Warm bread fresh from the oven and then slathered in butter. Is there really anything better?
I have had a revelation of sorts. I have been making my sourdough for a while now as you loyal readers will know but have not been overly creative in the shapes and sizes of the loaves. I have done the odd baguette and dabbled in flatbread but as far as the standard bread goes, they have always been loaves. No longer!
A couple of times a year I make the trek into Vancouver to go to Granville Island Market. It is not really a trek and we tend to end up there any time there are out of town visitors, but it still ends up being a handful of times a year. My absolute favourite thing is the bakery and their green olive sourdough rolls. I learned a long time ago that the magic of the roll was in the crust to centre ratio. A roll has a greater area of crust per serving which makes for an exceptional snack. How I had not thought to recreate this magic at home ages ago is beyond me.
The key with new bread adventures is to start with small changes and then build up. I took my trusty sourdough recipe and then worked it just a little. The dominant flavour in the green olive rolls is actually not the green olives at all but the rosemary in the dough. This was to be the starting block.
After the sponge had rested over night, I worked in the rosemary and a couple other herbs who were living out their final days of Autumn in the garden, and kneaded. And kneaded….
The green speckled dough then rested to rise again for the day while I was at work.
In the evening, I simple formed the dough into 13 rolls (a perfect bakers dozen that just happened to work out that way) and set them to rise again while I made dinner, fed the kid, bathed the kid, put the kid to bed with kicking and screaming (her not me), at dinner and watched some trashy TV. I then preheated the oven, snipped the top of each roll with scissors to help it expand and baked them. For the record, the oven temperatures remain the same and the only difference is that after I drop the temperature, I bake them fro 12-14 minutes instead of the 25 minutes that the loaf takes.
I know that you are thinking… you baked them at night? Yes I did and for two reasons:
1. it is just the way that the timing worked out with my schedule
2. There is nothing better than a late night snack of a hot crispy and buttered sourdough roll fresh from the oven.
The other benefit of making the rolls is that we have found that they keep better and for longer. Because there are no preservatives in the bread, once you slice into the loaf, you have more or less committed yourself to finishing it in a day or so. Because the rolls are self contained, you can get another day or so out of them. Just reheat to regain the crunch and devour.
I think that the next batch is going to get the green olives and a little garlic. I have also always wanted to make some sort of braided bread extravaganza and so stay tuned!