Thursday, August 13, 2009

Italian Rolls

This is a recipe from "A World of Breads," which is a mere 7 years younger than "Guide for the Jewish Homemaker."

"A World of Breads" is not my favorite cookbook. It's kind of vague and doesn't really give fabulous descriptions of things, which is problematic if you don't intrinsically know the difference between an Italian roll and a refrigerator roll. But another aunt wanted homemade bread for her birthday, and these aren't that time-consuming as far as homemade bread goes, so I put up with descriptions like "ZOMG THESE ROLLS ARE AWESOME. JUST MAKE THEM DUDE!" which don't sound like that at all, actually.

I've made these before, and always have half a million crises in the baking process, but they always seem to turn out okay. They're not the most interesting rolls ever (I guess that's why there's not a detailed description), but they're good and tend to hold up for a few days.

Italian Rolls

(I usually make half the recipe and get about 10 rolls out of it. The half-measurements are in parentheses.)

2 cups water (1 cup)
1/2 cup oil (1/4 cup - I always use vegetable oil)
1/4 cup sugar (4 tbps)
1 tbsp salt (1/2 tbsp)
1/3 cup water (~2 2/3 tbsp)
2 cakes yeast (I substitute active dry yeast. 1 cake = 1 package dry yeast.)
2 large eggs (1 egg)
6 cups flour (3 cups)

The recipe says to heat 2 cups water to boiling, and then pour over the oil, sugar, and salt. It doesn't really have to be boiling, just hot enough to dissolve the sugar and salt. Then you wait for it to cool down a bit.

Dissolve the yeast in 1/3 cup water (sometimes I also add a tiny bit of sugar to give the yeast an extra kick start if it's being blah). Add to the cooled mixture along with the eggs and half the flour. Stir until smooth. Add the rest of the flour and blend in.

Turn out onto a lightly floured breadboard (aka kitchen counter) and knead lightly.

This is where things started to go a bit wrong. I'd made these rolls before and remembered the dough being a little bit obnoxious, but I wound up with a giant sticky mess that wasn't remotely kneadable. I wound up adding about a cup and a half more flour, and quickly gave up on trying to knead it because it was just getting stickier and sticker. Also my aunt rang the doorbell in the middle of my kneading, and my hands were covered in sticky dough, and I had to figure out how to open the door with my forearms. It was pretty exciting. I didn't get any pictures of the dough at this stage, but here's the sticky mess that was left on my counter:

Shape into rolls (since the dough is so sticky, you have to kind of rip off pieces of dough, roll them between your hands, and let them plop kind of shapelessly onto a pan) and place them on a buttered cookie sheet. Let rise until doubled.


Mine didn't really rise after about an hour, so I just glazed them with an egg (at this point you can also make cuts in them so they look suave and artisanal, or put seeds on them, or other things like that), stuck them in the oven, and hoped for the best.

Bake in a 375* to 400* oven until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. It took about 25 minutes at 375*. Even with the super stickiness and lack of visible rising they came out pretty awesomely!


1 comment:

  1. Those are some mighty appetizing looking rolls!
    Kudos. Mmmm Carbohydrates is right.