Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bakin' Rolls

Every year my role for Thanksgiving is to provide rolls. It doesn't matter which family we are spending it with...they request rolls. And I'm always happy to provide them. There is something calming in kneading dough, watching it rise, and the smell of fresh baked bread. This year I decided to try a couple new recipes. I'm trying to find a recipe for a doughy, stretchy roll like at the Governor's Restaurant. I haven't had any luck yet.

This first batch is my try at the doughy and stretchy roll. These are a typical yeast roll. Very tasty. Just the site of the risen dough gave me a "culinary boner".

Homemade Yeast Rolls


6 cups bread flour
2 envelopes yeast, or 5 teaspoons bulk yeast
2 tsp. salt2 cups warm water, test on wrist like formula for a baby (110-115 degrees for the obsessive people)5 tbsp. sugar ( 1/2 cup for cinnamon rolls)
1/2 cup melted butter, stick margarine, or oil (obviously, the butter gives the best flavor, or use 1/4 cup each butter and oil)

In a LARGE bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the sugar, salt and butter or oil; mix till sugar is dissolved. Add 3 cups of the flour; mix well. Stir in 2 more cups of the flour, reserving the last cup of flour for kneading. Mix well, and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as needed. According to the weather, it may take a little more or less flour for kneading. After kneading, place in an oiled bowl big enough to contain the dough after it doubles in size, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. (I usually put mine on the top rack of my oven and put a pan of warm water on the bottom rack. This really speeds up the rising process.) Punch down and form into rolls, loaves or cinnamon rolls, (directions follow.) Place into greased pans (2 loaf pans or a 9x13 pan for rolls), and let rise again covered loosely with plastic wrap until doubled in size. Remove plastic wrap and preheat oven to 350-375 degrees. Bake loaves for 30-35 minutes or until brown and done. Bake rolls at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. According to the size of the rolls and loaves and differing ovens, the baking time and temperature may vary quite a bit and have to be adjusted for those variables. If the loaves or rolls start to get too brown before they are done in the center, you may have to cover loosely with foil. Cool rolls and loaves on wire racks for 10 minutes or so, then carefully turn out onto racks to finish cooling. Run a knife around the sides to loosen if necessary. I butter (yes, real butter!) the tops of the rolls and loaves as soon as they come out of the oven. Good luck, I hope they turn out well for you.

My second batch was garlic knots. I'm a huge fan of garlic. I like it on everything and I like it in large quantities. These rolls came out exceptionally. Fresh out of the over is when they are the best. The best part is brushing the tops of the rolls with a combo of melted butter and crushed garlic. The smell is unreal. I doubled this recipe and the rolls turn out to be quite large. (After all this talk I'm thinking of nuking the last one and have it for an afternoon snack.)

Soft Garlic Knots

Source: I Heart Food for Thought (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Makes 8 knots

3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

2-4 cloves peeled, garlic
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning or Italian seasoning, optional


In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the dry ingredients together then add the olive oil, milk and water. Using the paddle attachment or dough hook, mix and knead to form a smooth, elastic dough, adding additional water or flour as needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and roll each into a rope about 10 inches long; tie each rope into a knot. Place the knots on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes to about an hour, until very puffy looking.

Unpeel garlic cloves. Chop the garlic in a food processor (or you can use a garlic press), with the melted butter.

Bake the knots in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes. They should be set, but only very lightly browned. Remove the knots from the oven, and brush or drizzle them with the seasoned oil. (You can reheat briefly in the microwave, if it’s solidified).

Sprinkle with a little pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A cozy Sunday

First let me welcome you to my blog. I promise that this will get better with time.

I have been on the go for the past few weekends and was excited to spend some time at home with my husband and kitties. What better comfort food than tomato soup and bread on a cold Maine night?!

The Samoset Resort in Rockport makes this killer creamy tomato soup that I thought I could replicate. I found this recipe on Epicurious and while something was just a bit different from the soup at the Samoset this soup hit the spot. I halved the recipe since I'm feeding two people and added a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on the top. Also, I'm too lazy to go from the pot to the food processor to the pot so I used my immersion blender which worked wonderfully. I didn't want the soup to be too smooth as I like some chunks of tomato in there. The recipe says that you can taste a hint of clove but I didn't get that even though I added more than the recipe called for.

Creamy Tomato Soup
Parade 2000
Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups Fresh Vegetable Broth
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. Melt the butter with the oil over low heat in a pot.
2. Add the onion; wilt over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last 2 minutes, stirring. Sprinkle with flour and cook 3 minutes longer, stirring.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover; cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Season with cloves, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
4. Purée the soup in a food processor. Pour through a strainer into a pot. Stir in the half-and-half.
5. Warm the soup before serving.

The bread recipe is one that is very special to me. I remember my mother making this very light bread often. You mix the ingredients in the bowl you allow it to rise in. No kneading. Very easy!

One Loaf White Yeast Bread

1 ¼ Warm Water
1 Pkg. Yeast
2 Tbls Shortening Or Oil
2 Tbls Sugar
3 Cups Unsifted Flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil, salt, sugar. Stir in half of the flour. Stir until smooth. Stir in the rest of the flour. Cover and let rise 1 hour. Stir a bit and pour into a very greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise about an hour. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and finish cooking for 25 minutes.