Sunday, January 18, 2009

Homemade Dinner Rolls

This week's main course was made by our friend Walt - bbq crockpot chicken. I decided to make dinner rolls and peach cobbler.

This dinner roll recipe is an alteration of a recipe my mother found with her bread machine. We use a bit of wheat flour to make the roll softer. She still uses her bread machine (and you can as well), but since mine is too small for this recipe, I just use my stand mixer.

Soft Dinner Rolls

13 oz. water (warm - between 100 and 110 degrees)
1 1/4 tsp (or 1 pkg.) of instant dry  yeast
3 cups of white bread flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
3 tbsp butter
2 1/2 tbsp dry milk
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
olive oil or nonstick spray

1. Mix the flours, sugar, salt, and dry milk together in a bowl.

2. Pour about three ounces of the water into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Add a small pinch of sugar and let the yeast sit for 10 minutes. It should start to foam. 

3. While waiting on the yeast, cube the butter and melt it in a bowl in the microwave (30-45 sec). Let the butter cool down to 105-115 degrees.

4. Pour the remaining water into the stand mixer bowl and add the flour mixture on top. Add the butter and yeast. If you're using a bread machine, use the dough setting, and skip down to Step 8 when the machine beeps at you :)

5. Using the mixer attachment, mix until the dough forms, then switch to the dough hook attachment. The dough hook should knead the dough for at least 5 minutes, or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and when pressing a finger into the dough, the dough springs back.

(before kneading)

If your dough is too sticky - add flour, a tablespoon at a time during kneading.

6. Grab a container (preferably one with straight sides) and lightly coat it with olive oil (or your nonstick spray). Place the dough in the container and cover the container with plastic wrap.

7. Let the dough rise for at least an hour (or until it has doubled in size).

8. [Welcome back, bread machine users!] Grease (with nonstick spray) two cupcake pans. Roll little balls of the dough (about an 1in in size) and place them, three to a cup, in the pan.

9. Cover the pans with a towel, let them rise for another 30-40 minutes.

10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

11. Bake them for 12-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Use your favorite butter, margarine, or butter spray on the tops once they come out of the oven to give them a nice golden sheen.

Makes 16 rolls.

Edit: I'd hoped to have a photo of the final product, but the rolls were devoured. Maybe next time!

Creating a light box...

In order to snap pictures of the food that I make on Sundays, I needed to create a light box (I'm not buying one...they're expensive!).

I went down the craft store close to home and grabbed 5 pieces of foam core boards, some tracing paper, bull clips (to hold my backgrounds), and T pins to assemble the thing. After a Saturday of playing around, I finally have a light box to use that's big enough to shoot food prep and final product.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Why Sunday Dinners?

Sunday dinners have been a ritual for my family for many years. I can't remember a Sunday without it. They were special, typically homemade, and no one dared miss out. For a few years after moving away from my family, my husband and I got caught up in the hectic and stressful pace of our jobs...there was no time for Sunday dinner...we were too busy...flitting around, without a break to breathe.

When I could make Sunday dinner, it was wonderful, but we ended up with lots of left overs, since we didn't have anyone nearby to share it with. It wasn't complete without a handful of people at the table. For me, Sunday dinners are a break from the rush of everyday life - a time to share food with the people we care about, while forgetting about the fact that tomorrow is Monday. A time to relax, laugh, and catch up.

When we moved to Boston, I finally had an opportunity to reintroduce Sunday dinner into my routine. We have great friends that are a short drive away and are willing guinea pigs for my forays into entrees and desserts. We've kept at the Sunday dinner ritual for a little over a year now.

Recently, my friend Michelle pointed out to me, "Why don't you take pictures of our Sunday dinner meals and put them on a blog?" when we were chatting about practicing photography. So with this blog, I not only hope to capture the recipes, in print and photo, but I also hope to capture some of the spirit and memories of our continuing Sunday feasts.