Bread. It can be a problem with dinner, because sometimes you just don’t have 4-5 hours to prep contemporary yeast bread or roll recipes. You all know that I prefer to use long, slow fermentations with my yeast breads to produce incredible flavor and crust. But that requires me to start the bread the day BEFORE dinner, which I have to really plan ahead for. So many times, it’s been 6pm and I start cooking dinner and realize that I really need to serve some bread, but a 15-minute biscuit might not be just right… So this evening I developed this recipe that produces a pretty darn decent yeast roll in exactly one hour from start to table. Add some butter and honey, and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven!
In a large microwave-safe measure cup or glass bowl, add:
1 cup buttermilk (use milk if you don’t have buttermilk, but the texture and flavor won’t be as good)
Microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the buttermilk in warm to the touch. (My microwave takes about 45 seconds to reach this temp.) If you heat buttermilk too hot, it will curdle. It’s still okay if this happens, it just looks gross. But you just want it warm to the touch, around 100F. Once it’s warm, add:
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons (or 2 packages) active dry yeast (or 1 package rapid rise yeast)
Stir until well mixed, then let it sit for 15 minutes. It will puff up like this:
Scrape it into a large bowl, and add:
1/4 cup melted butter (unsalted)
2 cups bread flour (all purpose is also okay)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt or sea salt, preferably not iodized)
Stir well until the batter is nice and smooth. Then add:
1/4 cup more flour
Stir it, and it will change from a smooth batter to a ragged hybrid between batter and dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 20 minutes. (If it’s winter and your kitchen is cold, you might place it in the microwave or some other slightly warmer place.) This is the time to preheat your oven to 400F and make sure there’s a rack in the center. After 20 minutes, your batter will have doubled in size:
Get a 9×13 glass pan and spray it liberally with cooking spray or wipe it with oil. Now take a large ice cream scoop, preferably the kind that has the lever that you squeeze that rakes out the ice cream. (I never use these for ice cream, I use them for baking. They sell two sizes, a small one and a large one.) Scoop the batter out into the pan. You’ll be able to get approximately 8 rolls out of this batch:
This makes rustic-looking rolls. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can oil your hand, and dump the batter into your hand, and make them a bit more shapely. But they won’t TASTE any better!
Bake the rolls on the center rack of a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes. And that’s how you make yeast rolls in less than an hour!