If this is the year that beginning cooks tackle Thanksgiving for the first time, then maybe it’s also the year that newbie bakers try their hand at homemade dinner rolls.
Rebecca Lindamood’s "Ready, Set, Dough! Beginner Breads for All Occasions" (Page Street Publishing, $21.99) is a good place to start.
Lindamood’s enthusiasm for persuading skeptics to try their hand at bread baking jumps from the pages. She uses nine basic techniques to make nearly 75 different loaves, rolls, pretzels, pizzas and English muffins, and the first chapter is dedicated to breads that take an hour from start to finish. Yes, one hour from measuring the flour to pulling the bread out of the oven.
Artisan bread bakers may scoff, but Lindamood’s method is appealing. She uses a hefty amount of yeast mixed straight in the flour and slightly warmer-than-usual water, which kickstarts the rise, and then she lets the dough rise a second time inside the oven while it comes to temperature. By putting the dough in a cold oven, she takes advantage of that preheating time, and a pan of hot water under the bread turns to steam, creating a perfect environment to give the rolls a little extra lift.
These rolls are just one of the beginner-friendly recipes in her book, and all of them would make for nice (and easy) boredom-busting projects this winter when you simply can’t watch any more Netflix. (Just don’t tell Paul Hollywood about the one-hour thing.)
Crazy-Quick Lofty Dinner Rolls
These dinner rolls just may change your life. They’re buttery, mile-high, fluffy, tender-but-chewy and basically exactly what dinner rolls should be. I admit it makes me feel a little like a magician when I pull a pan of these from the oven just one hour from the time I started mixing together the dough. It’s insane, really. Nothing this good should be this fast and easy, and yet these rolls are! Aside from gracing your bread basket at mealtime, these rolls make terrific slider rolls.
— Rebecca Lindamood
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons instant or active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce to 1 1/2 teaspoon)
2 cups very warm water (about 120 degrees)
1/2 cup melted butter, divided
Nonstick cooking spray
Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water and 1/4 cup of the melted butter in a large mixing bowl with a sturdy spoon until a shaggy dough forms, then knead until the dough comes together and becomes smooth, about 4 minutes by hand or machine. Form a smooth dough ball. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. Lightly spray a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Divide the dough into 20 equal-size pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a tight ball and arrange in 5 rows of 4 each in the prepared pan. Place on the middle rack of a cold oven with a pan of hot tap water below it. Close the oven, set the heat at 400 degrees and set the timer for 35 minutes.
After 35 minutes, remove the bread from the oven and brush generously with the remaining butter. Place the pan on a cooling rack to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. If you want to slice the rolls for sliders, you’ll need to let them cool completely before slicing. Makes 20 rolls.
— From "Ready, Set, Dough! Beginner Breads for All Occasions" by Rebecca Lindamood (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)