Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dinner Rolls

I made soft dinner rolls for Thanksgiving this year as I do every year. If I did not make them, my mom and husband would be incredibly disappointed. There really is nothing like warm homemade bread to add to your Thanksgiving table though.

Every year on Thanksgiving, I start my bread dough immediately after breakfast. This year I
made three batches instead of two. I always give them all away, and then Mike and I are left with none the next day. I love making bread. And every time I make bread, I think to myself, I should do this more often. Fresh bread is so much more delicious than what you buy in the store and doesn't have any of those yucky preservatives. I just use some basic techniques that I learned in pastry school and my trusty KitchenAid, and several hours later I have warm bread and a delicious smelling house. I always try to use fresh yeast. I think it makes for a better product. It yields a much nicer yeasty flavor that you just don't get from dry yeast. You have to mix the dough for such a long time, so I actually got to enjoy some of the parade on TV with my family while it was mixing up. I think that's the thing about fresh bread that I always forget. It takes a long tome to make it, but you don't actually have to be slaving away in the kitchen the whole time. You get
your mise en place and mix up the dough. Then the dough has to double in volume. Then you punch it down. Then it has to double again. Then, you actually have to do some work. You have to portion out and form the bread in whatever manner you desire. I portioned 1 oz pieces and formed each into a dinner roll. If you were just making loaves of bread, this would not be super time consuming. Then you have to let the rolls or loaves proof. Then it is baking time. So, really all in all, you don't have to be tied up in the kitchen for a majority of those steps. If you have never made homemade bread, I would suggest that you should try. It's not difficult and it is oh so tasty!

Proofing is an essential step when making homemade bread. It refers to the final dough rise
before baking. Sometimes called final fermentation, it is the specific term for allowing the dough to again rise after it has been shaped and/or panned. You can overproof the dough which will result in a bread with poor structure and lots of big bubbles and tunneling. You know your dough is underproofed if when you poke it, it springs back immediately. An underproofed dough will result in a tough product with a dry, crumby texture. A proof box is a chamber with controlled humidity and temperature ideal for allowing dough to rise and proof.

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