I used to think I had a love-hate relationship with carbs. But then something changed the first time I kneaded a yeasted dough (not too long ago). It made me realize that it wasn’t love hate, it was real true love. Sure our relationship can get testy sometimes, especially when weighing scales get involved (the bastards) and sometimes our relationship gets uncertain when the dough doesn’t rise as fast as expected. But love always prevails. I always come back for more carbs.
I am not going to pretend I know how to bake bread, this is only my second attempt (not counting pizza or sugared cinnamon treats). There is definitely something about knotting up strands of dough into cute little rolls that makes me feel super awesome and unusually dexterous (although it does not require real dexterity, I promise).
Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Everyday
The dough in this recipe is a simple white sandwich bread dough. It’s a bit sweet, with a really nice, delicious crumbly crust. I sprinkled my rolls with black sesame seeds because thats what I had on hand, you could sprinkle them with whatever garnish you choose, a mix a of white and black sesame seeds might look nice. The original recipe of course uses the overnight cold fermentation technique, but I let my dough rise for two hours at room temperature because I was too impatient and didn’t want to wait another day to stuff my face with these. I also omitted the whole egg that the original recipe calls for because I intended on sharing these with someone eggy-dough averse.
1 tbsp instant yeast, or 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp (425 g) lukewarm milk
6 1/4 cups (794 g) flour
2 tsp (14 g) salt
5 1/2 tbsp (78 g) sugar
6 tbsp (85 g) vegetable oil
1 egg (which I omitted with fine results)
For egg wash and garnish:
1 egg white
2 tbsp water
Sesame seeds/poppy seeds/garnish of choice
Whisk yeast into lukewarm milk (should be around 35 degrees C), set aside for 5 minutes. Sift flour, salt, sugar into a large bowl. Add oil and milk mixture (and egg if using) and stir in with a wooden spoon. Continue mixing for 2 minutes and then start to bring in the coarse dough with your hands. You can switch to a lightly floured work surface (my dough was doing fine in at this stage in the bowl) and knead for about five minutes. If the dough becomes difficult to knead, let it rest for a few minutes before resuming the kneading. The dough will be slightly sticky and soft. Knead it for one more minute and form it into a bowl.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl (I used the mixing bowl, wiped clean and oiled for this), cover the bowl with cling film and let it rise till doubled in size, this can take anywhere between an hour to a few hours depending on the temperature.
Once ready, divide the dough into balls weighing about 57 grams each, or if you don’t have a weighing scale, you could eyeball it. Each piece should be a small palm full, and the dough should yield about 24 rolls, give or take a few. Cover the dough balls loosely with a cloth or cling film while working with each roll.
To make the knots:
Take a piece of dough, cup your palm over it and roll the dough on the surface to create a smooth ball of dough. Now using a flat hand, roll the dough back and forth to create a small cylindrical shape. Now using both hands, roll the dough back and forth, and move your hands outwards (from the center to the ends) to elongate the strand of dough. Do this till it is about 10 inches in length. Now, take one end of the dough and place it over the other side (making the sort of ribbon shape you would make for AIDS awareness day). Take the end of the upper strand and bring it through the loop, leaving some space in the loop. Take the lower strand and bring it through the remaining gap in the loop. You should have a bit of dough poking through both sides of the knot. Pick a prettier side and lay it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the rest of the dough, placing them two inches apart (you will need two baking sheets for this).
Cover the baking sheets with a cloth or clingfilm, and put in a warm place to proof. Once the rolls have risen to 1 1/2 times its size, preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
Brush the rolls with egg wash, sprinkle over seeds of your choice and bake for about 15-18 minutes, till done.