work in progress: salted thyme rolls

April 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

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After unhappy results from my making dough experience I thought, maybe I should just toss the post and the images and write something new. But then I thought, all of the creative thinking, photo taking and baking still took place and I learned a few things that seemed worth sharing, and so begins the “work in progress” section of the blog. When blunders arise I will still post my thought process and where I think the recipe went wrong in the hopes that I can revisit it with new insights at a later date.

The mission this week: can pizza dough become the perfect roll? I was inspired when I discovered this dough recipe in the April issue of Food and Wine Magazine. The issue focused on Italian food and wine and talked about a bunch of recipes that I now have tabbed and am waiting to try. The cover story was on Mario Batali. He’s not my favorite chef, I’m not even sure I have made a recipe of his before. I’m not sure his ingredient choices typically appeal to my tastes. However, his pizza dough recipe for calzones sounded amazing. The dough had honey and wine in it! It was my inspiration for a roll, which I was hoping would be sweet with a salty twist.

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I love the idea of making bread; I rarely do it though. I’m usually not thinking about dinner at lunchtime and find that our bakery down the road has some of the tastiest classic bread loaves. But this dough seemed a little more manageable because it only needed to rise for an hour and a half. I could do this! The hardest part of the whole recipe is the kneading, and yes it’s a bit of a workout. But a fresh roll is worth it right?

While the flavor of the bread was there, the consistency of the bread was too dense, which I have found is usually the case when I make dough. I’m still not sure where I went wrong, the dough had a lovely wine smell and it rose very nicely. Can you over roll dough when shaping? I’m thinking maybe I should have pulled the dough apart and left it as a messy square shape. Also, I was working with whole wheat flour which I know is a heavier flour to work with. I might need to abandon whole wheat flour in my dough until I get it right and then try to incorporate it back in. Or maybe I need to head to Paris for some bread making classes and see if that solves this dough issue! I need to do some more research before I attack bread again. Until then, suggestions are always welcome.

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Recipe inspired by Food and Wine Magazine
Makes 16 mini rolls

1/4 cup white wine (I used chardonnay)
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 envelope of active dry yeast (or about 1 tablespoon)
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon thyme, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra for bowl and tops of rolls
3 cups whole wheat flour, plus a little extra for sprinkling
freshly ground sea salt

Lightly brush olive oil all along the edges and bottom of a large bowl, set aside.

In another large bowl, combine the wine, water, honey and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy. Then add the pinch of salt, thyme and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in 1 cup of flour until combined and then the remaining 2 cups. At this point you might have to use your hands to combine, as the consistency will be overly dry. Dust some flour on a flat counter and roll the dough around until it’s completely covered. (I like to add a little flour to my hands as well to prevent any sticking). Knead the dough with your palms until the dough becomes smooth, for at least five minutes. (It will begin to look smooth after 3 minutes but hold out, it becomes much smoother after 5.)

Place the dough in the oiled bowl and swirl around a couple times to completely oil up all the sides. Cover with plastic. Place the bowl in a warm place and wait until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Dust a little flour on your counter and split the dough into 16 individual pieces. Lightly roll each ball with the palm of your hand until a perfect circle forms. Place each roll on a greased baking sheet. Take kitchen scissors or a sharp pairing knife and cut an “x” on the top of each roll. Brush each top with a touch more olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of freshly grinded sea salt and a little more thyme.

Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. (The color won’t be very dark with whole wheat dough).

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