I haven’t posted anything in about a week and a half, mostly due to the fact that I wanted to do a food post next but kept forgetting to take pictures or document each step that is usually in my head. Alas, I finally got around to it.
Incase anyone that reads this doesn’t know me from South East Alaska, they probably don’t know the story of KC’s Pulled Pork Sandwiches! It was an overcast day on the water, a bit rough, apparently. Devin Stratton and Mitch Onkes were out on the water making funny videos while checking on the fishing guests. They made a video about getting out of the storm while going precariously fast through relatively high waves to get to KC’s Pulled Pork Sandwiches. It was a hilarious video that many of the staff quoted every single Wednesday that year when I made pulled pork for dinner. Not that my pulled pork is particularly good in general (which it is), it’s usually the bun that makes it spectacular.
In this case in the wilderness of Alaska, my Kaiser Rolls came from a pre-made dough that has been frozen. Making dozens of rolls was taxing enough, let alone making the dough. This is the actual recipe of how to make these fluffy rolls. They’re not necessarily hard but they do take some time. The result is always fantastic.
The ingredients you source can be important. Make sure you use yeast that hasn’t been sitting in a bag in your fridge door for too long. Also, make sure you that you use BREAD flour in this recipe. All purpose flour has a lot less protein in it and has a mixture of a hard wheat and soft wheat grain. Compared to mostly hard wheat in bread flour, it makes the entire recipe yield different equivalent measurings of ingredients. Protein is essential in developing gluten, which is the protein that helps yeast grow and stretch. If you need a great example of this, make a small batch of biscuits. In half of them, use bread flour and the other half, AP flour. Keep all the other ingredients the same and post your results in the comments below. Now, onto the recipe.
5 Cups WARM Water, 120 to 125 degrees
2 1/2 Tbsp. Yeast
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup WARM Melted Butter
4 Eggs, preferably room temperature but cold will do fine
2 Tbsp. Table Salt
13 1/2 Cups Bread Flour
2 Cups Corn Meal, for dusting pans
2 Eggs with 2 tbsp. Water, mixed for egg wash
Mix together the salt and flour. Add the eggs and pour in the butter. Whisk together the eggs a bit so they’re not whole and annoying, whisking up unevenly (Left Picture). Now add the yeast mixture. Make sure you either reserve some water on the bottom of the pitcher to swish around the sugar stuck to the bottom or add a little more warm water the swish around (Right Picture).
Mix the dough together until the dry ingredients is hydrated (Left Picture). Knead on a slightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic (Right Picture). Cover the dough in either melted butter or olive oil (preferably melted butter) and cover your bowl in plastic wrap. Let it double in size for about an hour.
Literally punch the dough down after an hour (do you see the punch marks in the dough pictured on the left?) and let it rise a second time. Punching the dough down once in the bowl lets out the excess carbon dioxide that can impair fermentation and flavor production. It also gives you a more consistent crumb in the final product. If you’ve ever had a nice baguette with lots of nice holes all over the inside, you’ll know they didn’t punch the dough down during the rise. This is ideal in baguettes, not so much in a burger bun or roll like this recipe. Now let it rise a second time (Right Picture).
Punch down again and weigh out your dough. Weighing out your dough is important for consistent baking times and uniform shape. 5 oz. is ideal for burger or deli buns and 3 oz. is a good sized roll (Left Picture). Now, roll each one into a ball and flatten into a 3-3 1/2” circle if you’re making buns (Right Picture). Grease a baking pan with non-stick spray and dust your pan with corn meal, making sure you save a cup for the top of the buns. This will ensure your buns won’t stick to the pan and give it a rustic look.