Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cloverleaf Rolls

Thanksgiving approaches, that greatest of all cooking and baking holidays, so I thought I’d make this month’s update relevant to this, my favorite of holidays.

With all the food that Thanksgiving entails—turkey, dressing, gravy, veggies, salads, desserts, etc, it’s easy for things like bread to become an afterthought.  To help manage a busy kitchen, frozen or canned rolls or biscuits are often pressed into service to simplify matters.  Baking fresh bread for the holidays just seems so time consuming in an already time-crunched day.  Well, it shouldn’t, ‘cause there’s nothing that puts an accent on your majestic meal like fresh-baked bread.  It fills the house with a savory, mouth-watering scent, it warms to the touch, and, slathered with creamy melted butter, the taste is out of this world. 

So this year, why not take a little extra time (and with this recipe, a little is all you’ll need) and wow ‘em with these wonderful and easy-to-make Cloverleaf Rolls.   Because even though adding fresh-baked bread to your Thanksgiving table can seem time consuming, mainly because of the hours between start to finish, the actual hands-on time is slight (most of the time is allowing the dough to rise), so you can work the prep into your cooking schedule quite easily. 

Cloverleaf Rolls

3 Cups Bread Flour
1 Cup + 1 Ounce Warm Water
1 Tablespoon (or one packet) Active Dry Yeast
1 Large Egg
3 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon Melted Butter
3 Tablespoons Powdered Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt

Add the flour, powdered milk, salt and sugar to mixing bowl and give a few stirs to incorporate.  Add your dry yeast to the cup of warm water and let sit for a few minutes for the yeast to start working.  Then add the yeast water mixture, egg and 3 tablespoons of the melted butter to the flour mixture and mix, preferably in a mixer with a dough hook, until all is incorporated into a cohesive dough ball.  If necessary, use the extra ounce of water, adding it a little at a time to the mixture if there is not enough moisture to moisten the dough properly.  Only add this if necessary, you don’t want the dough to be too should have some firmness to it. 

Once the dough ball is incorporated, continue to run the mixer on setting 2 for about seven minutes, moderately developing the glutens in the dough. 

Next, place the dough in an oiled container, cover, and let sit for one and a half hours to rise. 

At this time, you’re ready to make the rolls.  Divide off a piece of dough of about 20 grams and roll it into a ball.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale, the amount of dough you need should be enough to make about a 1 inch ball.  

Make two more balls, then place the three into the greased cup of a muffin tin.  

Repeat the process until you’ve used up all your dough. 

This recipe should make about 18 rolls.  Doubling it will give you enough dough to fill three 12-cup muffin tins, just about perfect for a grand holiday gathering. 

Let the unbaked rolls rise again in the muffin tins for at least an hour and a half, but preferably three hours or so.  The longer you go, the better rise you will get, and more flavor with develop.  

After the rise, brush the rolls with melted butter, then bake in a 400F oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and, if desired, brush with additional butter.  Serve immediately. 

These rolls are best served hot (with lots of softened butter, of course!), so I usually don’t bake them until right before I’m serving my holiday dinner.  But they bake fast, and can be turned out into a bread basket quickly, so this is never a problem.  I use the convection setting on my oven, which bakes them even faster, usually in around 10 minutes at 350F (Convection Bake)

Until next time,

Bake some bread!