Remember last weekend when I talked about how we'd eaten leftovers quite a few nights the previous week, and how I would probably be really motivated to make up for it by cooking new dinners this week. Guess what? It didn't happen :) In fact, I cooked the exact same chicken dish on Tuesday and Thursday, and on Monday I whipped up a meat sauce that we also had for leftovers on Wednesday. (I even had the nerve to add carrots to the meat sauce, which, if you read regularly, you'll understand was not exactly a popular decision with Shane - he ate them though!) It was all tasty, but pretty boring. As a compromise, I made these rolls for us to have a few nights. Warm homemade bread always elevates a ho-hum meal to another level in my mind.
These are not your standard soft dinner rolls; they're more crisp on the outside with a tender interior. I enjoyed eating them by pulling apart the individual pieces of each roll. The original recipe called for sprinkling poppy seeds on the rolls before baking - I omitted them since we're not fans but if you're so inclined the rolls did look really nice topped with them in the gorgeous photo in the book. Sesame seeds might also be a nice way to jazz these up. I've included instructions for making the rolls in a stand mixer, but you could definitely do it by hand in a bowl too. It's a nice dough to work with so it wouldn't be terribly difficult. Also, as I mention below, these rolls are definitely best when served warm. If you have leftovers like we did (or make them ahead), just wrap them in aluminum foil and rewarm them in a 350 degree oven - they'll be as good as new, and they'll definitely make your leftover nights more exciting!
adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups (14 oz) all-purpose flour
1 egg, well beaten (for egg wash)
Combine the milk, butter and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over low just until the butter melts. Set aside and cool to 105-115 F.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, salt and flour. Mix briefly to combine. Once the milk mixture cools sufficiently, turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the liquid down the side of the mixing bowl and beat until a rough dough forms. Continue to knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too sticky you can add a little bit of flour, and if it seems dry (like mine did) add a bit more milk.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Add the dough, turning to coat, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal portions. Divide each of those portions into thirds. Roll each of the 3 pieces into small balls (they don't have to be perfect) and place them in one of the wells of the muffin pan in a triangle shape. Repeat with the other portions of dough. Cover the muffin pan with a kitchen towel and let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the rolls are puffed and golden and the sides are crisp. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and remove the rolls from the pan immediately. The rolls are best when served warm, but if you make them ahead of time you can re-warm them before you serve - wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and pop in a 350 F oven for about 15 minutes.