Monday, October 28, 2013

Honey Yeast Rolls

Making bread or rolls from scratch has been a real hit or miss for me.  Sometimes the bread comes out wonderful and has the perfect light fluffy texture and other times, well, things just haven't turned out the way I wanted.  Just to name a few of the issues I have experienced: expired/dead yeast, killing the yeast with too hot water, using too cold water and not activating the yeast, under kneading the dough leading to weird textured bread, overcrowding the pan and having under baked rolls, realizing half way through making the dough that I am out of something like eggs.....yea umm that was just a full on air-head moment, but the list goes on.  Although all of these bread making issues have been extremely frustrating, they have been good learning experiences and I have yet to repeat any of my errors.  So even though making breads has not come as naturally to me as other types of cooking and baking have, I will continue to keep trying because when I did finally get it right all of the mistakes were well worth the effort.  Having the patience and taking the time to follow all the steps through is worth every minute because there is nothing quite like warm homemade delicious bread right from the oven.  Plus there is the added benefit that baking bread makes your entire house smell amazing.  These rolls specifically are sweet and light with a slightly chewy buttery top.  They are a wonderful compliment to a hearty weekend dinner like pot roast, an amazing addition to a holiday dinner table, or just the right side for chicken and rice soup (as pictured.)  You will absolutely love these sweet dinner rolls; they are certainly one of my favorite bread recipes.

Honey Yeast Rolls
Inspired by Annie's Eats

1 cup warm water
1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 egg
4 cups bread flour
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp honey

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine warm water (around 110ºF) with yeast and honey.  Give this a mix with your paddle attachment and let stand for about 5 minutes to allow for the yeast to begin activating.  Once the yeast is starting to look foamy and is fragrant, add the vegetable oil, salt, and egg and mix well. Add 3 cups of the flour and mix until the flour is well combined into the wet ingredients.  The dough will be very sticky at this point. Remove the paddle attachment, scrape well, and attach your dough hook. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the remaining 1 cup of flour.  Once the flour is combined, turn the mixer to medium speed and "knead" for 7-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Coat a large bowl with oil or cooking spray.  Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and form a smooth ball with your hands.  Place the dough ball in the oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours until doubled in size. I usually stick mine in the oven (turned off) because my kitchen can be pretty cool and drafty and this is the best place for the dough to rise.

Lightly flour your counter top and transfer the dough out of the bowl.  Knead the dough very briefly and then cut into 10-12 evenly sized pieces.  Carefully shape the dough pieces into balls (you don't want to overwork the dough) and place in a greased 9 or 10 inch round baking dish. Be sure to leave space between each one so there is room to rise.  Cover the rolls and let rise again for about 30 minutes.  Preheat your oven to 400ºF.  If you are letting your dough rise in the oven, make sure you take it out before turning the oven on to preheat.  Mix together the butter and additional honey and brush over the tops of the risen rolls.  Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.  If desired, brush the cooked rolls with the butter and honey mixture again for a shiny finish.  Let the rolls cool for at least 5-10 minutes before serving.