Instructions

  1. To make the starter: Mix all of the ingredients until well blended. Cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature for 12 to 20 hours, until the mixture is very bubbly.
  2. To make the dough: Mix the starter with the remaining ingredients for 2 to 4 minutes, using an electric mixer set on slow speed. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for about 4 minutes; the dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Add additional water or flour if necessary.
  3. Let the dough rise in a greased bowl, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, until very puffy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and shape it into a 6" x 12" rectangle. Using a bench knife or pizza wheel, cut out eight 3" square rolls. Place the rolls, floured side up, onto parchment paper. Let them rise for about 45 minutes, lightly covered, until they're puffy.
  5. Place a baking stone in the top third of your oven, and preheat the oven to 450°F.
  6. Bake the rolls for 13 to 15 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
  7. Yield: 8 rolls.

Tips from our Bakers

  • We don't recommend kneading this dough by hand, but you can mix it in a bread machine set on the dough cycle, and transfer it to a greased bowl when the machine has finished the kneading process.
  • To bake these rolls without a stone, put the rolls on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes.
  • For extra-crusty crust, add steam to your oven as follows: While the oven is preheating, place an empty cast iron frying pan on the oven rack below the stone. If possible, adjust stone and pan so that the pan isn't directly under the stone, making it easier for steam to reach the baking rolls. Once you’ve placed the rolls in the oven, pour about 1 cup of boiling water into the cast iron frying pan. Steam will billow from the pan upwards to envelop the baking rolls; be sure to wear good oven mitts to shield your hands and arms. Quickly close the oven door to trap the steam.