My family loves those European style dinner rolls described as "airy crumb and yeasty, savory flavor and a crust so crisp it pratically shatters when you bite into it, yet chewy enough to offer satisfying resistance" This was the perfect description that came with the recipe. I found this recipe in Cook's Illustrated Magazine and they turned out wonderful. It says the secret to them is a little whole wheat for a nice earthiness, a bit of honey for a subtly sweetness and a very wet dough for more steam bubbles during baking for an airier crumb. The recipe itself it pretty simple but I feel it's the preparation and baking process that gives it that distintive rustic result. Prep time does not include rising time. There's a lot of steps but it's just very complete. UPDATE: Thanks to MarySC for this note -You are supposed to repeat the entire "fold three times and rest for 30 minutes" step a second time. I'll add this to the directions.
- Whisk water, yeast, and honey in bowl of stand mixer until well combined, making sure no honey sticks to bottom of bowl.
- Add flours and mix on low speed with dough hook until chohesive dough is formed, about 3 minutes.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
- Remove plastic wrap and eveny sprinkle salf over dough.
- Knead on low speed 5 minutes. (If dough creeps up attachment, stop mixer and scrape down using well floured hands or greased spatula.).
- Increase speed to medium and continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 minute.
- If dough is very sticky, add 1-2 tablespoon flour and continue mixing 1 minute.
- Lightly spray 2 quart bowl and with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let dough rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Fold dough over itself; rotated bowl quarter turn and fold again. Rotate bowl again and fold once more.
- repeat the entire "fold three times and rest for 30 minutes" step a second time.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.
- Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Transfer dough to floured work surface, sprinkle top with more flour.
- Using bench scraper cut dough in half and gently stretch each half into 16-inch cylinders.
- Divide each cylinder into quarters, then each quarter into 2 pieces (you should have 16 pieces total), and dust top of each piece with more flour.
- With floured hands, gently pick up each piece and roll in palms to coat with flour, shaking off excess and place in prepared cake pan.
- Arrange 8 dough pieces in each cake pan, placing 1 piece in middle and others around it making sure cut side faces up.
- Loosely cover pans with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes (dough is ready when it springs back slowly when pressed lightly with finger).
- Thirty minutes before baking, adjust rack to middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees.
- Remove plastic wrap from pans, spray rolls lightly with water, place in oven.
- Bake 10 minutes until tops of rolls are brown; remove from oven.
- Reduce oven temperture to 400 degrees; using kitchen towels or mitts, invert rolls from both pans onto rimmed baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, turn right side up, pull apart, and space evenly on a baking sheet.
- Continue to bake until rolls evelop deep golden brown crust and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 10 to 15 minutes; rotate baking sheet halfway through baking time. (partially baking in pans first helps to set their shape during rising but leave soft spots where they touch - transfering to baking sheet ensures finished rolls are golden and crisp all around).
- Transfer rolls to wire rack and cool to room temperature.