Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pesto Potato Rolls

Homemade bread is something that we all enjoy.  However, the thought of making bread does bring to mind an all day project, with kneading and rising time. With most people's busy lifestyles, the time is just not there. There is an alternative. No, it is not the bread machine. Nothing against the bread machine, but the soft, loaf type bread is not always what we want. The alternative would be a no knead bread with not much rise time that is soft and flavorful, which brings me to this particular recipe.

The final result to my bread baking endeavor was fluffy, pull apart rolls with the flavor of butter and pesto - so it was a tasty ending! These rolls are perfect to serve with soup, salad or any Italian meal.

Pull apart bread is very popular and versatile. There are several savory as well as sweet recipes out there. I chose pesto because it happened to pair well with the dinner I was planning. The other thing that interested me about the recipe (outside of the no knead concept) is that it uses potato in the dough.

Now, let's get to the recipe.  This makes about 2 dozen rolls.

Pesto Potato Rolls
adapted from No Need to Knead

4 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbs quick rising yeast
pinch of black pepper
1- 11 or 12 oz russet potato (peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces)
6 tbs purchased pesto
3/4 cup plus 2 tbs melted unsalted butter (slightly cooled)
2 eggs

Begin by buttering the interior of two 9 inch round cake pans (about 1 1/2 inches deep) and set aside.

The next step is cooking the potatoes. Place 1 tsp salt, potatoes and 3 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir and then cover. The mixture should come to a slow boil. Let potatoes cook for about 20 minutes until done. When done, potato cubes should be able to be pierced with a fork with very little effort. Remove saucepan from heat and mash until all the lumps are gone. Your mixture will be very watery and pourable. Separate out 2 cups of the potato water in a heat proof bowl and discard the rest. Let the mixture cool to about 105 to 115 degrees.

Once the potato mixture has cooled, stir in yeast, pesto, pepper, sugar and other tsp of salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the two eggs together. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup melted butter into potato batter.  Blend until evenly distributed.

Prepare a bowl for rising by buttering the interior. Set aside. Using a wooden spoon, blend the flour into the batter in 1/2 cup increments. After the flour has been mixed in, you should have a smooth and sticky dough. Form the dough into a ball and place in prepared bowl. Turn once to coat each side. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Do not punch down dough after rise time.

Prepare a flat surface by lightly dusting with flour. Roll dough out into 1/3 inch thickness. Then cut out rounds with a 2 1/2 inch cutter.  Keep cutting and re-rolling until the dough has been formed into cut circles. At this point, set up an assembly line. The rounds will be next to the bowl of melted butter (remaining amount of 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) and the pans will be next to the butter.

Dip or brush the top of each round with butter and fold in half. Place in pan with fold on the bottom, or fan side up. Continue to do this until each cake pan has 12 rolls in it. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.

During the rising time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After the rising time is complete, place pans in oven and bake until golden brown on top. Bake time should be about 25 minutes. Let rolls cool in pans for about 20 minutes and invert twice, so golden tops of rolls are face up. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tips and Notes:

1. When you form the dough in the pans it will be slippery and soft. Dough rounds might not fill pan prior to rise time. Just place folded dough rounds in pan evenly spaced.

2. If you want quick results, you can plan ahead the day before, with the changes as follows:
Form the dough by using regular rise yeast and but only melt 1/2 cup of butter for use in creating the dough. Instead of the instructions for the first dough rise, cover the dough and place in refrigerator overnight. The next day, when you are ready to form the rolls, melt the remaining butter. Follow the same instructions above, starting with the information after the first rise. The rise time for chilled dough (after the rolls have been formed) is 30 minutes.
                                   **LAST YEAR: Virginia Blackberry Roll**