And the only way that one could improve on a soft, fluffy, squishy dinner roll, would be by adding a little something to that dinner roll. And I’m not talking about a big fat pat of butter either- cause that is a given.
This Thanksgiving, that something is going to be fresh herbs.
I infuse the butter, and therefore the butter with the fresh herbs, and then also keep them in the dough for color and texture.
These may be high maintenance as far as waiting around for the dough to rise- but it is not like you won’t be busy prepping other stuff Thanksgiving morning anyways- right?
The actual work involved is seriously minimal. Just be organized. Make your yeast bloom as soon as you get up that morning. Start the dough rising process right away, (feel free to let that dough rise way longer than in my instructions if you get busy with other stuff.)
Save the baking for the very last minute. Like after you have taken the turkey out, and it is resting or being carved- that is the best possible time to bake these. If you are bringing them to friends or family, just prepare them up through the last step, and bake them on site. Because they are truly, truly, out of this world when eaten hot from the oven. Your family and friends will give thanks for your herbed dinner rolls this Thanksgiving.
Herbed Dinner Rolls, makes 12 rolls
adapted from parker house rolls
3 tablespoons hot water (105 to 115 degrees F)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 (1/4-ounce) package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter + 1 Tbs
2 Tbs freshly minced fresh hearty herbs (such as rosemary and thyme)
1 cup whole milk
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Here are my tips to getting your yeast to bloom:
Run HOT water into the bowl you are going to use for your yeast blooming to heat up your bowl. If you put hot water in cold bowl, it will make warm water = no blooming.
Then, with the tap water as hot as it gets from running, measure out a cup of it. Put a thermometer in it if you are in doubt. It like mine around the higher end of the range: 110-115 degrees.
THEN measure out the hot water into the pre-heated bowl.
Stir together the hot water, 2 tablespoons sugar and yeast in a small bowl until yeast in dissolved. Let stand until foamy, at least five minutes, (I got distracted and waited 20). If the mixture does not foam up, throw it out and start over. Your dough will never be right if this step doesn’t work.
Melt 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) butter in a small saucepan over the lowest heat, (you don’t want the butter to take on any color at all, so keep it low!)
Add the chopped herbs to the butter, (the herbs will infuse the butter)
Add the milk to the butter and herbs and barely heat until lukewarm.
Pour into the large bowl with the yeast mixture, bread flour, and salt.
Mix until just combined, and then add the milk and butter mixture.
Stir in 1 cup all-purpose flour, a little at a time while the mixer is working.
Mix the dough until a smooth and elastic dough begins to form, adding more all-purpose flour as needed.
The dough will be smooth after a few minutes.
Place the dough into a large, buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and and let rest in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Take the beautiful puffy dough ball out and pat it like a little baby’s bottom- it will be just as soft. I wanted to swaddle it and walk around with it.
Cut the dough in quarters, and then cut each of those into 3 pieces.
Form each of the 12 pieces into little balls and place them in a dish that has been buttered with 1Tbs of the remaining butter.
Cover them with plastic wrap and let them rise again, another hour.
When they have doubled again, I kind of stretch them out and fold them over themselves.
Melt the last 2Tbs of butter, and brush the rolls with the butter.
Bake the rolls at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until barely golden brown on top.