Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Which I Entertain Children, Bake Bread, Make a Discovery, and Take a Really Great Photo

Picky Eater had a friend over, and I was thinking of activities they could do together. I thought about making some play dough, but then it occurred to me to have them make real bread instead.

So I whipped up this dough, and let them play with it a while (read: they did the kneading).



Then, they shaped their rolls and I baked them. I also baked some standard-shaped rolls that were not kneaded by dirty second grade fingers. Just because, you know, the rest of us wanted some, too.

Please, please proof your yeast*! I cannot tell you enough just how important this simple step can be. Rarely does yeast not cooperate. It's usually quite willing to munch on your sugar and bulk up like it's meant to. But sometimes, it doesn't. Just today, I had to scrap my proof mixture and start again because a packet of yeast didn't rise. Thanks to proofing, I only had to throw out a cup of milk, a half cup of maple syrup, and a packet of yeast, rather than the entire recipe. Don't get me wrong: it hurt to throw away that syrup especially, but better to restart than to have a failed recipe.

*Proofing is when you combine your warmed liquid, your sweet ingredient, and your yeast, and you let them sit undisturbed for ten minutes or so. At the end of ten minutes, your mixture should have doubled in size. If it hasn't, throw it out. Your yeast is no good.

Maple Dinner Rolls
They're not sweet.


What You Need:
  • 1 cup warm evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (pure, not pancake syrup)
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (can substitute oil)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached King Arthur flour)
How it's Done:
  • Proof your yeast. Combine yeast, warm milk, and warm maple syrup. Stir it up and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Come back 10 minutes later, and stir in the beaten egg, melted butter, and sea salt. Gradually add in flour until a soft dough forms.
  • Knead 6 to 8 minutes until smooth.
  • Let rise for an hour. Punch down, and divide into 24 equal pieces. Now, I like to roll mine into ropes and curl them around in a spiral (I've done it lots of times before), but you can simply roll them into balls and leave them like that. Let them rise another 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes. Brush with melted butter. If you sprinkle them with sea salt and garlic powder, they taste just like Olive Garden's bread sticks. Yeah, next time I'm making them into bread sticks instead of spirals. I'm thrilled with that discovery!
I am really proud of this picture. :) My food photography has come a long way since January 1, 2010.

6 comments:

Yenta Mary said...

That really is a beautiful photo ... :) Makes me want to go bake right now!

heather said...

those sound MIGHTY tasty! and the pictures are beautiful!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

oh yeah these sound good! I love sweet rolls,, can't wait to try these! And I so so SO agree with the proofing step! Been there, done that with unrisen bread. Not as tasty as you'd think LOL :)

chocoholic said...

Those look absolutely scrumptious!

Hillcresthome Prims said...

WHOO HOO that LOOKS so YUMMY and fun for the kiddo's

Blessings,
Tricia

Shonda said...

I agree. It's a great picture! Yummy!

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