Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spent Grain Rolls

You might have noticed that I just did a posting a couple days ago about some spent grain bread I put together, Spent Grain Bread and Why My Wife Reminds Me of a Monkey.  If you made it through the full posting (first I'd like to shake your hand cuz you're a saint in my book) you'll have noted that I didn't use all of the dough I originally made.  While the first loaf-ette was cute it wasn't big enough for a good solid sandwich and who is this world doesn't need some good solid bread with which to embrace some tasty flora and fauna in a sandwich of awesomeness.  I know I do.  

To avoid the expected let-down of a flaccid (yet tasty) loaf-ette I decided to go a different route and make spent grain rolls, same dough, just a new way to roll.  I took the dough and divided it up into 8 semi-equal pieces and rolled them into nice tight little balls of happiness.  If you've never made rolls in this fashion I'll try to describe the process as it's equal parts magic and simplicity.  First, start with a clean dry cutting board or counter, no one wants your cat hair in their spent grain rolls.  Next, place a single ball of dough on the counter which has been coated with NOTHING!!  Now when I mean NOTHING, that's exactly what I mean.  No flour, no cat hair, no butter, no non-stick cooking spray, NOTHING.  You see the key is that you want a little stiction (yes that's a real word, look it up if you don't believe me....No really, I'll wait... Are you done yet!???!  Did you do it??!  Are you satisfied?!?  Are you not entertained?!?  Ok, back to our regular programming...).  Now make your hand into a bit of a claw a-la picture below:

Oooopps...wrong picture... try this one instead...

Now that's better.  Ok, so you place your clawed hand over the dough ball (doesn't matter if you're a lefty or a righty) with your palm gently and lightly pressing down on the top of the dough ball and your fingers curled to just along the bottom edge between the dough and your counter or board.  Once situated rotate your hand in a clock-wise or counter-clock-wise direction keeping constant gentle and light pressure on the dough ball and your fingers keeping the dough within the cage of your fingers and do the Mr. Miyagi and, "Wax on, wax off!" except you really only need to wax on... no waxing off, different post entirely.  

Once you get the hang of this you can play with two balls at once, it's actually quite amusing.  It normally takes only about 5-10 revolutions for the dough to shape into a nice round sphere of loveliness.  

I dropped each of the dough balls into a greased bread pan and left them alone until they were doubled in size which took a couple hours.  As before I cranked up my oven to 450 degrees F 30 minutes before go-time to give the oven a chance to heat up properly.  When the oven and dough were all set to go I whisked up a quick egg wash which was one egg and a splash of milk mixed well.  I brushed that over the top of the rolls then sprinkled liberally wish some kosher salt.  The wash will help in browning of the rolls and gives the salt something to stick to.  Next I took a pair of clean scissors (for the sake of all things holy, please wash your scissors before doing this, no one wants the aforementioned cat hair in their spent grain rolls, how many times do I have to go over this) and cut an X pattern in the top of each roll, maybe about 1/4 of the way in, not too deep.  I did this after the egg wash because I wanted the fancy visual contrast between the browned crusty edges and the softer interior, you can be the edge of my effectiveness.  

Here are some pics:

Puffed and about to get egg-washed

Just out of the oven (sorry for the crappy pictures, I'm sick and impatient and it was dark outside)

and broke apart to see the inside awesomeness....

and yes, in case you were curious, they were Frickin' Awesome!!!


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