For years I indulged in a buttery love affair with the bin of rolls at my local Giant. They were beautiful knotted rolls, glistening and golden in their egg-washed glory. These beauties were just perfect with my morning almond butter, my afternoon chicken salad, and as my evening dinner roll (and as a secret snack).
In 2008 I moved from the big city and was completely devastated that there was no Giant to be found—and consequently an absence of double-knotted wonder rolls.
I frantically searched for the recipe and diligently followed each and every step. Apparently, I wasn’t being as diligent as I thought because my rolls were always slightly “off.”
Several failed attempts later my inner “incredible lady hulk” switch was officially flipped. “What am I doing wrong?”
I read and re-read the recipe and instructions desperately looking for answers. I don’t know why I was surprised when I discovered that the problem all started, like so many other things, with my parents.
For whatever reason I was raised on skim milk, hence, I only bought and baked with skim milk. But if you want rich and delicious rolls, you need to use whole milk.
The rolls were still not the delicate cake-like culinary phenomenon I remembered. Then, while watching my chicken’s free range, it hit me…..EGGS!!! The super market rolls were not just ordinary knotted yeast rolls with egg wash; they were brioche rolls.
Here is the recipe that is complete with whole milk and a fresh farm egg. Enjoy!
• 1-1/2 cups whole milk
• 1 packet active dry yeast
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 5-1/4 cups bread flour
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 large egg
• Egg wash (egg and a little water)
• Additional oil for shaping rolls; if desired.
1. Put the milk in a sauce pan and heat until warm. Whisk in yeast until it dissolves. Next, whisk in oil, sugar, and butter. Allow the butter to slightly melt. Let mixture rest for five minutes.
2. Combine flour, salt and egg in a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment. On low speed add yeast mixture. A ball of dough will form; let the dough rest another five minutes.
3. Here is where you need to decide if you want knotted rolls or plain round rolls. I normally do basic rolls because, well, I am not perfect and my knotted rolls always come out wonky. I have accepted it and moved on. If you are going to knot your rolls, you will need extra oil and a bench knife.
4. Oil your hands and the surface you will be using for kneading. I also keep some milk close by in case my dough is tougher than expected. Knead until the dough is tacky. If the dough is sticky you can add flour. By now the dough should be a perfect ball. Return the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover tightly in plastic wrap, and let proof for an hour and a half.
5. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
6. Divide your dough into 16 pieces with the help of a bench knife. I have made mine a little bigger because we are having pulled pork for dinner and I adore a large lovely pork sandwich.
7. Take your 16th of dough and roll him on the counter top. You want to roll the dough the same way you would roll play-dough.
8. Put your perfect ball on the parchment paper. You can now sprinkle him with poppy seed, sesame seeds, garlic, or whatever you like. After you are finished rolling your rolls, sit them at room temperature for about an hour.
9. Brush rolls with egg wash and put them in the oven while your oven preheats to 375 degrees. The rolls will double their size. Bake for 15 minutes. Let rolls cool before serving.
Kristina “Mickey” Hart is a pretty fun mom and auntie who openly wishes she was Amish. Her many loves include backyard chickening, gardening, honeybees and carbohydrates.
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