Monday, June 30, 2014

Maybe Something Italian - Thyme Scented Dinner Rolls

I am not Italian. And yet, like most Westerners, whether from Italy or not, I like Italian food. You can view it as a subset, if you like, of Mediterranean food, or by itself. In fact, like Provencal food, it is so popular and pervasive it is really a cuisine all by itself. Even with the distinct Mediterranean flavor. Like the olive oil, the fresh and dried herbs, the tomato sauce and all the rest. Oh and the pasta, of course which distinguishes Italian food from say, Spanish or Moroccan (also Mediterranean but VERY different - yet with similarities).

So this bread, inspired by Italian food, is really more Italian style than pure Italian. Still, with a steaming plate of pasta, or a crisp green salad stuffed with artichoke hearts or grilled eggplant, it complements perfectly. Sometimes, it's great all by itself with a little butter. Or dipped in olive oil. Yum!!

Here's What You'll Need: (for about 10 rolls)
about 4 cups of AP flour
1 Tbs instant dry yeast
2 Tbs. sugar
1 1/5 tsp. salt
2-3 Tbs olive oil
about 250 ml warm water
1-2 tsp dried thyme

For the glaze:
1 cup water
1 Tbs honey
dried thyme for sprinkling

Here's What You'll Need To Do:

1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, thyme, sugar and salt.

2. Mix the olive oil into the water as best as you can, then add this mixture, in stages to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand all the while, until it all comes together  and forms a soft, not too sticky dough. It should be just tacky.

3. Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and shiny.

4. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let it rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

5. Divide the dough into about 10 fairly equal portions and shape them into a knotted shape. Place the formed rolls on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Cover and let the rolls rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

6. In the meantime, make the glaze. Place the water and honey in a bowl and stir to dissolve completely.

7. When the rolls have risen, paint them with the glaze then, sprinkle dried thyme over them all.

8. Bake in a pre-heated 350 F (180 C) oven for about 15-17 minutes until golden.

9. Cool on a rack.Yum!!