Monday, June 8, 2009
Buttermilk Cluster with Blue Poppy Seeds and Blue Ribbons for Blue Monday
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It was one of those calls you wish could be frozen in time. The words aren't as important as the excitement they engender. Our oldest grandson, heading to middle school next year, had just received a President's Award at his graduation ceremony. He's not yet old enough to be cool, so you could hear the excitement in his voice as he talked. I swear I could hear him smile and it didn't take much imagination to picture the crooked grin on his face as we were speaking. Next came his brother who dutifully reported his "boring" grades. I was thrilled, not by the grades, but by the measured and balanced way in which these two special guys have achieved their personal best. It was a blue ribbon day for the boys and their parents. Kudos and kisses for all. You get to stay in the will.
The developer of this buttermilk cluster also deserves a blue ribbon. Excellence should be recognized in all pursuits and this recipe is a winner. It's a great place to start our buttermilk bonanza - the bonanza being a series of recipes that will expose you to more buttermilk than you ever dreamed existed. If you are looking for a soft and delicious roll for large gatherings, this recipe has your name on it. The rolls are easy to make and when served warm from the oven they'll enhance your reputation as a cook and hostess. The recipe is one of the many standouts from the book Country Breads of the World. The only alteration I've made was to increase amount of buttermilk and honey called for in the original recipe. I also used blue poppy seeds as the topping for my rolls. Yes, these seeds do come from the opium poppy, but - and it is a big but - the seeds that are bought and sold come from mature capsules that no longer contain narcotic substance. Only unripe seed capsules contain the milky substance from which opium is extracted. Having said that, do not eat foods that contain or are sprinkled with poppy seeds before taking a drug test. False positive results have been reported and there's no reason to beg trouble that can be avoided. The blue poppy seeds used in baking are minuscule kidney shaped gems that impart a sweet nutty flavor to breads, cakes and pastries. They are very popular in European cooking and, while their primary use is for baking, the seeds can also be crushed to extract their flavorful oil. If poppy seeds put you off, use sesame seeds or serve the cluster without a topping. Here's the recipe for truly outstanding dinner rolls; they're just waiting for you to pull them apart.
Buttermilk Cluster with Blue Poppy Seeds...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 tablespoons salt
2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
2 cups warm buttermilk
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 to 2 tablespoons seeds (poppy, sesame) or grains (cracked wheat, wheat bran, rolled oats)
1) Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Combine warm water and yeast in a small cup and allow to proof for 10 minutes.
2) Pour yeast, buttermilk, and honey into flour mixture and mix well. If dough is so dry that some of flour won’t stick, add a bit more buttermilk or water. If the dough is too sticky to knead, more like a batter, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until correct consistency is achieved.
3) Knead by machine or hand for approximately 10 minutes. Return dough to bowl, cover, and set aside to rise until dough has doubled in size, approximately 90 minutes.
4) Divide dough into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a neat ball and place in a 12-inch round dish or a 12-inch spring-form pan close together. Cover again with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set aside to rise again for 45 minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
5) Uncover rolls and brush gently with egg wash. Sprinkle with seeds or grains, if using. Bake for 30 minutes, or until are firm and spring back when tapped. Transfer to a rack and cool for 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm if possible. Yield: 16 rolls.
Other Recipe Links
Buttermilk Cluster at The Fresh Loaf
Buttermilk Cluster at Toxo Bread
I'm send this to Smiling Sally for her Blue Monday event.