I'm late in posting about these, but not for lack of enthusiasm. (Rather, a surfeit of "life," as in "life happens" ~ but I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that a broken laundry appliance, a sick child, a pressing work deadline, and a blissfully diverting family trip to a local cave system all played a role.) These Cracked Wheat Topknots, from page 87 of the February issue of Gourmet magazine, are simply fantastic. Hand-kneaded, fortified with bulgur and whole wheat flour, they are down-to-earth delights.
In the oven, these knots blossom with the aroma of butter and sweet whole wheat. My ever-hungry son was predatorily stalking the oven long before these were ready to emerge. And I confess, even I was growing impatient, lured by the particularly seductive fragrance of these rolls.
This recipe makes a large batch, and they freeze nicely. I suggest, though, that you omit the salt from the top of the knots you plan to freeze, and substitute wheat germ or even sesame seeds instead. The salt will draw moisture to itself, making the rolls soggy upon storage.
I'm not including the recipe for these rolls here because others in our We Bake Gourmet group have already done so, and you can go here or here to get the recipe, if you don't have the February 2009 Gourmet. I did make a few adjustments to the recipe, which are noted in the list below.Be sure to visit my Gourmet-bakers-in-arms ~ Andrea of Andrea's Recipes; Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen (who also designed our cool badge!); Kelly of Sass & Veracity; Courtney of Coco Cooks; and Judy of No Fear Entertaining ~ I'm sure they'll have something wonderful going on in their ovens too.
Tips and Truc
- Ingredient changes: I used salted butter, instant yeast, I omitted the 1/4 cup warm water (not necessary if using instant yeast), honey (instead of sugar), kosher salt (instead of sea salt).
- I mixed the instant yeast with the flour rather than adding it to the wet ingredients.
- I combined the butter with the milk and heated them both together in the microwave until the butter was melted.
- I combined the wet ingredients ~ including the soaked bulgur ~ and then added them to the dry.
- The dough is very sticky at first, but as you knead, the flour will absorb the liquids, and the dough will come together into a nice cohesive ball. To avoid having to add too much additional flour, I kneaded the dough right inside the bowl, using a flexible plastic bowl scraper. If you don't have one, a sturdy spatula will work too. Use it to fold the dough over and "knead" it until relatively smooth. You can flour your hands and knead the few final turns to finish things off. Spray or brush the dough with a bit of oil before covering and allowing to rise.
I'll be submitting this post to the YeastSpotting showcase on the fantastic Wild Yeast blog. Be sure to check in there for lots of terrific bread ideas, gorgeous photos, and plenty of excellent recipes.