It was Thanksgiving day. We’d made a list, we’d checked it twice. We had our mis en place. We were rockin’ and getting ready for company. Around the time we were sliding the turkey in the oven Beth said, “We might be rockin’ but we aren’t rolling – you haven’t baked any bread. We don’t even have any rolls!” She was right. And we had some fans of Mike’s Bread coming over for Thanksgiving.
Anyone who has attended my baking classes or has visited sourdoughhome.com has heard me comment that “haste is the enemy of good bread”. Probably often. However, now we were down to the wire and SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE!” There weren’t any stores open in the area so buying some brown’n’serve rolls was not an option, even if we were willing to do that – we just don’t roll like that! And then, I remembered books and articles I’d read and well, sometimes, things just flow together.
James Beard has a delightful recipe for Parker House Rolls in his “Beard On Bread”. However, I didn’t want to make something as time consuming as Parker House Rolls. But that recipe makes wonderful rolls and I did remember a quick way to make cloverleaf rolls.
I grabbed “Beard on Bread” off my bookshelf, and started on a roll. These rolls are quick to make, especially of you use a mixer. Just a few minutes of interaction here and there. Despite being quick rolls, they are delicious rolls, better than you’ll find in most fancy restaurants. However, being a relatively fast bread, they will stale quickly so eat them or freeze them quickly.
I started by mixing a sponge:
|1/2 Cup||Warm Water||120 Grams||25%|
|2 Cups||Warm Whole Milk||480 Grams||100%|
|1/2 Stick||Butter||65 Grams||14%|
|2 TBSP||Instant Dry Yeast||19 Grams||4%|
|1 TBSP||Sugar||18 Grams||3.8*%|
|2 tsp||Salt||9 Grams||2%|
|3 Cups||All-purpose Flour||480 Grams||100%|
I made sure that all the liquids were warm but under 100F(32C), added the solid ingredients, mixed until smooth, covered the bowl with a beautician’s processing cap and allowed the sponge to stand until it more or less doubled. In about an hour it was nice and foamy. Making a sponge really helps revitalize the yeast and develops the flavors of any bread – a straight dough just can’t compete!
While you can use low fat milk, skimmed milk margarine, soy milk or whole wheat flour, if you do that please don’t tell me they didn’t turn out well. Butter, whole milk and white flour give the best results for these rolls. Since I usually make these rolls for Thanksgiving day, I figure my guests can work off the excess calories shopping on Black Friday.
Once the sponge has doubled, add:
|3 Cups||All-purpose Flour||480 Grams||100%|
Mix this in, then knead until the dough is nicely developed, smooth and very lively. This will be a soft dough. If you have trouble with wet dough, you might use a stand mixer for this, or use a dough knife to help you knead the dough.
I covered the dough and allowed it to rise again, probably another hour or so.
When the dough had risen, I folded it down and cut it into 27 pieces for two ounce rolls. If I’d wanted to make one ounce rolls, I’d have cut it into 54 pieces. Next, I rolled the pieces into balls, and put each ball into a cupcake or muffin tin.
Next, I brushed the tops with melted butter. In the picture, I used a cheap natural bristle brush from the local hardware store. We had a smaller one, but we couldn’t find it and it was time to butter the rolls.
Next, I used a clean pair of kitchen shears I’d dipped in melted butter to cut each ball into 4 pieces. This is BY FAR the fastest way to make cloverleaf rolls. Of course, they are four leaf clovers, so these must be lucky rolls!
Next, I covered the rolls again, and allowed them to rise.
As they rose, I preheated the oven to about 375F.(190C) Once they were risen and the oven was ready, I baked the rolls for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on them if you make smaller rolls – the smaller ones will bake faster!
If you like browner rolls you might kick up the temperature to 400 or 425F (205 or 220C). My guests are more interested in classic American golden rolls than a more European color.
Once they are baked, serve them quickly! Since breads made quickly and breads with lots of surface area tend to stale quickly, these rolls have two strikes against them from the get go. They are great with with jam or ham, honey or gravy, or whatever you want to have these with – even Turkey and gravy!
They’ll pull apart easily and you and your guests will be delighted!
I’ve already been asked of you can make these with sourdough. Yes, but they won’t be as fast and they won’t be the same rolls – these rolls are pretty wonderful the way they are!
– Beth and Mike
© By Mike Avery, 2010, All Rights Reserved