So many recipes, so little time. Gosh, if my life was judged by how many posts I make on my blog, it would get a D-. However, my life is full and my time is often spent in unexpected yet familiar arenas. I say unexpected because I start each day with a plan which generally unravels then re-ravels itself in ways I did not plan. Often the re-raveling involves spending unexpected time with my family. No complaints about time spent becoming a part of the day’s tapestry involving family.
In the wee hours of the morning I often wax philosophical. It’s after 2:00 AM as I am writing this post and I am thinking about the past month with all of its wonders. Ander’s unexpected early birth, Tricia’s health problems, Matt going to Florida to work, Katie deciding to move back to the “big city”, getting to spend so many days caring for my grandsons…lot’s of things…even my daughter’s old high school track team buddies and their husbands/wives and children having a last minute party in my back yard because a grill situation had not worked out and they needed to use our grill. It was an interesting experience, seeing all of those young adults who used to hang out in my back yard when they were teenagers, now hanging out in my back yard with families of their own. Children, babies, and more babies on the way: Life’s tapestry.
Just as it used to be in bygone days, the track team happened to show up just as something was coming out of the oven. One of the things that brings me the most enjoyment in the kitchen and always says “home” to me is making bread or rolls. Bread is family. Bread has its own rhythm–rising, falling, rising again. The dough is kneaded and shaped, a series of raveling and unraveling and re-raveling so that the final product is so much more than its beginning. It’s sort of like the track team having been together as teenagers, then each individual going their own way over the past ten years, and once again reuniting, having increased their lives with the inclusion of spouses and children and jobs and further education.
How did they “know” that there would be hot rolls just coming out of the oven? It was uncanny.
The rolls that I had made were inspired by recipes I had seen from various sources for King’s Hawaiian rolls. After some experimenting with on-line recipes, I decided to modify my “Sunday Best” Rolls recipe. It is a delicious, can-always-count-on-it kind of recipe and I felt comfortable changing various elements of it to accommodate some of the ingredients I saw in other recipes.
One of the key changes that I made was to use coconut oil in place of the butter. As I experimented with using coconut oil, I noticed that the dough felt “silky”, or maybe “satiny” would be a better word. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. It was soft and smooth and handled beautifully.
Another change that I made in the recipe included using honey instead of sugar which brought extra moistness to the dough. Of course there was the requisite pineapple juice and I also added some ginger.
The rolls turned out light and tender with a hint of coconut. Their sweetness provides a great flavor contrast to savory main dishes such as barbecue and kalua pork, as a side for Thai Peanut Noodle Salad, or even piled high with chicken salad. Happy baking!
Proof the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of sugar. I nearly always do this, even if I am using an instant yeast. There have been too many times when I have had yeast that did not activate in dough. So, I want to make sure that I get the yeast going before I add it to all of the other ingredients.
Add the pineapple juice. I used a brand of pineapple juice that comes in a jar. I like the flavor better than pineapple from a can…no metallic “can” taste in it.
This is the coconut oil. It is typically a soft solid at temperatures below 76 degrees F. I slightly liquified it in the microwave for about 15 seconds on high. There are a mixture of solids and liquids at this point. Perfect.
Add the honey. I used honey from a local farm. This is really good stuff. Utah bees definitely know their business.
Now for the chicken ovum. Two of them. Yay for chickens!
The yeast did it’s thing, rose and got all foamy. You can see the foam lingering behind the liquid.
Make sure you get the foam added to the bowl as well. No yeast left behind.
Add the salt. I used sea salt…paradise…sea salt…the sea…a quiet Caribbean beach…sigh.
Add four cups of flour…or was it three? Whatever I said in the directions…add that much flour.
Now plop in the ginger. It’s good.
With the paddle attachment(s) for your style of mixer, get things all mixed up. Knead for about 5 minutes. Look how this dough is coming together already. I’m telling you, this is truly the best bread or roll dough with which I have ever worked. It must be the coconut oil!
Switch to the dough hook. Time for some more flour. Add about 1 cup.
Turn on the mixer and start kneading the dough.
With the mixer running, continue adding flour, sprinkling it in 1/2 cup at a time, just until the dough comes together and leaves the side of the bowl. Once this happens, STOP adding flour!
See how the dough is not sticking to the sides of the bowl? It’s okay to have small a bit of dough that doesn’t join the party. There are always wall clingers at every party. You can scoop them off the sides at the end of the kneading. Knead the dough in the bowl for 7 minutes until….
You get a masterpiece that looks like dough satin—-or silk—-or satiny silky perfection. I LOVE this dough! It is amazing to handle it. This picture is with the machine turned off, by the way. See how the dough sheets? And look at those bubbles just beneath the dough surface!
Gather the dough into a ball. Place it in an oiled or greased bowl and turn the dough over once. The dough will have collected some of the oil off of the bowl and will have a lightly oiled surface. This helps to keep the dough from drying out while it rises.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise. I like to turn on my oven for a minute or two, just until the temperature is about 100 degrees F, then turn it back off and leave the oven light turned on. I then put the bowl of dough in the warm oven to rise. Leaving the oven light on helps to keep the oven warm. Allow the dough to rise until it is double in bulk.
This rose a good deal more than double. Try not to let this happen because the yeast can become exhausted (all used up) and not rise well when formed into rolls. However, the brand of yeast that I use (SAF instant yeast) is an excellent yeast and had plenty of umpf left to raise the rolls. Whew!
This is another shot of the dough after I removed the plastic wrap. Generally speaking, when I remove the plastic wrap off of other doughs they will start to collapse. Not this dough. It hung out all happy and glorious.
Punch the dough down. Usually a good punch will instantly deflate the dough; not with this dough. I punched it and it just sat there with my fist in the middle of it and its sides still all puffy and proud, sort of like it was laughing at me like a jolly Buddha.
I kept working the dough, punching and squeezing until I finally got it somewhat deflated. I finally resorted to gathering it into a ball (sort of) and tossing it against the counter a few times and then kneading it. I felt guilty at having to work this joyful dough so hard. Honestly, I have never worked with such a resilient dough. What a good self image this stuff had. Gather the dough back into a ball, cover it, and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes. You might need to take a rest, too.
Once both you and the dough have rested for a few minutes, melt some butter (1 stick) and place in a bowl near your work area.
Working with half of the dough at a time, divide each half into 20 equal-sized pieces. I have just enough OCD left over from my early youth to have used my kitchen scale for weighing each roll so that I was sure to get them equally sized. If you are a free spirit who doesn’t need to weigh and measure, congratulations. Live long and prosper. Form each piece of dough into a ball, dip in the melted butter, and place in the prepared pan. For some tutorial pics on forming this type of roll, see My “Sunday Best” Rolls tutorial.
Aaaaaaand another shot of these exciting rolls before rising and baking.
Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap. Return them to a warm place to rise until almost double in bulk. If you choose to put them in a softly warmed oven, be sure to remove them from the oven and remove the plastic wrap prior to baking.
Preheat the oven to 350-degree F. Put the rolls in the oven (remember to remove the plastic wrap!!!!) and immediately turn the oven down to 325-degrees F. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Take them out of the oven, snap a couple of quick shots of them, and move out of the way or else the track team will run over you trying to get to the rolls. Sure wish I had a smell-a-blog app so that you could be going crazy right now.
For an in-depth tutorial on homemade bread, see my 100% Whole Wheat Bread recipe.
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