This morning I appeared on KARE 11 Today and talked about Herb Dinner Rolls and Italian Wedding Soup. In a previous post I posted the soup recipe (see Recipes for Favorites)and will post the Herb Dinner Rolls today (from Baking Basics and Beyond.) These rolls use fast-rising yeast which is processed so that it only requires one rise. After kneading the dough let it rest for 10 minutes to relax the gluten and then shape into rolls.
As I was leaving the studio I had a question about baking with yeast and decided to post some information here. Two of the most important steps in making bread depend on temperature. The yeast must be softened in warm water, and temperature is the best way to measure doneness in a large loaf. An instant-read thermometer accurately measures both.
Dissolving the Yeast
Yeast requires liquid, food (sugar and flour), and warmth to grow. Dissolving the yeast in warm water is called “proofing” because you are actually proving that the yeast is alive. The yeast can also be combined with the flour and the warm water added to both; using this method, the water can be warmer, and the dough will start rising a little faster. Always use yeast before the expiration date on the package.
Easy Herb Dinner Rolls
Fast-rising yeast makes these rolls easy enough to make any time. I actually purchased herbes de Provence at a market in the South of France. It usually includes basil, marjoram, sage, thyme, rosemary, and lavender. You can use any combination of herbs you like. Ive also used an Italian herb blend.
MAKES 12 ROLLS
1 (1/4-ounce) package fast-rising yeast
1 cup warm water (105–115°F)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening
2 1/2–3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Sprinkle yeast into warm water in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Add sugar and shortening and stir. Let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and herbes de Provence and beat until well mixed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Save at least 1/4 cup of flour to add while kneading the dough.
Place dough on well-floured surface and shape it into a ball. Place your fingers on top of dough ball, curled slightly, and pull dough toward you; then push it away, using palms of your hands. Turn dough 1/4 turn and repeat. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 8 minutes.
To judge whether dough has been sufficiently kneaded, place it on work surface, pull both ends gently, and release. Dough should be elastic and spring back. Little blisters of air should be visible just under the surface.
Cover and let dough rest 10 minutes. I just invert a bowl over the dough.
Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Punch dough down and divide it into 12 pieces. Shape dough into balls by pulling the sides underneath forming a smooth top. Place in prepared pan.
Cover pan and let dough rise in a warm place about 30 minutes or until rolls have doubled in volume. Test by pressing dough lightly. If your finger leaves only a slight imprint the dough is ready.
Heat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Bake rolls 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. After rolls are removed from oven, brush them with melted butter.