Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pine Nut and Mozzarella Bread Rolls

Again I have brought out the pine nuts for another recipe.  It has been awhile since I have eaten homemade dinner rolls, but I was in the mood for something with some flavor, instead of just plain bread.  While there are are lot of herbed breads and rolls out there, I still wanted something different but I did not want to go so far as to have an extreme ingredient in them.  By extreme, I mean something that you have to special order or go to a gourmet shop to get.

I was flipping through some cookbooks and came across this recipe.  While this recipe did not have any picture to entice me, it still had some interesting ingredients.  I have made bread with cheddar, but never mozzarella.  And yes, that is mozzarella in the photo-not butter!

While these rolls were not eye catching on the surface, I do believe that the inside makes up for that!  The fluffy bread, stringy mozzarella and crunchy pine nuts did come together to make a tasty bread roll.  In fact, I ate one and then tucked them away for dinner.  I did crave several more, but I left the house to so some things outside to take my mind off of these.  It was not easy, especially since I was the only one the actually knew how many I made.  The original recipe below makes about 16 rolls. It is best not to reveal this number when you make them.  That way you can enjoy a few by yourself without inquiring minds!

Before you get into this recipe, I just wanted to give a shout out of thanks to Lacy at NY City Eats for passing along an award called: Irresistible Sweet Blog.  I was so happy to receive this particular one!  Lacy is a culinary graduate and I would like to see her succeed and find her special place in the culinary world. She does have creative talent for flavor fusion and is very comfortable making savory as well as sweet dishes. A few that come to mind are Lobster Eggs Benny and the Boozy Apple Pear Tart. So stop on in and say hi to Lacy at NY City Eats, I am sure her creations will make you appreciate the Big Apple a little bit more!

 Pine Nut and Mozzarella Bread Rolls
adapted from Baking Bread: Old and New Traditions

Ingredients/ Sponge

1/3 cup wheat bran (I ground up bran cereal)
3 cups all purpose or bread flour
1 tbs or 1 package yeast
2 1/2 cups of warm water

Ingredients/Bread Dough
1 recipe of prepared sponge (above)
8 oz mozzarella, cut into 1/2 in cubes
1 1/2 to 2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup pine nuts
2 tsp salt
Egg wash-1 egg, 1 tbs water, pinch of salt

To make sponge, fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top, then stir until it dissolves.  Add the rest of the sponge ingredients and beat, using the paddle attachment for about 1 minute.  The mixture should be smooth with no dry streaks of flour.  Cover and let set at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours.  You can make it up to 3 days ahead and then refrigerate after the 4 hours.  Let come to room temp before using to make dough.

To create the dough, add the olive oil, 1 cup of flour and salt to the sponge mixture.  Beat at medium speed for about 1 minute.  Continue to add flour in 1/4 cup intervals, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  The dough should come to a point where it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Change out the batter blade to a kneading hook and knead, using the mixer on medium for 2 minutes. Then form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl and turn to coat the top.  Cover and let rise at room temp until tripled in volume about 2-2 1/2 hours.

During the rise time, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place pine nuts in oven and let toast for about 8-10 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.  Turn off oven. Also, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

After dough has tripled, punch down.  Lightly dust a flat surface and roll out dough to a large rectangle.  Sprinkle pine nuts evenly over the surface, then press lightly to adhere.  Then place the cheese cubes evenly on the surface, pressing them down also.

Fold the dough over and knead so that the cheese and pine nuts are evenly distributed.  Then separate the dough into 16 pieces and shape into a tight round.  Make sure that the cheese chunks are sufficiently covered by the dough.  Place each piece one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Cover rolls lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 After the rising time, remove plastic wrap. Then take a pair of kitchen shears and snip the top of the roll in a row of three snips.  Place pans in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pans from front to back and top to bottom after the 10 minutes and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove bread from oven.

Stir the egg wash with a fork so it has a little froth.  Then brush egg wash across the top of all of the bread rolls.  Place them back in the oven to bake until done, about 5-10 minutes more.

These are best eaten the same day they are baked.

My dough was sticky to work with the whole time
For a high rise roll, it is important that the dough is made small and tight when put on baking sheet
It is inevitable that some mozzarella will seep out in baking, but due to parchment it will not burn and does not harm the taste.
These rolls do not turn very brown when baking.
                 **LAST YEAR: Date Bar Pie**