From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This recipe comes close to producing a perfect hard roll. When freshly made, they have crusts that shatter when you bite into them and their interiors are pillowy soft. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, this recipe defines simplicity. All the ingredients get thrown into a bowl and the contents are beaten until everything is mixed and a dough is formed. The dough goes into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before it is shaped and left to rise again. That's it. The original recipe came from King Arthur Flour and I found it on a food board whose name I no longer remember. The slow rise in the refrigerator actually improves the flavor of the rolls, so don't be tempted to cut it short. The dough can be kept for up to five days before it begins to sour. This recipe calls for instant yeast which is slightly more potent than active dry yeast. A discussion of the two types of yeast can be found here. You can substitute one for the other if you wish. Like all breads of this type, the rolls are best eaten the day they are made. They lose their crackle if they sit over night and stale very quickly. The stale rolls do, however, make wonderful stuffing for pork chops or a small chicken, and when the rolls are fresh from the oven, they make a perfect accompaniment for soup. I hope you'll give them a try. Here's the recipe.
Quick and Crusty Hard Rolls...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of King Arthur Flour
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1) Combine all of the ingredients and mix till cohesive. Knead dough, by hand or mixer, about 5 to 10 minutes, till it's soft and somewhat smooth; it should be cohesive, but surface should still be a bit rough. Place kneaded dough in a greased bowl, cover it, and refrigerate at least overnight, or for up to 5 days.
2) Remove dough from refrigerator, fold it over gently a few times, and cut off desired amount; you'll need golf-ball size pieces for dinner-size rolls and egg size pieces for sandwich buns. Return any remaining dough to refrigerator.
3) Form rolls by shaping the pieces into balls, then rolling them under your lightly cupped fingers on an unfloured work surface. Place shaped rolls onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, cover, and let them rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until they're very puffy.
4) Bake rolls in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 to 18 minutes, till they're golden brown. Yield: 9 sandwich buns or 18 dinner rolls.
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