Friday, July 29, 2011

Petits Pains: French Bread Rolls

I love, love, love bread.  It is clearly one of the greatest cooking achievements ever made.  I've been intrigued since I was a little girl - in fact, making bread is one of my first cooking memories.  
When I happened upon a recipe, by Jocatlin, at for French Bread Rolls, I immediately wanted to try it.  It's not that I've never made French breads before, just that I'm always looking for a great new one!
This one is really good - tasty, smells great, right amount of chew.  Lovely!  Plus, it was really quick and easy.  So, next time you want some wonderful fresh bread - why not make it yourself?  These rolls are definitely better than anything you're going to get at the supermarket!  Yummy!

Petits Pains
Adapted from Jocatlin at All Recipes

1 1/2 cups water, warm (110°)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
4 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil

1.  Place 1/4 cup of the water in a small bowl.  Gently stir in the sugar and yeast.  Let the yeast bloom for five minutes.

2.  In a the bowl of a food processor, stir 2 cups of the flour together with the salt using a wooden spoon.  Add the vegetable oil, yeast mixture, and remaining 1 1/4 cups water.

3.  Stir rapidly with the wooden spoon (or use the paddle attachment) until the mixture is completely smooth.

4.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the remaining flour.  Stir with the wooden spoon to form a shaggy dough.

5.  Using the dough hook, knead the dough in the mixer for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  As the dough kneads, add more of the remaining flour a little at a time, if it is at all sticky (I ended up using 3 1/4 cups flour total).

6.  Form the dough into a ball.  Lightly oil the bowl.  Place the dough upside down in the bowl and turn to coat.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

7.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

8.  Gently flatten the dough.  Cut it into 16 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  Place each ball on the baking sheet, evenly spaced.  Cover the baking sheet loosely with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place for about 45-60 minutes or until the balls have doubled in size.

9.  Preheat the oven to 400°.

10.  Remove the cloth from the bread.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the rolls reach an internal temperature of 200° - 210°.

11.  Transfer the rolls to a rack to cool.  Serve!

*Note: the original recipe suggests using a egg wash for a shiny crust (1 egg white beaten with 1 tbsp water, brushed on just before baking).  I didn't use the glaze for allergy reasons, but recommend it!  The effort is minimal and the outcome beautiful!

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