Monday, October 19, 2015

Basic Bread & Dinner Rolls

Pretty rolls

Basic Bread
Today was Day 1 of my four-day bread baking class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center. If you read my previous post, you'll know that this is my dream. I am living my dream this week in Norwich, Vermont, and I have to tell you, so far I am anything but disappointed. The class was fabulous today. Although I already have quite a bit of home yeast baking experience, I still learned a LOT today, and I made some of the yummiest bread ever to have touched my hands. I mean, the rolls from this recipe could easily win at the Iowa State Fair, and you can bet I'm taking home a bag of the Baker's Special Dry Milk we used in the recipe. The dry milk, along with the correct hand kneading I learned today, helped create rolls that were out of this world: chewy and brown on the outside, pillowy soft and tender on the inside. Oh my goodness. This new knowledge could be dangerous.
One of the cool things about King Arthur Flour is its commitment to social responsibility and taking care of all stakeholders in their business. All of the leftover baked goods from their cafe/bakery and baking classes get delivered to people who need food, so the loaf you see here, along with five of the rolls, and a stack of pita bread (not pictured) are in good homes tonight--not in my hotel room. 
I hate to cheese it up, but the more I get to know King Arthur Flour, the more I love it. If you've never tried their flour, now is the time. Do it.

Basic Bread & Dinner Rolls 
     --I looked for this recipe in the Recipes section of the King Arthur Flour Website, but I could not locate it. They have plenty of other great recipes there though. Check it out.

In a large bowl, place 2 cups of the flour along with the sugar, yeast, dry milk, and salt. Stir to combine dry ingredients and then break the butter up with your fingers and add to the dry ingredients. Pour in the water and with a spoon or bowl scraper (preferably), mix the water into the dry ingredients. You will have a soupy, lumpy mixture. 
Add another cup of flour and mix and chop in the flour. Add another cup of flour, and mix and chop it into the dough. At this point, add another half cup, mixing and chopping the flour in. Dough should be soft, but firm, and only a little sticky, or tacky. If the dough is still rather loose, keep adding flour, a small amount at a time, until it's soft, but firm, and only a little tacky (like I said earlier).
Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Knead dough by lifting the top up and folding it forward onto itself and press back gently with an open hand. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, and bounces back quickly when gently poked. 
Place dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise at room temperature for about an hour, or until puffy and nearly doubled.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
When dough is done rising, turn out onto a lightly floured surface, pat down to deflate, and cut in half. At this point you need to decide whether you'll be forming 2 loaves, 2 pans of rolls, or one of each. Use a standard loaf pan for the loaf, and a standard cake pan for the rolls.Spray your pans with nonstick cooking spray.
To form the loaf, press one of the dough halves into a relative rectangle shape. Shape into a log by folding the top down and sides in, in stages until you have a rather tightly rolled dough log. If you're not sure how to shape the loaf, check out this video.
To form the rolls, pull the edges of the dough half to the top/center of the dough and pinch to make a dough purse. Flatten into a disk shape and cut into eight equal portions. Take each portion of dough and shape it into a little dough purse. Form each dough purse into a smooth ball. I recommend watching the video in this post to see how to get a smooth ball. Place dough balls in the pan. 
For both, cover pans loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 30 minutes at room temperature. If you're making loaves, the dough should rise one inch above the pan's rim, if the rim is at eye-level. If you're making rolls, they will be touching each other once they've risen enough.
Bake for 25 to 40 minutes, or until outside is a deep golden brown.
Remove from oven and the remove from pans and place on a cooling rack. 
Serve rolls hot.
Allow loaf to cool before cutting.

Makes 2 loaves or 16 rolls

Dough with four cups of flour--pretty wet
Almost done kneading
Ready to rise. Just need some plastic wrap.
Some day I'll get them all the same size.

I was astounded at how feathery and fluffy these were on the inside.
I picked up some Boar's Head Blackened Turkey at Dan and Whit's to go with my rolls. Mmm. Good call.
KAF seemed to say things so much more concisely than I just did.

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