It's not even November yet, but I have Thanksgiving on the brain. I'm starting early this year testing potential recipes in the hope of avoiding lots of the usual last minute stress associated with choosing a menu. It's so unlike me! Not to worry, I'm still procrastinating on a million and one other things, but at least the Thanksgiving dishes won't be up in the air...
I started with rolls, which I realize is sort of ironic given that I just told you about 4 days ago that I wasn't really into bread these days, but hear me out. Rolls simply aren't optional on Thanksgiving. Even if they aren't a big hit around the dinner table (and with so many other dishes to try, they often aren't), they're always appreciated when it's time to start making sandwiches with all of the leftover turkey. A homemade roll can really turn sometimes boring leftovers into something special!
I thought this recipe was really good. As you've probably already gathered, the rolls are made with buttermilk as well as orange zest. The buttermilk gives them just a tiny bit of tanginess, and though the orange flavor itself was actually pretty subtle, the little specks of orange zest visible throughout the rolls were so pretty! If you look closely in the photo directly above, I think you can see them :) Texturally, they're light and fluffy, but still sturdy. I used a few to make pulled pork sliders if that's any indication of what they can handle! If you divide the dough into 13 pieces as suggested, you'll get fairly large rolls. You could definitely get away with making a few more and I think they'd still be plenty big enough.
One recipe down, and a lot more to go, but it feels darn good to have gotten started!
PS - As I type this post tonight, I seem to have made it through Sandy relatively unscathed here on the southeastern coast of Massachusetts. The house never lost power, and despite high winds and some rain, I haven't witnessed any major damage or flooding in the immediate area. I've been watching the news coverage all night, and can't believe the flooding I'm seeing in New York, New Jersey and so many other places. Hope all of my east coast friends are safe!
Orange Buttermilk Dinner Rolls
barely adapted from Cooking Light, November 2010
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons orange zest
14 oz (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups warm buttermilk (about 100-110 F)
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
Combine the sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until moist and fragrant. Add the flour, yeast and salt to the bowl of the mixer then stir briefly just to combine.
In a measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, honey and 2 tablespoons of the butter. With the mixer on low, gradually add the wet ingredients and mix until a rough dough comes together. Continue kneading on low speed until the dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough should mostly clear the sides of the bowl, but stick to the bottom (if it's really sticking to the sides, add a tablespoon or two of flour to achieve the desired consistency).
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Add the dough to the bowl, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Divide into 13 roughly equal sized pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches of space between the balls of dough. Once you've shaped all 13 pieces, brush them lightly with the remaining tablespoon of melted butter. Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F.
Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 13 rolls