31 Jan2012

I love it when restaurants bring out freshly baked soft rolls with butter to your table shortly after you’ve sat down. These pillowy bread rolls, made with milk, and often served in “leaves” that you peel off to slather with butter, trace their roots back to a restaurant in a Bostonian hotel in the mid to late-1800’s. I used to bake them from a recipe in “The Joy of Cooking” for many years, but recently read an article in Saveur Magazine’s November 2010 issue that detailed a recipe that Tom Colicchio uses at his well-regarded Manhattan restaurant, Craft. This is my first attempt at baking the recipe… and I was very happy with the outcome. :)

Mr. Colicchio describes using small cast iron pans to bake the rolls in, so that they can bring a pan to each table, fresh out of the oven. We happened to have 5 such pans waiting for a use so I decided to do the same as Mr. Colicchio. The photos say it all. If anything, the rolls were a bit lighter than I would have liked, but had I left them in the oven longer, they would have dried out a bit more… So while they don’t look exactly like the photos in the magazine, they looked pretty good nonetheless.

Notice the nice colored crust “below” the surface of the pan’s edge… that’s the advantage of using the cast iron. So there was a little bit of crispness and caramelized bread flavor on top of the milky soft rolls within. Way too much butter, and if you like, more salt is the perfect accompaniment. To make, (this is a double recipe of Mr. Colicchio’s, I trebled it for the batch I made) stir together 1.5 cups of milk, (heated to 115F or just warm, not scalding) with 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, 2 teaspoons barley malt syrup (I didn’t have this, so I used maple syrup, you can use honey instead) and let it sit until the yeast blooms (it’s alive for sure…). In another bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour, 3 teaspoons of kosher salt and prepare 5 tablespoons of butter cut into cubes and softened. Add the flour into the milk mixture, along with the butter and mix until you have a dough. Place this on a floured counter and knead the dough until smooth, say 5-7 minutes of kneading. Don’t overwork the dough.

Transfer the dough to bowl that has been lightly oiled, and cover with plastic wrap and place it in a quiet corner of your kitchen to double in size, say an hour or just under that. Punch the dough down, re-cover, and let it rise for another hour. Portion the dough into little balls (I used 40 grams each, which turned out a bit big, so I would use say 30-35 grams each) and place them with some space between them, in little cast iron pans. Cover with plastic wrap and let this rise to double in size, say 1.5-2 hours more.

Pre-heat your oven to 325F. Brush the dough with clarified or melted butter and place the pans in the oven. Bake for roughly 23-25 minutes until lightly golden and cooked. Brush with more butter and sprinkle with salt. I used Fleur de Sel de Guerand, as noted in the recipe, but I found the grains too large and a bit off-puttingly grey. So I switched to pink Himalayan salt for the remainder of the rolls, and that worked really nicely. The smell, texture and taste of freshly made bread is so incredibly appetizing. I can see why this is a real crowd pleaser at Craft. Thank you Mr. Colicchio for the recipe; will be making this again soon.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Betchay says:

    Oh my God!It’s breakfast time and the color of your rolls is so appetizing…I can smell them here!Hu!hu!hu! poor me,I have to content myself with commercially produced wheat bread at the breakfast table now.
    MM, what can I use in place of cast iron pans that will give a similar brown color crust at the edge?

    Jan 31, 2012 | 5:30 am

     
  2. betty q. says:

    MM…you know what would make this over the top… sprinkle it with BACON SALT!!!!! Applewood smoked bacon works best or DOUBLE SMOKED !!! If you can find the low-sodium ones, much better! Instead of the oven or skillet, I cook the bacon in the microwave over double paper towels. But you need to keep an eye on them! It is soooo crispy. Then just blitz the bacon with the coarse sea salt in a coffee grinder. You can buy them but you really don’t know if there are additives in them. Also, I know this sounds weird but a touch of vanilla beans added to the bacon/salt ups it….just a smidgeon of vanilla beans…not the extract. Ever heard of adding vanilla. touch of cinnamon to your coffee before brewing? That is how I make our coffee!!!

    But use it sparingly! Wisdom tooth and Millet and Gejo!!!…you have to try it!!! Masarap sprinkled over the roasted radishes or kale chips!!!!!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 5:57 am

     
  3. sister says:

    I’ll send you dry diastatic malt, it helps bread rise and is also responsible for the flavor of bagels. Bought it for the panettone. Not usually available at supermarkets but King Arthur carries it. You need to work each portion into a tight ball, pirlare, so you have a smooth skin.
    You might want to raise the temp. of the oven to 375 or 400 F so you have a browner top crust. The small pans are a great vessel for the rolls. Nice job.

    Jan 31, 2012 | 6:50 am

     
  4. Thel from Florida says:

    Oh men, those look soooo good! Have to content with Sister Schubert’s yeast roll for now, will warm up some right away.

    Jan 31, 2012 | 7:11 am

     
  5. millet says:

    oh my…these are beauties! will make them this weekend, i have the perfect lodge skillet waiting for these!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 9:06 am

     
  6. PITS, MANILA says:

    oh, this with sinful amount(s) of butter … some creamy soup … salad … and i’m ready as i’ll ever be for the main course!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 9:10 am

     
  7. bakerwannabe says:

    I love the smell of yeast and the bread baking. Those look scrumptious. Can they be baked in a regular round pan?

    Jan 31, 2012 | 9:30 am

     
  8. Papa Ethan says:

    MM et al– I have absolutely zero knowledge about baking bread, but I think I can muster enough guts to try out this recipe (the little cast-iron skillet adds a “cowboy” appeal). Home-made breakfast rolls have been my fantasy, hehe… Anyway, since the total prep time is around four hours, is it possible to make this the night before? Otherwise one would have to get up really early to have the baked rolls on the breakfast table by 6:00a.m. :-)

    Jan 31, 2012 | 9:40 am

     
  9. val says:

    hi betty q! I’ve never met you but I can imagine how excited you are with your recommendations — makes me want to try them out, too!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 10:01 am

     
  10. Patricia says:

    Your cast-iron pans look amazing! I am envious! Where did you get them?

    Jan 31, 2012 | 11:55 am

     
  11. Marketman says:

    Patricia, they are LODGE cookware, purchased on sale somewhere in the U.S. (can’t recall where) so I got several pans… But they do sell similar looking, but copies, made in China at some Shoemart home stores for a fraction of the cost…

    Papa Ethan, unless you get up in the middle of the night, this would be tough to do as it requires a couple of steps, risings, and forming the shapes… unless you did the last step and refrigerated and hope they don’t over grow and collapse. I started these early morning and made it to lunch… they are typically served at dinner…

    bakerwannabe, yes, they can be baked in a regular round pan.

    bettyq, bacon salt and fat sounds good… :)

    Betchay, another baking pan would work, just might not get as nice a crust/coloring on the bottom of the pan… but try a few kinds and I am sure you will find something that works well…

    Jan 31, 2012 | 12:27 pm

     
  12. millet says:

    bettyq, bacon salt? you are a genius!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 2:03 pm

     
  13. Part Time Homemaker says:

    Oh MM, the crumb looks fantastic. Amazing with quesong puti and guava jam!!!
    – Georgie

    Jan 31, 2012 | 2:30 pm

     
  14. Lalaine says:

    thanks for generously sharing the recipe! yum, yum, yum!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 3:38 pm

     
  15. Zita says:

    They look like scones. That’s what I thought when I fist saw the photos. Freshly baked bread with lashings of butter are awesome.

    Jan 31, 2012 | 7:46 pm

     
  16. betty q. says:

    Millet…make a small batch at a time only since you have to store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator. if kept outside, it will get rancid quickly. At any rate, it is easy to make. We can buy it here but I will not spend $5 for only 30 gm. of bacon salt?!? That $5 will get me already nearly $1 of applewood smoked bacon!

    Jan 31, 2012 | 10:25 pm

     
  17. sister says:

    Papa Ethan,
    Reduce yeast to 1 tsp. Knead the dough before you go to sleep, place in a bowl where it can double in size, cover with plastic or foil, and refrigerate asap. Go to bed. When you wake up punch down the cold dough, divide, form into balls, place in pans, and allow to rise for an hour or so until double in bulk, then bake. You will have warm rolls for breakfast.
    Curing the dough for 6-8 hrs. chilled will give you better flavor and texture.

    Jan 31, 2012 | 10:51 pm

     
  18. Footloose says:

    Here is how you round a piece of dough to give it smooth skin (per Sister above) and keep them from melding into each other on rising and baking. Jump to the 1:13 mark:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6p1T_jUMrE

    Notice that the work surface and the palm of your hand are never dusted with flour when doing this operation. You need a bit of adhesion.

    Feb 1, 2012 | 12:03 am

     
  19. Marketman says:

    Hi Everyone, thanks for comments re: smoother buns. While I agree mine could be smoother, I don’t think the intention was to get a crusty smooth top. I never read the recipe on-line, and did wonder about some of the errors in it, like when to turn the oven on, but I guess I just adjusted as I went along, and was lucky to get really tasty, if a bit anemic looking buns. :) But if you are doing this for the first time, you may wish to read this link to Saveur’s post on the recipe, and please GO DOWN AND READ THE VARIED COMMENTS, as a lot of people seem to have had problems with the recipe! Rarely have I seen commenters on Saveur get so aggressive about wanting them to revise or change the recipe. :) When I do this again, I will smoothen the rolls a bit more, but will still start the recipe at the lower temperature, 325F and increase the heat to 400F for the last ten minutes to brown the tops. I would also place the pans in the upper third of the oven.

    Feb 1, 2012 | 7:27 am

     
  20. MinQ says:

    One of the best scents ever – freshly baked bread!!
    Patricia – I’ve seen Lodge cast iron pans in Gourdo’s.

    Feb 1, 2012 | 7:39 am

     
  21. Maricel says:

    “You need to work each portion into a tight ball, pirlare, so you have a smooth skin.”

    Sister, may I ask what “pirlare” is. Googled it but couldn’t find it.

    Feb 1, 2012 | 11:09 am

     
  22. Gerry says:

    You can get malt syrup in Korean grocery stores. I’m not sure if it’s the same as barley malt syrup since I can’t read the ingredient list. There are different kinds, but since it’s not that expensive, you can buy several just to test.

    Feb 1, 2012 | 12:37 pm

     
  23. aisa says:

    MM! Looks so yummy!!! May I have one please!

    Feb 1, 2012 | 1:12 pm

     
  24. betty q. says:

    Ok…smoother tops…for small balls, put your hand on the counter, dough ball underneath your hand. Now slowly bring your fingers to rest on the sides of the ball from thumb to pinkie like in a cupping motion (MUCH LIKE WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO SCRATCH SOMETHING!)and like you have a MOUNDED TOP then move your hand clockwise or counter clockwise whatever you are comfortable with maybe only 3 or 4 clockwise motions. This is how we did it in baking school….2 hands at the same time!

    Feb 1, 2012 | 3:09 pm

     
  25. Footloose says:

    Betty Q, that’s exactly what the youtube linked I posted above shows.

    I have seen bakers adeptly doing it with both hands and I’ve tried doing it myself but it trips me every time. Confusing as chewing gum and walking at the same time.

    Feb 1, 2012 | 3:30 pm

     
  26. WeekendGourmet says:

    Hi MM! I clipped this recipe when I saw it. Now I’m afraid I have to make it:) yours look so good!

    Feb 1, 2012 | 11:40 pm

     
  27. betty q. says:

    Still confused? ….make a FIST first with 2 hands! then place them on the counter…NOw postion them with thumb facing up and sides of palm facing down. Then open the FIST HALFWAY ONLY and then bring them together…you now have sort of heartshaped fist . dough is inside that heartshaped fist CUPPING THE DOUGH..then clockwise motion like the agitator of the washing machine. This method is the ROUNDER 101. After you get the idea, you can then graduate to 1 hand rounding method!

    Footloose…to pass the course, we had to be the HUMAN ROUNDER. But somehow , my left hand goes into counter clockwise motion without any prodding from my brain and my right hand goes into clockwise motion!

    Feb 2, 2012 | 12:08 am

     
  28. angie says:

    Thanks for sharing this MM – always love freshly baked breads, looks so good, can’t wait to try make them myself.

    Hi Betty, was trying Rounder 101 with my hands while reading your post. :-) Learning new things everytime. Thanks!

    Feb 2, 2012 | 5:32 am

     
  29. psychomom says:

    can’t wait to make the bacon salt!!! thanks bettyq!

    Feb 2, 2012 | 6:17 am

     
  30. Part Time Homemaker says:

    MM, I just made these, thanks for sharing your suggested tweaks on the recipe. I was too hungry to wait the last 2 hours for the final proofing so I suspect that I compromised the lightness/fluffiness somewhat, but they browned beautifully thanks to your suggestion. I put them in the upper third and increased the temperature in the last 10 minutes. Thank you! *Big buttery grin*
    – Georgie

    Feb 2, 2012 | 9:47 pm

     
  31. Marketman says:

    Georgie, next time hold your horses and proof that last two hours for even lighter rolls, but I saw the photos, they looked terrific! So the recipe does work, with care and a few tweaks…

    Feb 2, 2012 | 9:57 pm

     
  32. Part Time Homemaker says:

    Thanks again MM, I will try my hardest. Or better yet I will make them on a weekend so I have plenty of lead time before dinner. Unfortunately my will power is weak to non-existent when it comes to food, thus the rushed proofing today. Hehe. :-)
    – Georgie

    Feb 2, 2012 | 10:31 pm

     
  33. betty q. says:

    Another option for those without the cast iron pans…cut each ball of portioned dough into 3 pcs…now, for those who are obsessed like me! …round each tiny piece into a perfect ball….but for a more rustic looking bread, just fit that 3 uneven cut tiny pcs. into a large muffin tin.

    Plan C…there is on You Tube a demo on making Lion House Rolls…using Mr. C’s recipe…shape the rolls into the shape of Lion House Rolls which looks just like a short Swiss Rolls you buy at gas stations! My Lion HOuse version though would be….spreading UNSALTED butter and light sprinkle of BACON SALT.

    Feb 3, 2012 | 1:08 am

     
  34. Brenda says:

    Wow, it takes 3.5 hours to make the dough finally rise?! But yet, seeing the baked rolls, it might be worth the wait!

    Feb 3, 2012 | 6:14 am

     
  35. Papa Ethan says:

    sister: so sorry for this late rejoinder; thanks for the tip. :-)

    Feb 9, 2012 | 9:02 am

     
 

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