Make Something New Every Day

This blog is inspired by all those who love to cook, whether experienced or not, and who continue to experiment with new ideas & ingredients, and best of all, share their passion with others.

The first entries are recipes prepared by the students of Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy in Oakland, CA. Fifteen students with varying cooking experience participated in my weekly workshop (via Tutorpedia), and successfully prepared various meals, snacks, and baked goods as part of an after-school program.

Along with the recipes from that class, I will continue to add new seasonal items, spanning every genre of the culinary world, as well as a helpful list of links to recipes, instructional videos, and places to shop and volunteer in your area.

Feel free to ask me questions and share your recipes and ideas as well. I look forward to cooking with you.

December 6, 2013

No Knead to Panic. Easy Buttery Dinner Rolls.

I've tried various recipes and techniques for yeast-based dinner rolls, and so far these are my top seed. The dough mixes up in minutes and requires no hand kneading after its time in the mixer. The only real "work" is dividing the dough into balls and dropping them into buttered muffin tins, and as I proved on the eve of Thanksgiving, this task goes quickly and is way more fun when shared with a friend. 

Store the prepared tins in the fridge overnight, then bake the rolls fresh just in time for dinner. As the dough rises whip up some compound butters. Fresh chive butter makes these already addictive rolls irresistible. 

Make the Dough
1 Packet Yeast (1/4oz, 2 1/4t)
1/3C Sugar
1/2C Warm Milk (heated to 110-115')

6 1/2C AP Flour
2t Fine Sea Salt
1.5 Sticks Unsalted Butter, softened (plus 1 stick melted for brushing)
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4C Milk, room temp 

Start the Yeast
Warm 1/2C milk in a liquid measuring cup. Gently stir in the sugar and yeast, and let it sit for 5 minutes until foamy. 

Mix the Dough
Add the yeast starter to a mixing bowl fitted with a hook attachment. Stir in the softened butter, half the flour, and half the remaining milk. Start slow, then mix until incorporated. Mix in the egg. Then add the rest of the flour and milk. Start slow, then mix for a few minutes until the dough comes together and pulls away from the bowl. It will be sticky. 
The dough before the 2nd batch of flour and milk are added.
Let it Rise! 
Dump the dough into a large oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic, and let rise in a warm place (not hot) for about 2 hours until the dough has doubled in bulk.
The dough before rising.

Prep the Pans, Shape the Dough
Brush two 12-cup cupcake tins with melted butter. On a clean work surface (a floured wooden cutting board or clean counter top) dump out the doubled dough, and gently punch it down and give it a few light kneads to get the air out. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough in half. Then divide each half into 12 equal pieces (24 total). Take each 12th, divide it into 3, then shape each 3rd into a ball. You can be crazy and weigh the dough, but eyeballing it works ok. If some balls are bigger than others, just make sure that the overall volume of each muffin cup is about equal. Drop 3 balls into each buttered muffin tin. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Cover each tin with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
Shaped, covered, and ready for a nap in the fridge.
To Bake
Remove pans from fridge and leave at room temperature for one hour before baking. Preheat oven to 375'. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt or fancy-pants salt flakes. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown. Turn the pans after about 15 minutes to ensure even baking. Remove the pans and brush the rolls (again!) with more butter. Pop them out onto cooling racks and let cool 10 minutes before serving. 

Store remaining cooled rolls in a ziploc bag or airtight container for up to 1 week. Rolls can also be frozen and reheated in foil at 300' until warm.

Chive Butter
Cream 1C (2 sticks, 1/2#) unsalted butter until soft.
Stir in 2-3T finely minced chives.
Season with a little kosher salt to taste.
Transfer to a small serving bowl or ramekin. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, or serve immediately. Store extra butter covered in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Note: Compound butters that contain fresh herbs or vegetables can spoil faster than regular butter. If you don't need the extra butter for a while, wrap it tightly in parchment, then plastic wrap, then a Ziploc freezer bag. Thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before serving. Do not refreeze, or eventually it will turn gross.