Just in time for Thanksgiving, this month's Sourdough Surprise is Fluffy Dinner Rolls. I found this one kind of intriguing because although the ingredients seem simple enough, it's the method of kneading the dough that produces the fluffy effect. Coincidentally I've been noticing a lot of recipes for Japanese Milk Bread like this recipe and this one.
It turns out the method for Japanese Milk Bread is strikingly similar to that of Fluffy Dinner Rolls. It's all about the kneading. (I gave the dough a solid and enjoyable 10 minutes of hand kneading.) With Japanese Milk Bread you start by cooking a milk and flour starter. While this seems to be the defining element in milk bread, I wondered what it would be like if I substituted my sourdough starter.
Taking my cues from the recipes above I came up with what I think is a pretty good mash up that produced same darn fine rolls. Of course, they do have yeast in them. As I may have said before, I'm not ready to take the training wheels off yet when it comes to my starter. Wanting to highlight the fine texture, I kept the rolls very plain, just a quick brushing of melted butter before and after baking. They turned out perfectly light and fluffy, just begging to be torn apart and smeared with butter or soaked in some gravy! Gobble, gobble!
sourdough milk rolls
2 & 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup freshly fed starter
4 tablespoons soft butter (plus more for the pan and finishing)
In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook combine flour, sugar and salt. Stir yeast into warm milk and add to flour along with beaten egg and starter. Mix on medium until dough comes together.
Slowly add the butter a bit at a time until it's all incorporated. Beat on medium for 3 or 4 minutes. Turn dough out on to lightly floured surface and knead for ten minutes. You should be able to stretch the dough to the point of transparency with out having it break.
Place dough in lightly butter bowl, cover and refrigerate over night.
The next day turn the dough out on work surface and knead briefly. Butter a 9 by 12 inch baking pan and set aside. Divide dough into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball. Place in pan, evenly spaced. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush rolls with melted butter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When rolls come out of the oven give them another brush with butter. Turn out of pan and cool on a wire rack.