Simple no-knead rolls

No Knead Rolls

The other day, I willingly described myself as a “kink” in a friend’s life – a wrinkle, an entanglement. I meant it as a placation – don’t worry about me; I know I’m a needless complication. I’ve reflected on that pronouncement. That is not what I want for myself. As I stumble through life, a guiding principle I’ve considered is what my family and closest friends would say at my funeral; how do I want my headstone to read as a testament to my life? It’s most certainly not:

Here lies Phoren,
a needless complication
RIP

Speaking of needless complications, I’ve been baking these surprisingly simple (knead-less) rolls this season for my holiday entertaining. There’s nothing that says “welcome to my home” like the smell of yeast bread baking in the oven (well, maybe chocolate chip cookies).

Simple No-knead rolls
Adapted from Real Simple’s no-knead onion rolls
Makes 9 rolls

1 cup Warm tap water (107° to 110° F)
1 .25 oz. package active dry yeast
1 Large egg
4 Tablespoons Unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 Tablespoons Sugar
½ teaspoon Salt
3 cups All-purpose flour
a combination of chopped fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary, Kalamata olives, caramelized onions, or crisp bacon, etc.
2 teaspoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Place warm tap water in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, sugar, and salt. Add the flour and any herbs or additions and mix until a sticky dough forms. Brush the top of the dough with the olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour (I turn the oven to 250° and set the bowl near the oven vent). Butter a 8-inch baking pan. Punch the dough down. With well-floured hands, form the dough into 9 balls and place in the prepared pan, spacing evenly. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size,  about 40 minutes. Heat oven to 400° F. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until the rolls are golden, 18 to 22 minutes (tent with foil if the tops brown too quickly). Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with plenty of butter.

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