This week, I’m visiting my home state of Texas. Several of my blogging friends agreed to do guest posts for me. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Jen from My Kitchen Addiction is one of the most genuine and lovely bloggers I’ve ever met. She’s smart as a whip, and makes the most beautiful food. Far more beautiful than I’ve ever attempted. I hope you enjoy her Molasses Dinner Rolls.
I find few things as satisfying as baking homemade bread. I really love everything about it. It is amazing to me that a few simple ingredients can (after a few hours) turn into a beautiful, fresh loaf of bread. Plus, it is a great addition to any meal, and I can’t eat soup or salad without a fresh roll or slice of bread.
I also enjoy the process. My KitchenAid mixer gets plenty of use in my kitchen, but I rarely use it when I make bread. There’s just something stress relieving and calming about kneading bread by hand. Sometimes it’s fun to get my hands dirty, you know?
So, when Amber asked me to write a guest post for Bluebonnets and Brownies, I immediately knew that I should make homemade bread. I bake bread almost every week, and I am always excited to try new recipes.
I had been eying up a recipe for “Dark and Soft Restaurant Dinner Rolls” in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook… You know, the ones that you get at steakhouses that are light, soft, and perfect topped with creamy butter. I used the recipe as a guide to make some rolls of my own. I wanted a rich, dark flavor for the rolls, so I used pumpernickel flour (which is simply whole rye flour) in place of whole wheat flour, and I substituted dark molasses for the honey in the recipe.
Even though these rolls contain pumpernickel flour, they were still light and soft. They are best served warm from the oven. The leftovers can be kept for a day or two, though… Just reheat them in the oven at about 300?F for 5 – 10 minutes until they are warm and toasty.
Molasses Dinner Rolls
Makes 12 rolls
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup dark molasses
2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups pumpernickel flour (whole rye flour)
Approximately 3 cups unbleached bread flour
Begin by combining the water, orange juice, and molasses in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquids, and whisk until the yeast has dissolved.
Add in the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pumpernickel flour, and 1 cup of bread flour. Mix the ingredients together using a dough whisk or a large wooden spoon. Continue to add the bread flour (about 1/2 cup at a time) until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Use your (clean) hands to knead the bread until soft and smooth, adding just enough bread flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until it appears puffy and has almost doubled in volume. Then, punch down the dough, and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball, and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap, and let the rolls rise for another 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until they are puffy.
In the last 30 minutes, as rolls finish rising, preheat the oven to 350?F. Uncover the rolls and slash the tops (if desired). Bake them for about 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 200?F and they sound hollow when lightly tapped.
Cool the rolls slightly on a wire rack before serving.