I am a glutton for bread. Seriously, it’s bad. I can practically make an entire meal out of it at times. These are chewy, artisan type rolls (not soft fluffy dinner rolls, which I also love) that pair perfectly with thick soup. Though they take a bit of time to make, a lot of it is waiting time that isn’t a big deal during a lazy Sunday. I happened to make these to go along with elk stew, which they complemented perfectly.
1½ cups plus 1 Tbsp. water, room temperature
2 tsp. honey
1½ tsp. instant yeast
3 cups bread flour, plus extra as needed
3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
1½ tsp. salt
1. Whisk water, honey, and yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer until well combined. Add flours and mix on low speed with a dough hook until a cohesive dough is formed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Sprinkle salt evenly over dough and knead on low speed for 5 minutes, scraping down bowl and hook as needed. Increase speed to medium and continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 minute. If dough is very sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove dough and lightly grease bowl. Return dough to bowl, turn to coat, and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Using a rubber spatula, gently lift an edge of the dough and fold it over itself toward the middle. Rotate bowl 90° and fold again. Repeat process twice more, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace plastic, and let dough rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes longer.
4. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Transfer dough to a floured surface and sprinkle top of dough with more flour. Using a bench scraper, cut dough in half and gently stretch each half into a 16-inch log. Cut each log into 8 pieces. Gently coat each piece in flour, shaking off excess. Arrange rolls in prepared pans, placing one in the center and seven spaced evenly around edges, with long side of each roll running from center of pan to edge and cut sides facing up. Loosely cover pans with lightly greased plastic and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
5. 30 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 500°. Spray rolls lightly with water, and bake until tops of rolls are brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, reducing temperature to 400°. Using oven mitts, invert hot rolls onto a baking sheet. When rolls are cool enough to handle, turn them right side up, pull apart, and space evenly on sheet. Continue to bake until rolls develop deep golden-brown crust, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer rolls to wire rack and let cool to room temperature before serving.
6. Wrapped with aluminum foil before placing in bag, rolls can be frozen for up to 1 month. To re-crisp crust, thaw rolls at room temperature and place them unwrapped in a 450° oven for 6-8 minutes.
(Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book)