Friday, September 30, 2011

All in knots

Every once in a while we end up doing our Central Market shopping on Sunday morning.  Usually we shop Friday and Saturday nights (one CM, one HEB, depending on my work schedule), but we didn't want to go Saturday night last weekend for fear of not being back in time for the start of Doctor Who.  The girls like to watch too, and the 11pm replay is way too late for them.  Heck, most of the time it's way too late for me, too.  

Anyway, the great thing about shopping on Sunday morning is that everything is fully stocked, including the bakery!  Sure, I love baking my own bread.  But I worked Saturday and was still tired on Sunday (from what seemed like a very long week), so there was no way I was going to pass up the still-warm loaves of Durum Sourdough and Ciabatta.  We actually saw some of the bakers still at work, so Gillian and I stopped to watch for a minute.  Her comments?  "Mommy, he has a different kind of weigher than you do."  (He had a balance.)  "But he's making those rolls like you make!"  He was, in fact, making knotted rolls, though they were a bit simpler than these ones that I made last week.  He wasn't joining the ends together to make rounds.  It was neat that she recognized that we make the same sorts of things at home that they make at the bakery.  How many kids can say that?

I discovered these rolls as I was reading my new issue of Fine Cooking (Oct/Nov 2011).  They caught my eye both because they looked delicious and also because the recipe is from one of my favorite authors, Peter Reinhart.  They looked like they'd be pretty easy to make--it's a straight dough, no preferments necessary.  The nice thing is that you can mix up the dough, then either leave it at room temperature to rise if you're baking the same day, or stick it in the fridge to rise overnight.  You can keep it in there for a few days if you don't get back to it right away.  The full recipe of dough makes 18 rolls, so I decided to bake half the first day after refrigerating my dough, then do the other half a couple days later. 

I mostly followed the recipe, though I did decide to substitute some white whole wheat flour for part of the bread flour.  I used about one-third www flour.  I didn't really add any extra liquid, so the dough was probably a bit stiffer than it was supposed to be.  Next time I'll probably add a little extra milk.  The only other big change I made was to omit the egg wash on the rolls--most of the time I can't be bothered to fuss with it.  It probably won't surprise you that I'm one of those people who prefers matte finish over glossy on my pictures... =)

The verdict?  These were a big hit, especially with the girls.  Baking them in batches on different days worked really well, too.  That way we were able to get through them before they got stale.  I'm sure we'll be making this recipe again.  I doubt that the girls had any idea that there was whole wheat flour in them, either. =)

If you'd like to try the original recipe, you can find it in the Oct/Nov 2011 issue of Fine Cooking, or here on the Fine Cooking website.   My friend Kayte baked along with me on this one, so if you'd like to see the rolls finished the way they were supposed to be (with egg wash & seeds on top), check out her blog post.  I'm also submitting these rolls to Yeastspotting, where you can see lots of other yummy yeasted treats.  


  1. Yours look great without the egg wash! I am so impressed with your "knotting" ability...they are perfect, no wonder the girls think your things are so professional! Thanks for inviting me to bake these along with you as we all really enjoyed them and I will make them again.

  2. Egg wash or no, those really do look bakery-quality. Nice job!

  3. You are a bread genius Di - those rolls could not be more gorgeous! I really want to make these too, maybe I'll add them to the menu for this week. I know Shane would love them.

  4. Central Market! How I miss them from my days living in Dallas. Such an inspiring place. But even more inspiring are your beautifully knotted rolls. I'm going to have to attempt them.

  5. Neat is right!! I bet yours were better than CM's, too. They look perfect.

  6. you have just reminded me that i need to beg the hubby to go to central market with me today :) these rolls are absolutely beautiful!! i need to flex my bread baking muscles some more, so i will definitely make these one of these days!!

  7. These rolls look so perfectly done!
    The egg-wash would only make them darker