, I would have to say it was my least favorite of all the variations I’ve tried. It was extremely labor intensive, and the final product didn’t have a payoff in line with the amount of work involved. I suspect Dorie wouldn’t be too surprised to hear this. After all, she developed a much easier and more straightforward recipe for brioche for AMFT.

Buttermilk Cottage Dill Bread {Recipe} {BOM}

Cottage dill bread has always been a favorite of mine, and I recently came up with a new recipe that adds buttermilk, replaces the dill seed found in many recipes with fresh dill, and adds whole wheat flour for flavor, texture, and nutrition. I made it last weekend and was really pleased with the results. It’s delicious fresh from the oven, and I think it would make great croutons for stuffing, too.

I began by heating buttermilk, cottage cheese, and butter.

Once the butter had melted, I mixed in onion, dill, and sugar.

I stirred the dry ingredients together in the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer, then added the cottage cheese mixture. This makes a very slack, sticky dough. I put the dough in a well-oiled bowl to rise.

The dough more than doubled in size in an hour.

I deflated the dough, shaped it, and put it in buttered loaf pans for a final rise.

After half an hour, the loaves were ready to bake.

A little melted butter brushed on the loaves after they came out of the oven left them soft and shiny.

I let the loaves cool for a bit, then sliced into them. The crumb was soft and fragrant, and the bread was delicious, tasting of dill and onion, and with a slight tang from the buttermilk and cottage cheese. This bread will be making frequent appearances in my house from now on.

Buttermilk Cottage Dill Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

Directions

  1. Heat the buttermilk, cottage cheese, and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan until butter is just melted. Stir in the dill, onion, and sugar.
  2. Stir together salt, baking soda, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and yeast in bowl of electric mixer. Add cottage cheese mixture and mix on low speed with paddle attachment to form soft dough, about 1 minute.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl, then switch to dough hook and mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape bowl once or twice while mixing. The dough will be very sticky.
  4. Using a flexible bench scraper, scrape the dough into a bowl greased with vegetable oil or cooking spray and turn to oil top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  5. Grease 2 loaf pans with about 1 tablespoon butter each. Deflate the dough, divide into 2 pieces, and shape loaves. Place dough in pans, cover, and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350˚F.
  6. Bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is a deep golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  7. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Immediately after removing loaves from oven, brush tops with melted butter.
  8. Cool loaves in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Makes 2 loaves.

This recipe is the November BOM (bread-of-the-month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls {BOM}

It’s October, so naturally the BOM (bread-of-the-month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group would be something featuring pumpkin. However, unlike the very pumpkiny Pumpkin Gingerbread we made a few years ago at this time, the pumpkin in these dinner rolls is there more for texture and color than flavor. In fact, several of the bakers reported not tasting any pumpkin in the rolls at all. My friend Kayte, avowed pumpkin hater, made these rolls and loved them.

I found the recipe here. I made a few changes to the recipe. I used my yeast conversion chart to convert the active dry yeast called for in the recipe to instant yeast and ended up cutting back the amount of yeast in the recipe, as it seemed like way too much to me. I substituted bread flour for the flour. And I reworked the mixing instructions to make the dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Makes 24 rolls (Adapted from Peter Reinhart)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

Directions

  • Stir together flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in electric mixer bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low with paddle attachment until well mixed, approximately 1 minute.
  • Switch to dough hook and knead on low speed for 5 minutes, adding flour or water, as necessary, to achieve a smooth, elastic dough that is tacky, but not sticky.
  • Place dough in large oiled bowl and turn dough to oil top. Cover bowl with a clean, lint-free towel and allow dough to rise in warm place until doubled, approximately 1 1/2 hours.

  • Turn dough out onto lightly floured board or Silpat. Divide dough in half, then divide each half into 12 pieces.

  • Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough under your palms into a rope approximately 10-12 inches long.

  • “Tie” the dough rope into a knot. (For detailed shaping instructions, click here.)

  • Place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Cover pan and let rolls rise until nearly doubled, approximately 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Just before baking, brush the rolls with egg wash (1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt).
  • Bake the rolls for about 16-18 minutes, or until golden and baked through.

  • Serve hot from the oven, plain or with butter, honey butter, or pumpkin butter.

These rolls were absolutely delicious — softy, yeasty, and as good as any dinner roll I’ve ever eaten. I baked one pan on the day I made the dough and refrigerated the other pan for a few days before baking. Both batches came out great.

These rolls will be appearing on my table for Thanksgiving this year and for many years to come. Give them a try; I’d be willing to bet they’ll be on your Thanksgiving table, too.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-apart Bread {Recipe} {BOM}

The July BOM (bread of the month) for the Facebook Artisan Bread Bakers group came to us from Tracey at Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. She made this cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread (click the link for the recipe) a few weeks ago, and as soon as I saw the recipe, I knew I wanted to make it. Apparently, so did a lot of other people, as this has been one of the more popular BOMs in recent months.

I mixed the dough according to Tracey’s instructions, with two small changes. First, her recipe calls for 2 3/4 cups flour, but she notes that she has always had to add an additional 1/4 cup flour while mixing the dough. So I decided to go ahead and start with 3 cups flour, which worked perfectly.

The other change I made was to use one jumbo egg, rather than two large eggs, only because I only had one egg and it happened to be jumbo. This didn’t seem to impact the dough at all.

After bulk fermenting the dough, I rolled it out to a 12 x 20-inch rectangle.

I brushed the dough with browned butter, then covered it with a perverse amount of cinnamon sugar.

I cut the dough into six strips, stacked them, and cut them again into six pieces.

I gathered the pieces and put them in a 9×5-inch baking pan.

One issue I had while assembling the loaf was that the cinnamon sugar fell off the strips of dough as I picked them up to stack them. I put some of the sugar back on the dough, but still ended up with this on my pastry mat when I was done.

Not wanting to waste all that sugary goodness, I gathered up the cinnamon sugar and put it on top of the loaf in the pan.

After setting the dough aside for a second rise, I baked it according to the recipe. It smelled like monkey bread or a cinnamon-swirl loaf while it baked and brought the family from all over the house to see what was baking.

I let the loaf cool in the pan for 20 minutes, but by the time it hit the platter, there was no holding back.

This bread was gooey, messy, and delicious. It was especially good with a little honey butter glopped between the layers. It was like a grown-up version of monkey bread. Although the kids loved it, too.

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