Yeast rolls and I have a bit of challenging relationship. Sometimes – usually when I throw together my basic yeast/water/ sugar/flour/oil from memory recipe in just a few minutes – my yeast rolls turn out pretty good, entirely serviceable as the hamburger buns or sandwich rolls they’re intended to be. Unfortunately, when I try a new recipe or actually plan ahead (see: holiday dinners, dinners with guests, etc.) I’m often disappointed by the outcome. I’m still not entirely sure what goes wrong. Aiming for tender, pillowy dinner rolls, I’m frustrated when I get a perfectly fine tasting, but dry and crumbly textured roll. Most recently this was the case with both my Thanksgiving rolls (which I’m convinced I will eventually master because they taste so good) as well as my Christmas rolls (Parker House rolls from one of the America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks).
For February’s Gourmet, Unbound recipe, I thought it might be good to attempt another yeast roll, since I’d pulled out a bunch of roll recipes from the February 2009 magazine (those parmesan pull aparts were among that batch of recipes). I had some bulgur left over from another dinner and the Cracked Wheat Topknots caught my eye. I followed the recipe to the ‘t’ (a rarity for me!) except for turning them into topknots, since we were planning to grill bratwurst that night and I needed rolls for the bratwurst and onions. I won’t claim this attempt at yeast rolls as an unqualified success – I thought they could have risen more on the second rise (though perhaps our chilly house was to blame for that), but otherwise I was really happy with the way these turned out. I’ll probably even make them again!
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