The grey gloom of dreaded El Niño has me craving all things warm, cozy and most importantly filling. Which means more often than not I've got a hankering for bread. I am a certified carb lover and proud of it. Atkins be damned! There is nothing better in this world than warm bread smothered with soft, creamy butter. Such bliss I tell you.
I first saw this Cook's Illustrated recipe for Fluffy Dinner Rolls back in December but never got around to making it because I was completely ensconced in Christmas baking and candy making. On a gloomy day like today I couldn't think of anything better than these rolls with a bowl of piping, hot soup.
Its moniker does not lie - these rolls are super fluffy and utterly delicious. Similar to all other CI recipes this one is really foolproof and simple as 1-2-3. The delicious aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven cannot be rivaled. With such deliciousness at my fingertips I can take on whatever El Niño brings.
Fluffy Dinner Rolls
Makes 12 rolls
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons bread flour
1/2 cup cold milk
1 large egg
2 cups (11 oz) bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted
For the Flour Paste: Whisk water and flour together in small bowl until no lumps remain. Microwave, whisking every 20 seconds, until mixture thickens to stiff, smooth, pudding-like consistency that forms mound when dropped from end of whisk into bowl, 40 to 80 seconds.
For the Dough: In bowl of stand mixer, whisk flour paste and milk together until smooth. Add egg and whisk until incorporated. Add flour and yeast. Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on low speed until all flour is moistened, 1 to 2 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Add sugar and salt and mix on medium-low speed for 5 minutes. With mixer running, add softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue to mix on medium-low speed 5 minutes longer, scraping down dough hook and sides of bowl occasionally (dough will stick to bottom of bowl).
Transfer dough to very lightly floured counter. Knead briefly to form ball and transfer, seam side down, to lightly greased bowl; lightly coat surface of dough with vegetable oil spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Grease 9-inch round cake pan and set aside. Transfer dough to counter. Press dough gently but firmly to expel all air. Pat and stretch dough to form 8 by 9-inch rectangle with short side facing you. Cut dough lengthwise into 4 equal strips and cut each strip crosswise into 3 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, stretch and press dough gently to form 8 by 2-inch strip. Starting on short side, roll dough to form snug cylinder and arrange shaped rolls seam side down in prepared pan, placing 10 rolls around edge of pan, pointing inward, and remaining 2 rolls in center. Cover with plastic and let rise until doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
When rolls are nearly doubled, adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls until deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rolls cool in pan on wire rack for 3 minutes; invert rolls onto rack, then reinvert. Brush tops and sides of rolls with melted butter. Let rolls cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.