Thursday, December 1, 2011
Potato Rolls with Compound Herb Butter
I've never made potato rolls before, so I was a little nervous to give these a shot, which was exacerbated by the fact that I was trying them out just hours before Thanksgiving dinner. What can I say, I make good choices.
But what I ended up with was a dream. A dinner roll so light, you'll have to weigh it down with a tablespoon of butter just so it doesn't float off your plate. And no, we're not talking plain butter from the fridge. I mean butter that's had a night full of bad choices and is knocked up with flavor.
What, too far?
Fine, let's focus on the rolls. These potato rolls are impossibly light and fluffy. Almost too light. Looking at them, you expect there to be a thin crust, or that they'll have a slight chew to them, but no, you'll have to actually check and make sure you took a bite and aren't just chewing on air. You bite into an incredibly soft, tight crumb, a perfect vehicle for herbacious, savory herb butter.
In terms of prep, I found that this dough needed a lot of time to rise. Recipe says 60-90 minutes? I needed the full 90. And for that first hour, I was white knuckling it, trying not to stare at the dough and will it to rise with the power of my mind, because I did not have a backup plan and these needed to beat out the reigning Thanksgiving favorite- popovers.
In my mind, there was no contest. Popovers are too eggy for my taste (and come with their own nail biting moments), and rolls just felt right this year. These would make the perfect addition to any dinner, not just a holiday. They're a great, classic, satisfying dinner roll. Made even better with some pumped up butter!
Yield 16-18 rolls
1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp., plus 1 tsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup reserved potato water
1/2 package (1 1/8 tsp) active dry yeast
2 1/2 - 3 cups bread flour
Compound Herb Butter (recipe below)
1. Boil potato until tender. Drain but reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add 1 tsp of sugar to cooking liquid and set aside. Mash cooked potato with a fork and measure out 1/2 cup. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Transfer the cooled potato to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, butter, honey, salt, and egg. Mix on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.
3. Combine the milk and potato water and heat (I microwaved) until at least 105 degrees, but no hotter than 115. Add the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes.
4. Pour yeast mixture into potato mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook and begin adding the flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing no higher than speed 2, adding more flour as necessary to achieve a soft, slightly tacky dough. Continue to mix until a small pinch of dough can be stretched paper thinly without immediately tearing, 5-7 minutes.
5. Transfer dough to a well oiled bowl and cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and let rise for 75-90 minutes.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife or bench scraper, divide the dough in quarters. Cut each quarter into 4 pieces and shape each piece into rolls. Place onto the prepared baking sheet and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
7. Sprinkle rolls with a dusting of flour and let rise again, another 45 minutes. It's completely fine if the rolls grow into each other. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly golden brown. Serve warm with herb butter.
Recipe adapted from The Boastful Baker
Compound Herb Butter
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (basil, rosemary, flat leaf parsley, etc.)
In the bowl of a small food processor (or by hand with a fork), combine all ingredients. Pulse until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer butter to a sheet of plastic wrap, cover, and roll into a log. Store in the freezer long-term, or the refrigerator short-term. Remove from the fridge for 10-15 minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly. Serve alongside your favorite dinner roll.