Sunday, April 15, 2012

Soft Roll DOH-No!!!

Knot & Parker House Rolls Using Soft Roll Dough

Say it with me now...DOH! It was bound to happen again...sooner rather than later, I manage to eff things up. Naturally, I didn't realize that I screwed up until the very possible end; the taste test. Since I did spend all afternoon embarking on my roll-tastic journey, I'll take you through it until the very, very, salty end.

The next two recipes in my text book were for Knot Rolls and Parker house rolls, both utilizing the same dough, just shaped differently. Being the adventurous sorta gal that I am, I opted to just try them both! I was so psyched to finally have graduated past the 3 ingredient bread phase and was  thrilled to finally be making something with eggs, milk and butter!!

Business as usual, I quartered the recipe. Here is where I screwed up, I neglected to quarter the salt Dum Dum Daaaahhhhhh. Essentially, I prepared the dough with 4 times the amount of salt necessary and allow me to say, that sucks! It sucks salty dough balls! Here is the recipe with the correct amount of all ingredients:

Bread Flour 1.25 lb
Instant Dry Yeast 8.75 g 
Milk, room temperature 10 fl oz
Butter, soft 2 oz
1 Egg, (I always allow my eggs to come to room temperature when baking)
Sugar 2 oz
Salt 0.5 oz (NOT 2 oz, as I used, I cannot possibly stress this enough)
Egg Wash (for knot rolls)
Clarified Butter (for parker house rolls)
I mixed the yeast and flour in one bowl and the butter, egg, milk, salt and sugar in the mixer's bowl fitted with the bread hook attachment. As I mentioned above, I let my egg come to room temperature along with the milk and butter, I think I learned this from my good buddy Alton Brown...

I added the flour/yeast mixture to the other ingredients and mixed on low for about 2 minutes, kicking the speed up to medium for another few minutes until I reached the improved stage of gluten development. I checked for this by taking a small piece of dough, dipping it in flour and stretching it to a thin membrane.

I transferred the dough to my rising bowl, sprayed with a touch of Pam, and loosely covered it with plastic wrap to bulk ferment for one hour.

Today, during what I like to call my ‘rising time’, I actually had some peace and quiet! My poor little son who has been battling chronic, back to back, ear infections finally decided that a nap was in his best interest, so some rare quiet time was nice! While my dough was rising, I was able to take my time folding some laundry, something I had come to take for granted. Typically I have my son in the laundry room with me, and quietly folding towels takes a back seat to keeping him out of the laundry room cabinets while I hastily wad up the clean laundry.
As the dough was rising, and I was folding, I was thinking how nice some homemade rolls would have been during last weekend’s Easter meal. I decided that, from now on, I would make them my go-to rolls for any upcoming holiday (made correctly of course).

Once the laundry was folded and another load started (WHEN DOES IT END?!) I gathered up my tools for the next phase. I've come to love these silicone mats that I found at Aldi a few years back, they make for a much easier counter cleanup!

Once the dough had risen, I gave it a nice fold and divided it into two one pound hunks-o-dough (and one little, leftover, hunk). I preshaped the dough into rounds (check out Lean Dough Take II for preshaping instructions). Once preshaped, I moved the rounds to my baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and covered with a towel for about 15 minutes to relax (the dough relaxes, I however had a short, little blond gentleman kindly requesting to be rescued from his crib).

Now for the fun part, time to commence roll making! The dough needed to be divided into 50 gram pieces. This sounds easier than it actually is, trying to get a consistent sized dough ball was a little tough, but the scale really helps! If you don't have a kitchen scale by now, do yourself a favor and pick one up! I think mine was about $15 or so and I've certainly gotten a lot of use out of it!

Now that I have a lot of balls... it's time to shape them out! I decided to do half knot rolls and half parker house rolls.

Starting with the Knot Rolls, you'll need to work sequentially, shaping the first dough piece that you cut, so I worked from left to right. To make the knots, I began by flattening the dough with my fingertips, folding the top half to the middle of the dough, pressing lightly with my fingertips to seal, then folding in half again, sealing with the heal of my hand. Then I just simply rolled it out, Play-Do style, until I had a 6 inch long rope.

Once rolled, all there is to do is tie the dough in a knot and pinch the ends together. This was a little easier said than done, and I found that I needed to roll the dough into slightly longer ropes to accomplish this feat. Trust me, I got better at this as I went along!

Once knotted, it was time to egg wash. Just one egg and a little water, beaten together and brushed on.

The knot rolls then just needed to rest & proof, covered (they've had a long day) for about 30 minutes, hit 'em again with the egg wash, before going into a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown and shiny.

Now onto the Parker House Rolls. The instructions seemed simple enough. I started out by re-rounding the dough pieces and letting them rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Rest was a much needed thing at this point, as I'd allowed my son to have free range in the kitchen...needless to say, we were in desperate need of some non-kitchen-play-time!

Once rested, I finally got to break out my new rolling pin, and rolled each piece of dough into an oval about 5 inches long. The dough was then folded in half (top comes down to the bottom), flipped over so that the fold was closest to me, then I rolled the bottom few inches of the folded dough with my rolling pin to create the Parker House Roll.

Now all there was to do was put the rolls onto a parchment lined baking sheet and brush on some clarified (basically, melt down some butter in a saute pan, and strain it through a mesh strainer with a piece of paper towel) butter.

Once bathed in butter (that just sounds amazing, doesn't it), the rolls need to proof for about 30 minutes. I did this by placing them in a slightly warm oven. Once proofed, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown and shiny, brush again with the butter as soon as they come out of the oven.

Once I had all of my rolls out of the oven and started tasting, my husband and I both proclaimed "these are REALLY salty". That prompted me to re-check my math, and I realized that I added WAY to much salt (as in 2 oz when I should have used 0.5 oz). The rolls were reminiscent of the dough creations some of us made as children with the water/salt/flour dough, painted and gave to our parents as an ashtray or paperweight.

Quite frankly, these would have made fantastic paperweights! Into the trash they went, and a hard lesson learned. Just like in carpentry, measure twice, cut once! In my case, check your math!

Disappointed, yes. Discouraged, no. I will make these again, correctly, the next time the occasion calls for a nice dinner roll and I encourage you to do the same! Impress your friends, your family, your mother-in-law, with a scratch made roll, rather than the roll-in-a-can or the par-baked rolls we've all grown accustomed to!

Tune in again soon for my next (fingers crossed) triumph in baking: Grissini!!

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