Good food is a passion many of us share – and recipes are how we connect.
To me, baking is ALL about sharing – not just the bread and cookies themselves, but the recipes that they come from. I've never, EVER been one of those cooks or bakers who claims a "secret" recipe, one she's unwilling to share.
I mean, what's the good of that? Just like you don't want to go to your grave with money in your pocket, neither do you want to let a cherished recipe die with you.
Write your recipes down; send them out into the world. You never know whom they'll touch: the daughter recognizing her mom's peanut butter cookies; the grandson realizing that this recipe is, miraculously, an exact blueprint of his grandma's cinnamon rolls.
These days, as I just begin to get a glimmer of my own mortality, I feel more strongly than ever that it's worth the time and effort to share recipes.
And I have the perfect vehicle for doing just that: this blog. Which brings us to the following recipe, courtesy of reader Sharon Daley of Harwich Port, MA.
Sharon emailed us her original recipe for Whole Grain Dinner Rolls, with an accompanying note:
"Here's the scoop: My youngest son came home from college this weekend, and I wanted to bake rolls for dinner, and also send a loaf of bread back to school with him. Fall seems just right for whole grains, and I decided to try a couple of the King Arthur specialty ingredients, so I just started 'playing around.' The result was quite tasty, and I thought you folks might be interested. P.S. College boy gobbled them up!"
Sharon's path is the one so many of us take: baking for family, celebrating an occasion, making people happy. With so much angst and agitation in the world, isn't it nice that one simple act – baking – is something we can rely on for peace, happiness, and sustenance?
I'll show you how to make Sharon's rolls and bread. And in return, I expect you to pay it forward: read the recipe, make the bread, then share both with family and friends.
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Irish-Style Flour or White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or 1/3 cup non-fat dry milk
1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water*
*Sharon's recipe calls for "enough warm water to make a moist dough." I found 1 1/2 cups was just about right; you may want to use a bit less in summer (or when it's humid), a bit more in the dead of winter, or in a dry climate.
Mix everything together in a large bowl.
Knead — by hand, with a stand mixer, or in a bread machine set to the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough. Using a stand mixer, it may stick a bit in the bottom of the bowl (above right); that's fine.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl (or large measuring cup, as I've done here), cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's doubled in bulk, 60 to 90 minutes.
Gently deflate the dough, and divide it in half.
Take one half, and divide it into seven pieces; each will be a generous 3 ounces. Round each piece into a smooth roll.
Cover the pan; a clear shower cap makes a great reusable see-through cover.
Working with the other half of the dough, divide it in half, and shape each piece into a short, fat log; or a round. Alternatively, make one large oval or round loaf.
Let the rolls/loaves rise for about 90 minutes, or until they're nearly doubled in size. The rolls will be touching one another.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center (and a stone, if you have one, on the floor of the oven, or on a lower rack).
Brush the rolls with 1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon cold water.
Brush the loaves with the egg wash, too, then make two or three diagonal slashes; this will help them rise evenly during baking.
Sprinkle with rolled oats.
Place the rolls/loaves into the oven; the rolls should go on the middle rack, the loaves on the stone (or on a lower rack).
Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes for the rolls, 30 minutes for the loaves, or 40 to 45 minutes for one large loaf. If at any point anything appears to be browning too quickly, tent lightly with aluminum foil.
Once the rolls are done, transfer the loaves to the middle rack, so they'll brown fully.
Remove from the oven.
See that soft interior? These rolls are just dying for a pat of butter.
Thank you, Sharon, for sharing this recipe. We've done our part and passed it along.
Readers, how about you? Please read, bake, review, and share this recipe for Whole Grain Dinner Rolls.