Rustic Dinner Rolls

It has been two years since I made these crusty dinner rolls. There are one of only a few of Chris Kimball’s yeasted breads that I can make in one day (most require starting the night before).  I followed the recipe precisely and they turned out a bit too hard, almost stale-like, but because I ate them with stew there was no problem. The flavor was good, but simple. A few years ago I gave them 5-stars. So either I messed something up this time that made them too hard, or I’ve learned more about bread and am more discerning. Still they are nice, but today I only give them 3-1/2 stars.

Simple but delicious; a little too crusty.

I can’t wait to try these brand new potato rolls from the July / August 2012 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. I only have one more recipe (carrot cake) to make from the May / June issue.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $1 for 16 rolls.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Started: 2 pm Ready:  6:30.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe for Rustic Dinner Rolls is here, and was also featured back in Season 10 of ATK. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

1-1/2 cups water (12 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
2 teaspoons honey
3-1/2 cups bread flour (18-1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (1 ounce)
2 teaspoons table salt

  1. In a Pyrex measuring cup, heat water in microwave for 1 minute to 105-degrees. Whisk in yeast and honey, and allow to hydrate for 5 minutes. Make sure that there is no honey sticking to the bottom of the measuring cup.
  2. Add both types of flour to (but not salt) the bowl of a standing mixer. With the standing mixer equipped with dough hook, slowly add yeast mixture and mix on lowest setting for 3 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and sprinkle salt evenly over the dough. Knead on low speed (2 on KitchenAid) for 5 minutes. Twice during mixing, stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape dough from dough hook. After 5 minutes, increase speed to medium speed (6 on KitchenAid ) and knead for 1-1/2 more minutes. The dough should smooth and only slightly tacky.
  4. Spray a glass bowl with non-stick cooking spray, transfer dough to bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour until it doubles in size in a warm, draft-free place. In winter, you’ll have to use your warmed, but turned off oven to help.
  5. Using a greased spatula, fold the dough over onto itself; rotate bowl quarter turn and fold again. Rotate bowl again and fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.
  6. Repeat folding, and place on replace plastic wrap, and let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle evenly with a very thin coat of flour.
  8. Carefully remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half with a bench scrape or chef’s knife and carefully stretch each piece into a 16”-long cylinder. Cut each cylinder into quarters; then cut each piece into two (yielding 16 pieces). Lightly dust the tops of each piece with more flour.
  9. Flour your hands and briefly roll each piece in your palms to coat with flour; shake off any excess. Put 8 pieces of dough in each cake pan; placing one piece of dough in the center and the other seven pieces like the spokes of a wheel, making sure that the cut-sides face up.
  10. Set an oven rack to the middle of your oven and pre-heat to 500-degrees. Cover pans with plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise for about 30 minutes until they have double in size. You can also test it because the dough will spring back if you gently press with your finger.
  11. Discard plastic wrap and lightly spray the rolls with water. Bake for 10 minutes until the rolls are brown. Turn the oven down to 400-degrees. Remove rolls and turn them out onto a rimmed baking sheet. After 5 or 10 minutes the rolls will have cool enough to handle. Pull them apart and place on baking sheet. Bake at 400-degrees for 10 to 15 minutes; rotating the pan half-way through baking. They should have a deeply golden crust, and sound hollow if you tap their bottoms.
  12. Allow to cook on a wire rack for 30 minutes to an hour before serving.

4 Responses to Rustic Dinner Rolls

  1. Lee L says:

    Looking forward to the carrot cake review! I’ve been using CI’s recipe that’s made in a 13×9 because the thought of layers scares me. Good luck!

  2. Basil White says:

    I’m trying to adapt the July 2012 potato rolls recipe for instant potatoes and bake it as a loaf of bread. I’ve calculated the instant-potato equivalent for a pound of potatoes, but if I bake this as a loaf in a loaf pan, how hot do I bake it and how long?

    • As a loaf, I’d recommend spraying the top of the loaf with a few spritz of water just before putting into the oven. Then baking at 475-degrees for 5 minutes, and reducing the temperature to 375-degrees and continue bake for 20 more minutes. Of course, rotate the pan halfway through baking to ensure an evenly golden loaf. The internal temperature of the bread should be about 195-degrees when it’s done. Please let me know how it goes.

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