Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Perfect Buttery Soft Dinner Rolls

I love butter rolls or parker house rolls as they will call it here in the States.

Not just any butter rolls but the butter rolls as I remember it from my childhood. The good old days when all steakhouses make their own fresh off the oven butter rolls served with a cold slab of butter. The soft pillowy rolls, nice and warm and you can just see the cold butter melting into the roll as you are spreading it. *Bliss*

Believe me, I have tried many versions of butter rolls, dinner rolls and parker house rolls recipe I can find online and in cookbooks. None of them manage to yield the result of the butter roll I was looking for till one day, I learned about the water roux baking method. As I have discussed in my maiden post about water roux, the method does gives the bread that spongy soft texture I was looking for. Incorporating enough butter into the dough to get that great buttery flavor was another method. Too much and your rolls will turned out greasy, too little and you can't detect any butter presence at all.

After endless trials and errors, I have finally managed to develop the right texture and buttery flavor for the perfect dinner rolls. It was an instant hit with my family and friends, so much so that it is now a staple whenever good old warm buttery dinner rolls is called for.

Perfect Buttery Soft Dinner Rolls

285gm King Arthur's Bread Flour (or any brand bread flour of your choice)
60gm sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6g active yeast
1/2 egg, beaten
85ml warm milk
84g water roux
40 gm softened butter
12 cubes of cold butter (1/4 of a tablespoon each)


Step 1: Measure out flour, sugar, salt in a large bowl.
Step 2: Mix warm milk and yeast in a cup. Let sit 5 minutes till yeast begins to foam.
Step 3: Combine flour-mix with yeast, milk and water roux. Mix till it forms a dough.
Step 4: Remove dough onto a granite or wood surface. Knead with hand for 5 minutes.
Step 5: Slowly, work in the softened butter. Continue kneading till dough is soft and pliable (about 20 minutes).

To test, make a dent in the middle of the dough with your finger. The dent should stay.

Step 6: Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let proof on the kitchen counter for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Step 7: Deflate dough. Divide it into 12 pieces. Flatten with your hand and place a cube of cold butter in the center. Crimp edges to seal. Place dough, crimp side down in a muffin tins. Continue with remainder dough.

Step 8: Let dough proof again, covered with a damp towel on kitchen counter for 30 to 45 minutes for second proofing.

Step 9: Preheat oven to 350F or 176C. Bake for 15 minutes till rolls are golden brown. Let rest for 10 minutes and served warm.

Note: The dough can be made a day ahead of time. Just skip the second proofing. Shape butter rolls and placed in muffin tins. Cover with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

To bake the next day, remove the plastic wrap from the tin first. Place a damp kitchen towel over bread dough.Let dough sit on counter till it comes to room temperature and dough is done rising, about 45 mins.  Bake as directed.

For freezing, Shape butter rolls and placed in muffin tins. Cover with plastic wrap and foil. Let sit in freezer till hardened, about 2 hours. Remove dough from muffin tins. Place frozen bread dough in freezer bags. When ready to bake, thaw bread dough in muffin tins on kitchen counter till it comes to room temperature (about 1 1/2 hour). Don't forget to cover bread dough with a damp kitchen towel whilst thawing. Bake as mentioned above.

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