Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just Pull!

I am officially on vacation (!) so I was thinking about having this be the "week of breakfasts." You know, I could sleep in, make decadent breakfasts, and then post the photos and recipes. But since I do have (alot of) spare time, I've decided to work on my baking skills. I still have a couple of packets of yeast leftover from those "simple, everyday" waffles, so I figured I might as well use them up and practice making doughs.

I found a straightforward recipe for pull-apart rolls and figured it was a good place to start. There are no rolling pins involved, no tricky shaping, and no overnight rising. You do have to allow them to rise twice, so take that into account in your planning, but you could actually make them in time for dinner...on a Saturday. The key is having a stand mixer. I don't think I'd try it without one.

I have to be honest. I never bake with yeast because of a disaster I once had. I think the yeast packet must have been expired because my dough didn't rise properly and the baked end product was tough. It went straight into the trash and I never tried it again. Until now. I'm newly inspired and think I can actually do this! Again! These rolls are freakin' good, especially straight from the oven. (Right, Chad?) They would be great for Thanksgiving (I'm thinking about reprising them - maybe with a little chopped fresh rosemary topped with flaked salt) or for your next dinner party. Everyone will be so impressed!

Parmesan Pull-Apart Rolls
(Adapted from Gourmet)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from a 1/4-ounce package)
1 teaspoon mild honey or sugar
2/3 cup warm milk (105–115°F), divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoon for sprinkling
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan (1 1/3 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
1 tablespoon water

1. Stir together the yeast, honey, and 1/3 cup warm milk in mixer bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.) Whisk together flour (2 1/2 cups), cheese, and salt, then mix into yeast mixture along with remaining 1/3 cup warm milk at low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, until a very soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is elastic, about 2 minutes. (Dough will be very sticky.)

2. Scrape dough into the center of the bowl and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

3. Punch down the dough (do not knead) and turn out onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Arrange the rolls about 1-inch apart in a buttered 9- by 2-inch round cake pan and cover with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Let the dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled and dough fills pan, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the middle. Whisk together the remaining egg with water and brush on tops of rolls. (You will have leftover egg wash.) Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Loosen the edges of the rolls from the pan with a sharp knife and invert the rolls onto a rack (or not - I just let them cool in the pan), then reinvert and cool at least 20 minutes. Makes 12 rolls.

Note: Rolls are best the day they're made but can be frozen (cool completely, then wrap well) 1 month. Thaw, then reheat on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven until warmed through, 5 to 10 minutes. Refresh day-old rolls the same way..


WendyB said...

When you said you had a disaster, I thought it was going to be some kind of explosion! I'm a little disappointed.

Jennifer said...

This is killing me today...Are you off this week. Do you want to go to the farmer's market?

Anonymous said...

wow these look great!

kate said...

I totally made these last Christmas.... so good and I love how they pull apart!