During the holiday season, even those of us who already love cooking seem to expend a little more effort making meals for friends. To me, there is nothing that says "made with love" than homemade dinner rolls on a holiday table. The aroma of just-baked bread in the kitchen on Christmas morning is as wonderful as any fresh-cut Christmas tree--spoken like a true food fan. I have a big collection of buns, rolls, and breads (to be revealed in Ballantine's THE GREAT BIG BOOK OF SIDE DISHES next fall), but these fluffy potato have rolls become my favorite, and they will riding shotgun with my baked ham this year. Take a look at this tall beauty...Read on to find out why potato rolls are so wonderful. (Photo by Ben Fink.)
Fluffy Potato Rolls
Makes 1 dozen
Serve with just about any roast or stew, from beef to chicken, as part of a buffet or barbecue
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: About 2½ hours
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Make Ahead: The rolls can be baked up to 8 hours ahead and served the same day, or frozen in airtight bags for up to 1 month.
When I tell you that these are the fluffiest, lightest rolls on earth, I mean it. Cooked potatoes replace some of the flour, which reduces the gluten to increase the rolls’ tenderness. I don’t make them for every dinner party only because sometimes I don’t have the time to make the mashed potatoes. You’ll see recipes that use leftover or instant mashed potatoes, but don't be deceived—these big rolls are best with freshly cooked spuds.
1 medium baking potato, such as russet, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ cup sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
1 large egg, at room temperature
One ¼-ounce package instant (quick-acting or bread machine) yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
1½ teaspoons fine salt (table or plain, not kosher)
3 1/4 cups (465 grams) unbleached bread flour, as needed
Softened butter, for the bowl and baking dish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid, for brushing the rolls
1. Put the potato chunks in a small saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a brisk simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain in a wire sieve over a bowl, reserving the cooking water. Rub the potatoes through the sieve into a bowl. Measure ½ cup of cooked potatoes and 2/3 cup of cooking water, discarding the remaining potatoes and water.
2. To make the dough in a stand mixer: Pour the reserved cooking water and potatoes into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer (or a large bowl). Add the sugar, melted butter, egg, yeast, and salt. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. On low speed, gradually add enough flour to make a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. Change to the dough hook. Mix on medium-low speed until the dough is soft, supple, and elastic, occasionally pulling the dough down as it climbs up the dough hook, about 8 minutes.
To make the dough by hand: Pour the reserved cooking water and potatoes into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, melted butter, egg, yeast, and salt. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a dough that is too stiff to stir. Turn out the dough to a floured work surface. Knead, adding more flour as needed, to make a soft, supple dough, about 10 minutes. The dough will be somewhat tacky, but do not add too much flour. If the dough does not stick excessively to the work surface, then it has enough flour. Generously butter a medium bowl. Add the dough to the bowl, turn to coat with the butter, and leave smooth side up. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Generously butter a medium bowl. Add the dough to the bowl, turn to coat with the butter, and leave smooth side up. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. Butter an 11 ½ X 8 X 2-inch baking pan. Cut the dough into 12 equal portions. (If you have a kitchen scale, weigh the ball of dough and divide the weight by 12. Each ball will weight about 79 grams.) Shape each dough portion into a taut ball. Place the balls, spaced evenly apart with the smooth sides up, in the baking pan. Cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until the balls have almost doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
5. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
6. Brush the the tops of the balls with melted butter, reserving the remaining butter. Bake until the rolls are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Brush the hot rolls with the remaining butter. Let stand for 10 to 30 minutes. Serve warm. (The rolls can be cooled, wrapped in aluminum foil, and stored at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Reheat, wrapped in the foil, in a preheated 375ºF oven until hot, about 10 minutes. Or freeze the rolls in a plastic storage bag for up to 1 month. Thaw and reheat the frozen rolls before serving.)
Categories: Dinner Rolls