Friday, October 22, 2010

Feather Rolls for Dave

Today I received a disheartened email from my friend Dave who had a disaster story about his attempt with my feather roll recipe. The first thing that came to my mind was that I wished I lived closer to him so I could pop in and give him a quick personal tutoring on baking these rolls.

That wasn’t possible. So I pulled up my blog on feather rolls to reference and to make sure the measurements were correct. Then I armed my husband with the camera thinking that a picture is worth a thousand words and started mixing and measuring.

I originally blogged on feather rolls for Dave. He was craving his grandmother's rolls and wasn't having much luck finding the right recipe. That’s when I suggested that he try my feather roll recipe. So as you can imagine, I was bummed that they didn’t turn out for him as I had hoped.

I always use my stand up mixer when I make bread dough and have been doing so for years. Dave didn’t have one available for him to use so he went the old fashioned route (which I haven’t done since the arrival of my stand up mixer).

When I posted the feather roll recipe I didn't think about how much muscle it would take to hand mix the dough. Sure made me appreciate my Kitchen Aid and remind me what a slacker I have been when it comes to baking bread. I actually enjoyed putting away the stand up mixer and fully engaging myself into this process. It was quite fulfilling.

STEP BY STEP FEATHER ROLLS (I hope this helps)

Place 2 cups of flour and 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast in a large mixing bowl and mix to blend.

Peel and cut a med sized potato in to small chunks. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are very soft. Drain and place in a small bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher (about 1/2 cup, a little more or less is fine).

Add to the mashed potatoes 1/3 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp. salt and 1 1/2 cups of hot tap water(110 degrees), mix to blend. Pour into the bowl with the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula (I used a spatula).
Dough with 2 cups of flour.
Dough with 3 cups of flour.  Mixing with the spatula from the sides to the center rather than in a circular motion.  Pulling towards you to the center then back to the side rotating the bowl as you do this.
Dough with 4 cups of flour.  The dough is getting tougher to mix at this point so I give up the spatula and dust my hand with flour and start to knead the dough in the bowl adding 1/4 cup of flour at a time.  I still have another 1/2 cup of flour and I know the only way that I'm going to incorporated it is to knead it in by hand.
So I make an executive decision and place the dough on the counter and knead in the last 1/2 cup.

I put the 1/2 cup of flour on top of the dough to show how much flour was left and that there was no way that I could mix it in with a spoon or in the bowl.  I pushed the flour off the top and gradually kneaded the flour into the dough until the dough was soft and elastic.
 Dough with all 5 cups of flour after it was kneaded.
I placed my dough ball into the same bowl that I mixed it in without cleaning it.  Covered it with plastic and a kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 hour.  
I didn't refrigerate the dough so I could hurry it along for this experiment.
After an hour the dough was more than doubled.
Loosen the plastic wrap and punch the dough down on top of the plastic 
so the dough wont stick to your hands.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly by bringing in the sides to the middle and pushing down with the heal of your hand while pushing away from you.  Rotate the dough and knead a few times until the dough is not to sticky. 
 Roll dough up into a log.
Gently roll to lengthen.
Cut into portions.  I made 4 rolls for this experiment and 
the rest of the dough went into a zip top bag and in to the fridge.
If this dough had been in the fridge it would need about 10 - 15 minutes to rest covered (so it wont dry out) on the counter and it will be easier to work with.
Shape rolls by pinching and pushing the seams together or just rolling them then pinching any seams that you may find closed.  Place rolls pinched side down.
Place rolls in a lightly greased baking dish.  Cover with plastic and a kitchen towel until doubled in size. 
The dough has doubled.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.
These rolls were light as feathers.  Taste just like those airy white dinner rolls we all grew up with.  I would say that this recipe works.  But it does takes a little more effort than if you were to use a stand up mixer.

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