Today, I got it in my head that I needed to make some sandwich rolls rather than pulling a loaf of store-bought bread out of the freezer. I knew that I had whole wheat flour, a home-made multigrain flour mix, and yeast, and I made some faulty assumptions about what else I might find in the kitchen. However, I decided to forge ahead anyway! I poked through the kitchen, pulled out some things that were rolling around in cabinets, and make a set of rather slap-dash rolls.
Ingredients I used:
1 1/4 c water (divided)
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 package active dry yeast
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp sea salt
3 c home-made multigrain flour blend
1 c whole wheat flour
1 arbitrary-sized squeeze of orange blossom honey
Olive oil for greasing
Water not pictured. I imagine you know what it looks like, though.
Mix 1/2 c water with sour cream in a small bowl and let come to room temperature. In a second small bowl, gently stir yeast into 1/4 c warm water and let sit for five minutes. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, and the remainder of the water. Add the sour cream mixture and yeast mixture and stir.
Slowly add flour, starting with multigrain blend, until the consistency makes it too difficult to mix with a spoon. At some point, decide that honey would be fantastic in this, and run upstairs to get it off your desk. My arbitrary-sized squeeze was mostly based on the smell of the dough, which seems to work out for me most of the time.
I like a wooden spoon and a glass bowl best when making bread.
Flour a work surface, turn out the dough, and knead more flour into it. Ideally, you’re using the whole wheat flour at this point; the multigrain is more difficult to work in, which is why I started with it in the bowl. When your bread is of a lovely consistency (smooth and not terribly sticky), wash your hands and, if you’re like me and don’t have a terrible lot of bowls, the bowl your dough was just in.
I'm always tempted to start eating at this stage.
Use a paper towel or something to lightly grease the edges of your clean (and dry!) bowl, then set the dough in. Most recipes will tell you at this point to sort of roll the dough about in the bowl to be sure it gets greased on all sides, but I have never noticed a difference in end result if I forgot to do that. (Forgetting to grease the entire bowl, however….)
Drape a clean towel over the top of the bowl and let it sit somewhere to rise for about an hour.
It's always fun when it rises enough to lift the towel off the bowl.
If you’re like me, you require most of this hour for cleaning up your mess so far, changing your floury clothes, and making “hurry up and be done so I can eat you” faces at the dough. If you’re significantly neater in the kitchen than me, perhaps you can use this hour to clean up your mess AND watch an episode of the tv show of your choice! Either way, the most fun part comes right after this hour is up – punch down the dough.
I am a champion dough boxer: fact.
Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. Ram that fist into the dough. Hear the satisfying release of gases. Smell the delicious, um, smells. And then decide if you like little air bubbles in your end-result bread or not. If not, turn your dough out onto a floured surface again – maybe you shouldn’t have cleaned up quite so studiously – and knead it for a few minutes. Divide your dough into sandwich roll size, whatever that may be for you. Keep in mind they will probably get a little bigger before you eat them.
They look disturbingly like hamburger patties at this point.
Grease a baking sheet, toss down some cornmeal if that’s your thing, and slap those rolls on there. If you’re into fun shapes, slice the top in an X pattern with a clean scalpel sort of thing. If not, don’t. Cover the rolls with that same clean towel and let them sit for another 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to something like 375 °F at some point along here, depending on how quickly you move and how quickly your oven preheats. I always find my oven is ready long before me, but maybe you’re significantly better at estimating time than I am.
And then I decided pumpkin seeds on some of them would be a delicious plan.
Whenever your times come together, stick the rolls in the oven and wait for them to be done. Depending on what exactly you put in yours and how accurate your oven temperature is and if you started your timer a few minutes late, it should take them around 40 minutes to be ready. You’ll know they’re done by color changes (though that’s dependent on your flours; mine didn’t change terribly because I used a lot of darker-colored flours to start with), overall look, smell, and perhaps a sixth sense some people call Bake Too Much. There’s also the tap-the-bottom method – if it sounds sort of hollowish and not wet, it’s done.
And now they look like cookies. I can't win here.
Cool them on a rack or a towel or whatever. Or just eat them right now and burn your mouth. The choice is yours!
I should say that I have made more delicious breads, but always in a sensibly-stocked kitchen and/or with a trip to the grocery store before baking commenced. For just diving in cabinets and shoving almost random ingredients together, I would have to say these are a great success! Besides, home-baked bread. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to my sandwich lunch tomorrow.
I would make these again for sure, but I would use slightly fresher yeast; my bread did not rise as much as it really should have. I would probably also use less wheat and more white flour than just however much was in the multigrain blend (not a whole lot). Less dense bread would be a good thing. Still! Delicious! (And probably more honey, for I am a honey fiend.) If you decide to mess around with the recipe, let me know what you do and how it turns out – good or bad!