I've been baking bread since college (and, yes, it's been a long time since college), but it never ceases to amaze me that I can put the same basic ingredients together, flour, water, yeast, salt, and come up with a different product depending on how much of each, how much time it sits and at what temperature I bake it. French bread, ciabatta, foccacia, sourdough -- it's all the same ingredients, but remarkably different, and all yummy. Man cannot live on bread alone (Mt 4:4), but good bread sure does taste good doesn't it?
On Sunday, with our New England Boiled Dinner (delicious!), I made some dinner rolls and topped them with poppy seeds. How fun they were, same old dinner rolls jazzed up with just the addition of poppy seeds. Thinking ahead, I think they might make a lovely addition to the Easter table.
Poppy Seed Dinner Rollsmakes about 12
3/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. milk
2 t. dry instant yeast (or one packet)
3 T. sugar
2 T. butter softened
1 t. salt
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (depending on your brand and the weather)
Fill measuring cup with 3/4 cup very warm water (not hot).
Add 1/4 cup milk.
Pour into mixing bowl.
Sprinkle with yeast and let rest for 5 minutes.
Add 1 egg and the butter, the salt, and 2 1/2 cups of flour.
With the bread hook, or if by hand, with a spoon, mix dough until completely blended.
Either with the dough hook, or by hand, add flour,
several tablespoons at a time, kneading until dough is soft,
but not awfully sticky, about 6 minutes.
It should pull away from the sides of the bowl, or your fingers, with ease.
Grease or butter bowl and place dough in, turning to coat with oil.
Cover with a cloth and let rest for about an hour.
When dough has about doubled in size, turn out onto the counter and punch down.
Separate into 12 pieces (it's helpful to do this ahead of time
so you get all the same size rolls)
Roll each piece into a 10-inch "snake."
Tie each snake into a knot.
Place knots on a greased baking sheet.
Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for about 30 minutes.
After rolls have risen, beat an egg with a teaspoon of water until frothy.
Using a pastry brush, brush each roll gently.
Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (watch them), or until golden brown.
Remove to a baking rack or roll basket.