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A great fan of crusty breads, I’m normally no friend of dinner rolls. I had them sometimes in restaurants, soft, bland and usually so pale that they seemed almost under-baked.
I could never really understand why anybody would prefer to eat these fluff balls with their dinner instead of a nice crispy baguette.
But, fortunately, my baking friend Hanaâ prompted me (again) to overcome my bias against seemingly weird American predilections – with the Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls from Abigail Dodge’s “The Weekend Baker“.
What I like about the book are its practical make-ahead instructions. Being convinced that even enriched doughs benefit from long fermentation, I followed Abby Dodge’s suggestion (option 1), mixing the dough in the evening, and letting it rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight.
I made some changes to the original recipe. In my experience 5 g instant yeast (instead of 7 g) is sufficient for this amount of flour – the dough, even a rich one, will rise well.
Since I like substituting some whole grain for white flour, I also replaced 68 g of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat (adding 16 g water to the dough to make up for the whole grain addition). The amount of sugar in the recipe seemed rather high, so I reduced it by half (to 35 g).
I opted for the poppy seed version, adding 2 tablespoons instead of the measly one. And I mixed all the seeds into the dough, instead of sprinkling them on top of the shaped rolls – I knew from experience that those seeds would fall right off after baking, if there is no egg wash to make them stick.
As with the other recipes I made from “The Weekend Baker”, this one turned out really nice. The rolls were very flavorful, slightly sweet, with a nice crunch from the poppy seeds – and they looked very pretty, too.
And if you can’t eat them all? No problem, they freeze really well, first wrapped in plastic foil, and then placed in a freezer bag.
This is my version of Abigail Dodge’s Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls – the original recipe you can find here
POPPY SEED DINNER ROLLS (16)
8 fl oz half and half
16 g/0.5 oz water
85 g/6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
400 g/14 oz all-purpose flour
68 g/2.5 oz whole wheat flour
5 g instant yeast
35 g/1.25 oz sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsp. poppy seeds
28 g/2 tbsp. melted butter, for glazing
In small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter in the half-and-half, stirring constantly, until mixture registers ca. 125º F/52° C (instant-read thermometer.)
Increase speed to medium-high, and knead for ca. 5 minutes. Dough should be very smooth, and clear bottom of bowl.
Place dough ball into lightly oiled container with lid, turning it around to coat. Cover, and let dough rise 1 1/2 times its original size, then refrigerate overnight.
Lightly grease a 9 x13″ (23 x-33 cm) Pyrex baking dish. Transfer dough to (unfloured) work surface. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces (using a scale), covering them with plastic wrap.
To shape rolls: take one dough piece (or two, with both hands), place on dry work surface, and, with cupped palm, roll it with gentle pressure in tight circles until it forms a taut ball.
Place rolls, seam side down, in prepared baking dish, spacing them evenly. Mist with spray oil and cover with plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Let rolls rise in a warm place until they have grown ca. 1 1/2 times their original size, 45-60 minutes.
Bake rolls for 10 minutes, rotate dish 180 degrees, and continue baking until they are well browned, 10-15 minutes more. Remove rolls from oven and brush with melted butter. Serve warm.