Back in December, a group of fellow food bloggers and I got together for a 12 Cookies of Christmas posting event, put together by Andrea, of Andrea's Recipes. For that cookie-making extravaganza, we dove into Gourmet's special feature of favorite cookies from its own history (all the way back to the 1940s), and we each made a different batch of cookies a day for the first twelve days of December. That was such fun (believe it or not), we decided to come together again, and this time, we're taking on the February 2009 issue of Gourmet magazine's cover feature, "Roll with It."
We're each choosing four of the six featured recipes to make this month, one each week, and as with our cookie baking, we'll be making our selections independently of each other, so the posts will vary on each of our blogs.
When you're done here, 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.
This week, my choice was the Parmesan Pull-Aparts from pages 86 and 87 of the February issue of Gourmet. My version, which appears here, differs slightly from the version that appears in the magazine, mainly due to the changes I made to accommodate my preference for instant dry yeast over active dry yeast. If you have active dry yeast and want to use it, just pick up a copy of the magazine for the original recipe. I rarely, if ever, use active dry yeast anymore, as instant yeast is much more productive and I can find it in two-pound combo packs at Sam's Club. (Oh yeah, that's right, 2 pounds. Once you open a pound, you can keep it in a glass jar in the fridge ~ perfectly convenient.) Incidentally, instant yeast, bread machine yeast, and RapidRise yeast are all the same thing. Feel free to use them interchangeably.
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast granules
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
- 1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup milk, warmed to 105-115 degrees F (skim okay)
- 3 large eggs, divided
- 5 tablespoons butter, softened, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon water
- In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar, flour, salt, and cheese; whisk together. Add milk and beat at low speed with the paddle attachment until dry ingredients are moistened.
- Increase speed to medium and beat in the first egg. Add second egg and beat well. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl and paddle occasionally. Continue to beat until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Start beating in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is elastic ~ about 2 more minutes. The dough will still be very sticky at this point.
- Scrape dough into center of bowl, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let sit at warm room temperature for about 2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
- Gently punch dough down but don't knead it. Turn it out onto a floured surface. Don't worry ~ the dough will be very gassy and light, but it won't be all that sticky. The flour you dusted it with before will keep it from sticking to the bowl; it should come out fairly neatly.
- Gently form the dough into a rectangular shape. Go easy here ~ you don't want to press the gas out of the dough, you just want it to form a rough rectangle so it's easier to cut into equal pieces.
- Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, and then into 12 equal(ish) parts.
- Roll each part into a ball and place in a greased 9" x 2" cake pan, leaving space between the balls.
- Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till rolls have puffed and fill the pan.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush over tops of raised rolls in pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen rolls. Invert onto a large spatula or a small rack and then invert again onto a cooling rack. Cool at least 20 minutes before pulling apart and eating.
Makes 12 rolls.
Tips and Truc:
- I use a metal bench scraper to cut my dough. If you don't have one, you can use a serrated bread knife. Flour the dough first so the knife doesn't catch on it.
- To form smooth, round rolls, I used the same method that I use with my hamburger buns. I hold the dough in one hand and use the other to draw the top "skin" of the dough around and down, gathering it below the ball of dough. Then I twist this little nub and flatten it, and place the ball of dough smooth-side up in the pan. This method gives my rolls a really uniform roundedness, and it's so much easier than trying to roll the balls of dough into perfect spheres.
- Not all of my rolls would fit into my cake pan without excessively crowding them. I had one roll left over, which I baked separately.
- I used shredded Parmesan to make the dough, but I sprinkled a bit of grated Parmesan on top of my rolls before putting them in the oven. You can go with just the egg wash for nice, shiny tops, or you can sprinkle with Parmesan, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds before baking if you like a bit of texture.
- Like most yeast breads, these are at their prime shortly after they're baked. If you want to keep them longer (good luck with that!), you can wrap them in waxed paper or plastic wrap, then in foil, and freeze them. When you're ready to serve, just thaw at room temperature and reheat on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until warm.
- Don't manhandle the dough. When you are forming it into a rectangular shape and cutting it, be as gentle as possible to avoid pressing out the air. Pat, don't punch or press!