Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Free At Last... Breakfast Rolls as a symbol of freedom!

In my wife's family, they would say, "It's time to either fish or cut bait", meaning that the finality of the hour is upon me and it's time to stop talking and start doing. After almost two years of dithering and delaying, the college has finally shown some of its cards: I am officially leaving my job on Sept. 30. Honestly, it was a bit of a letdown. I really thought I would be more upset and yet when it finally came down (the letter, the summons to a 'hearing', the final notice) it was more of a relief than anything else. I have succeeded in internalizing the change in status and the re-defining of my career, much more than I gave myself credit for (is that English?). Now it's showtime.

As an example of how little it affected my mood, DW and I went to the hotel spa yesterday for a well-deserved and looooong overdue day in the pool and jacuzzi, which followed a full-body massage and a wet sauna. This is no ordinary sauna. This is a large room entirely covered in granite/marble. Hot, of course, and lots of water both hot and cold. The idea is to lie down on the hot stone pour water over yourself and let the heat penetrate into your very soul. I know of no better sauna in Jerusalem, none. Period. Today it's back to the grindstone but entirely without the sense of urgency of even a few days ago. I'm free, so to speak. What can they do fire me? Oh, that's right, they did!

Another sign of my impending lifestyle change took place today. Last week I went online and researched a professional mixer both for my course and for my burgeoning business. Today I ordered the mixer and I should be getting it in a few days.I am already making plans for baking large quantities of 'personal-sized' challahs and selling them at a local open market on Friday mornings. The mixer will allow me to make large batches of dough and if I bake all day Thursday, I can sell all day Friday (or at least until 3pm) before Shabbat. If I combine the challahs with some other breads and the homemade ricotta I learned to make from my cousin Morey Altman you never know, maybe I'll even make a living doing this. I can give baking lessons /tours etc. during the week and sell on Fridays. This might actually work!!

To that end, I have been experimenting with new bread recipes over the last few weeks and tweaking more veteran ones. One of the recipes that received the best reviews is this one for hamburger buns. Well, actually, they started out as a recipe for hamburger rolls and have been transformed into a breakfast roll. Go figure. The original recipe called for milk which is a no-go if you're using them for hamburgers anyway. I have added a light brushing with olive oil or egg and water wash and then with some onion flakes sprinkled on top. Yum!!

Soft-N-Fluffy Hamburger/Breakfast Buns
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Ready In: 3 Hours 45 Minutes
Servings: 12

1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1. Place the water, canola oil, flour, sugar, salt, vital wheat gluten, and yeast into the pan of a bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, select the Dough cycle, and turn on the machine. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. When the cycle is finished, remove the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut the dough into 12 equal-size pieces, and roll the dough into balls by cupping your hand, with open fingers, over each piece of dough. Roll gently, with just a little pressure, to form a dough ball with a silky surface. Place the dough balls onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, and flatten each dough ball gently into a bun. Cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes. Just before putting them in the oven, brush the rolls with either olive oil or a beaten egg mixed with a little water. Then sprinkle some onion flakes over the top.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4. Bake the rolls in the preheated oven until the tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool on racks before slicing.

I placed the rolls into a spring-loaded cheesecake pan that had been lightly sprayed with oil. One in the middle, then the others surrounding a little distant. When they rise they fill the pan and grow into each other.

When they come out of the oven, they look like this.  

Let me know how yours turned out, mine were delicious and gone very quickly!

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