10 October 2020

Zachary's Favorite Rolls

These rolls are well loved by the whole family, but I needed a title for the post, so I named these rolls after Zachary, whose love of them first impressed me to try to make more.

You need: white flour (about 6 cups), sugar (1/4 cup), yeast, oil, water, and salt. 

This arose from a sourdough process, but I haven't been loyal to my sourdough starters, so this first step simulates the starter which I haven't been making. If you have starter already, this first step would simply be to feed the starter, take some of your starter, and add the sugar to it.

Step One: Proofing/Starting the yeast: 

1/2 C flour

1/2 C warm water

1/4 C sugar

1/2 t yeast

Mix and let rest (covered with a plate or lid) between 15 min and 3 hours.  (Whatever time you want.)

Step Two: Making the dough

Add to the "starter": 

4 2/3 C flour (have about 1/2 C more on hand)

1 1/2 C water

1/8 C oil  (Any oil should be fine. I use olive oil.)

Mix/knead by hand.  Knead more if you prefer a firmer roll or less if you prefer a softer roll. Add more flour if needed. In first photo, it's just a little too wet and won't form a single ball.  That was at the 4 2/3 C stage.  I added about 1/3 C more flour until it changed texture slightly and naturally made a ball.

Once it makes a ball, spray oil all over the inside of the bowl and on the surface of your ball of dough.  Cover with lid/plate, and if needed, add a towel on top of that.
Then, set that whole thing aside, ignoring it for a long time, probably at least 3 hours or more.  You can let it sit overnight if you want fresh rolls in the morning. It's possible to leave it too long, but unlikely. 

Step Three: Forming the rolls

 (Preheat oven to 400 F when you start this step.)

When you retrieve your dough, it should have expanded quite a bit. Subdivide the dough into 24-26 single rolls on two cookie sheets.  At first, just make them fairly equal.  Then, we'll shape them a bit.  Take each ball, one at a time, and shape with your two hands, as if you are blowing a bubble with bubble gum.  Make a circle with one hand (simulating your lips/teeth), and with your other hand, push the dough through gently (simulating your tongue). With the first hand, pinch the "bubble"  to seal the bottom.

Spray each ball of dough generously with oil, and salt them.  Remember, there is no other salt in these, so be generous.  Think of these rolls as a bit of a cross between a doughnut and a pretzel.

Step Four: Baking!

Place rolls in oven at 400F for 10 minutes, then switch top/bottom and
bake another 10 minutes.  Then you should see and smell them!  If you want them darker, leave them in longer.  Just don't leave them in for too long!