Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shamrocks AKA Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I know. I know. It's a stretch, but I needed a batch of bake once-serve twice rolls that could be served for dinner on St. Patrick's Day as well as Easter Sunday. While doing research for an earlier post on Edna Lewis, I came across the recipe she used to make old-fashioned cloverleaf rolls. The recipe belonged to her mother and I knew immediately that I wanted to try it. The rolls shown in the photograph above were made using her recipe, and, while I'm sharing it with you today, I'm also going to direct you to an easier version that was developed by her partner, Scott Peacock. You can find his recipe here, and if you'd like to see a video of the rolls being made you might want to view this link. I'm suggesting an alternate recipe because Edna's rolls, which use a starter that must sit for a day before using, are made with a sticky dough that is difficult to work with. Scott's version is quite straight forward and much easier to handle. Both recipes are similar in taste, though the use of a potato starter and lard put hers a notch above his in terms of flavor. If you are an experienced hand at bread baking, or are a patient beginner, use her recipe. If you want something that's easy to execute, use his. Both recipes tend to produce sticky doughs but the amount of extra flour you will need is easier to control in Scott's version. Under the best of circumstances, the dough in both recipes will remain tacky, so don't be alarmed. As long as the dough doesn't stick to your fingers you'll be fine. The good news is that these rolls require no kneading, and once they are baked they freeze beautifully. Those of you who try these will be happy campers. Here is Edna's recipe.

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Edna Lewis and Food and Wine Magazine

1 medium baking potato ( 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
3 cups water
5-1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 cup milk, scalded and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 tablespoons lard or solid vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon salt


1) In a medium saucepan, cover potato with water and bring to a boil. Cook until potato is just beginning to fall apart, about 15 minutes. Drain potato, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Pass potato through a ricer into a large bowl. Add reserved potato water and let cool slightly. Stir in 6 tablespoons of flour, sugar and yeast. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and let stand overnight in a draft-free place.
2) Uncover starter; it should be foamy and have a slightly fermented aroma. Add milk, eggs and 2-1/2 cups of flour and stir until incorporated. Stir in 1 tablespoon of butter, 2 tablespoons of lard and salt. Add remaining 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, and stir vigorously to form a silky, slightly soft dough that pulls away from the bowl as you stir, about 8 minutes. It will still be tacky but will not stick to your hands.
3) Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.
4) Gently deflate dough by turning it in bowl several times. Cover bowl and let dough rise again until doubled, about 40 minutes.
5) In a small bowl, combine remaining 6 tablespoons of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of melted lard. Punch down dough and divide it into 5 equal pieces. Cut 1 piece of dough into 18 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball; dip balls in melted butter and lard and place 3 balls in each cup of a muffin pan. Continue to form rolls, working with 1 large piece of dough at a time. Brush tops of the rolls with the butter and lard and set aside in a draft-free spot until risen just beyond the rims of the muffin cups, about 1 1/2 hours.
6) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake rolls in the lower and middle thirds of oven for 15 minutes. Remove rolls from oven and brush liberally with butter and lard. Return rolls to the oven and bake for 5 to 6 minutes longer, or until golden all over. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen cloverleaf rolls.

Cook's Note: To make ahead, prepare dough through step 4. Gently punch down and refrigerate, covered, overnight. Bring to room temperature and proceed with recipe.

One Year Ago Today: A Collection of Irish Recipes for St. Patrick's Day

Two Years Ago Today: Frozen Lemon Yogurt


Ellen Whyte said...

How pretty! And lovely to eat too, I bet.

Jeannie said...

I agreed, really pretty and who could resist eating these?

Aldy said...

How cute, Mary! They look deliciously tasty :) Have to try this wonderful dinner rolls. Have a lovely week ahead!


Lynn said...

I've always wanted to make these rolls, now I'm going to! Thanks:@)

Kim said...

These bread are sooooo cute! i want to prepare these, with the starter and the lard... I have to find some lard!

lena said...

they are gorgeous little rolls, i hope to try these out one day!

SImple and Serene Living said...

Yum!! I love homemade rolls. My great aunt made the most delicious rolls. I miss her and her rolls. She always used lard and I think the best tasting rolls have lard in them. I know lard isn't the healthiest thing to eat, but I consider delicious homemade rolls to be a special treat to be enjoyed on holidays, so I say go for it.

Unknown said...

Those look amazing, Mary! I could not resist them, for sure.. especially warm with a slab of butter on it!!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Love these! I had fun making a similar recipe last year, and really liked how forgiving the dough was.

Rita said...

I just have to pin this; they are perfection! thank you for the links, I am still trying to master the art of shaping rolls.

Claudia said...

Don't think it's a stretch at all - and they look melt-in-your-mouth tender. Love that you are featuring some of Scott Peacock's recipes.

Elizabeth said...

There are never enough different kinds of bread!

David said...

Mary, Great looking rolls...bet they taste great too! We generally don't bake because we love baked goods too much... Love fresh rolls and breads. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Barbara said...

I've been making cloverleaf rolls for years...not only are they delicious, but they freeze a dream. I've never added a potato in mine though...will try your recipe next time.

From the Kitchen said...

I'd certainly like to have some of those lovely rolls in the freezer! It has been a long time since I've worked with yeast breads now that we are in the heart of first class bakeries. There is something soothing about kneading and baking, not to mention the delicious aroma that fills the house!!

Thought about your young self roller skating when we were at the U. of C. on Sunday for the annual Gilbert and Sullivan!


Epicurea said...

am really enjoying all these irish-themed recipes! such cute shamrocks.

Emily Malloy said...

What darling little rolls! :)

Unknown said...

Dear Mary it's have been such a pleasure you visited my blog and appreciated it! thank you so much. Yours is gorgeous, I take my time to read as much as I can about your posts. ... delicious. Have a nice evening! mony

Ginny Hartzler said...

I have such wonderful and aromatic memories when I think of cloverleaf rolls! My grandmother used to make them all the time. Although she did not use a potato. That does make them more Irish, though!!

annie@mostlovelythings said...

I love the look of these rolls and I'm sure they are as delicious as they are pretty!

A Paixão da Isa said...

é um grande prazer vir aqui pois tem sempre coisas muito boas adorei eles estao 5* parabens beijinhos e tudo de bom

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

Such a great idea!

Anna said...

My mother makes clover leaf dinner rolls for every special holiday. Close to my heart!!

The Harried Cook said...

These are really pretty! And I am sure they are really delicious too... I always appreciate good bread recipes! thanks for sharing :)

Joanne said...

Mm these dinner rolls are always a huge hit! They look so fluffy!

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