Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Raisin Rolls

As I was toiling lazing away doing nothing but trying to stay cool in this scorching heat wave, I suddenly got the bright idea to make raisin rolls (which wasn't so bright after all since I had to turn the oven on and make the house hotter).   I didn't want cinnamon rolls, just homemade rolls with raisins.

I usually throw a bunch of ingredients into a bowl relying on my vast knowledge of recipes, but this time I went to the web to look for one---just for an approximation of quantities. While looking, I found an interesting site by a cook who spoke of a certain method I had never heard of....hmmm,  I didn't do that this time but maybe I'll try it at a later date.  Here's the site with this new method.

Anybody ever heard of the "tangzhong" method for light and soft bread?

Luckily, my rolls turned out very well without using that method.

Here's my recipe:

Proof a packet of regular yeast in a bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and 1/4 cup warm water.

While the yeast is proofing, soak about 1 cup of raisins in water.  (Before using, drain them.)

When the yeast is foaming about 15 minutes later,  stir in 1 egg, 1/4 cup of water, 5 tablespoons of melted butter (use real butter),  3-5 teaspoons sugar,  1/2 cup half&half, and a 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Mix well.

To this wet mixture add  2 1/2 cups of flour.  Mix well, then knead it for a minute or two.  Shape it into a ball and put it back into the bowl with  plastic wrap on top to double in size.  (30+minutes) The rising time was very fast for me because my kitchen was quite warm.

After it has doubled,  punch it down and let it double in size again. (30+mins.)

After doubling for the second time,  turn it out on a well floured counter to knead for a couple of minutes more.

Roll it out so it's about 6 x 10 inches,  drop the raisins on top and press them into the soft dough.  Then fold the dough like folding a business letter in thirds.  Then roll that folded dough out again but not so much. It should be about 4x8 inches and pretty thick. Now, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  When rolling the dough with the rolling pin, don't roll so much that you push out the air bubbles.

Roll each piece just a very little with the rolling pin,  then with your fingers, roll the piece up into a small jelly roll and place it into a buttered round baking tin.  Make sure the open end is facing down in the tin.  Place all 6 rolled pieces into the pan (there will be empty space around each piece). It will look like the spokes of a wheel.

Place the plastic wrap on the top and let the rolls rise until almost double in size.  Meanwhile, turn the oven on to preheat at 350 degrees.

Before baking, swab the tops of the risen rolls with an egg beaten together with 1 tablespoon of water.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  My oven runs on the hot side, so it might take 35 minutes in your oven.

Let them cool before eating.

I ate one after it had cooled and it was very soft and yummy.  I put the remaining 5 in a zip lock bag in the fridge to eat at a later date.  They could be frozen, too.

The next day I sliced one of the rolls from the fridge and put it in the toaster to warm it.  Quite delicious it was with a good helping of butter and raspberry jam.

This first picture was taken after I had just dabbed the tops with the egg mixture.  They have already risen to almost twice their size,  now they're ready to pop into the oven.

These next two pictures were taken right after coming from the oven.

The texture and taste of these rolls remind me of a good brioche or a braided Challah.  It has a little sweetness to it, plus it is buttery in flavor. 

Pictures of the slices, not toasted and toasted, the next day.

As you can see, I like a little bread with my butter!

If you don't want rolls, you could just roll the entire dough jelly roll style and put it into a loaf pan for a big loaf of bread...your choice.

Here's hoping you're having a good week!


P.S.   The hot weather continues in my corner of the world, each day is at least 92 degrees with yesterday and today reaching 98 degrees...and still no rain to perk up the grass and flowers...

...at this point, we could really use a long steady rain to soak into the parched earth.

****I'm keeping myself perked up with plenty of fresh produce and ice cold glasses of rosé.****

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