Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Buttermilk honey dough and resurfacing from under that white stuff

photo taken exactly one week ago

There are a zillion reasons why I dearly love the two dudes I work for. One of them is how they handle the holidays. Typically, this time of year is not in any way merry for us restaurant employees. We are working our asses off while the rest of the world spends time with their friends and families.
Luckily for my co-workers and I, our employers cut us all a generous holiday bonus check and close both the restaurants down from the 23rd to the 2nd.
We all think they are completely bat shit crazy to do this, as they are missing out on some serious revenue, but we don't exactly complain about it.

During last year's closure I was little miss productive. This year, not so much. First of all, anyone living in the Northwest knows about last week's snow apocalypse.
And before any of your east coasters start in on how we are a bunch of pussies, let me just stop you right there.
Yes. We are a bunch of pussies. However, we are not used to this kind of weather and most of us are not confident driving in it. Then we get the "outsiders", immigrants from Vermont or Wisconsin or whatever, who think they are "experienced snow drivers". They get really cocky behind the wheel of their front wheel drive Honda, forgetting that Seattle is NOT FLAT. We are a city comprised of several neighborhoods, most of which are on their own ginormous hill. I happen to live on one of the biggest ones: Queen Anne Hill, which they had to close down completely. Did that stop the cheese heads from going around the road closed sign? Of course not. They can just drive around it, as unlike these local nimrods, cheese head is an "experienced snow driver". Oh wait...cheese head forgot that Seattle does not salt the roads either. Chaos ensues. Parked cars get smashed into, etc.

Crisis '08!

Needless to say, we were snowed in and we both became ill with cabin fever. Even walking to the grocery store was not exactly safe. The hill was so iced up that falling on ones ass was bound to happen at least a dozen times.

So, we watched a ton of movies and several old episodes of The A-Team, I got over halfway through a 1000 page historical novel about Cleopatra and I did a lot of baking. I even took pictures of all my baking with the full intention to blog all of it. Did I feel like sitting at the computer for any of this down time? No not at all. I can't explain it, but blogging was the last thing on earth I wanted to do.

But, of course, now that the snow is nearly gone and I am free to go out and about- I'm ready to sit down and share some of these recipes with you. Yes, I am a strange bird.

When the snow first started falling, Trevor asked if I might be willing to make him "those little ham roll thingies" and "while I'm at it, what about cinnamon rolls? It's the same dough, right? Puuuleeeeease?"


Yes, it is the same miraculous buttermilk honey dough. It comes from Beth Hensperger, author of The Bread Bible. It's just a perfect white bread dough. Delicious when baked into a loaf and smeared with a little butter and honey. Even better when used for cinnamon rolls, or Trev's fave: Ham and cheddar rolls.


For the ham rolls, roll the dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle generously with sharp cheddar cheese (I like Tillamook). Then lay out several slices of good deli ham. Top with a little more shredded cheese and chopped sage. Roll up like Cinnamon rolls, and slice into medallions. Allow the rolls to proof in a warm spot for about 40 minutes. Then bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. For cinnamon rolls it's the same idea. Roll dough into a rectangle, brush with lots of melted butter. Sprinkle generously with a blend of brown sugar and cinnamon (I never use a recipe for either of these rolls, sorry I can't be exact). Once the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, make a glaze by whisking powdered sugar and buttermilk together and pour it over the rolls while they are still hot.

Here is the recipe, and I promise my next post will be lighter on the yakity yak and heavier on the content. Pinky swear.

Buttermilk Honey Dough from The Bread Bible
makes 12 cinnamon or ham rolls or 2 9-by-5 inch loaves

3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 T active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warmed slightly
2 T unsalted butter, melted
3 T honey
1 T salt
6 to 6 1/4 cups all purpose flour

Pour the water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the surface of the water. Stir to combine and let stand at room temp until foamy- about 10 minutes.

Add the buttermilk, butter, honey, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat hard with the paddle attachment to combine. Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a shaggy dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook and knead for 3-4 minutes, or until the dough is springy. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand.

Place dough into a greased bowl (I just use pan spray). Turn the dough once to grease the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Gently deflate dough and form into desired shape, or follow above roll instructions. Allow to rise again for 40 minutes, then bake.

cinnamon rolls were devoured before a photo shoot could take place.


The Spiteful Chef said...

Beauty. Thanks. I've been looking for a solid soft-white dough for various purposes. I'll give it a shot.

matt wright said...


The snow was insane wasn't it! I got really pissed off with the dipshits driving around too, in their little cars, sliding around, getting stuck..

I was up in Woodinville for XMAS and we had 2feet of snow. TWO FEET!!! My 4x4 couldn't cope.. even with chains it was tough. And, as we all know, there is no good food to be had in Woodinville.. unless you mortgage your house.

Thankfully most of the snow is gone now! yay!! I cannot believe I am saying that.. but being stuck in a house for 4 days with a 2 year old, and a few people that think good food is microwave hotdogs.. yeah.. time to get out people!

Brooke said...

So you finally used the wildflower honey. It's only been sitting on your counter since your birthday. No biggie. I wasn't offended that my honey was ignored for 6 months. It's all good.

I am SO dressing you in fluffy pink taffeta for the wedding. You have it coming in a big way.

Those ham and cheese thingies must enter my mouth. NOW.

cook eat FRET said...

the dough looks and sounds dreamy
no really
i said it
i meant it

snow shmo
i love it when we get hit here and everything/everyone gets crazy...

Brittany said...

Kristie- Give her a go. You won't be sorry

Matt- My condlences. You'd have to put a gun to my head to get me out to Woodinville- unless you were taking me to either the winery or the brewery. I would then go willingly.

Brooke- Have you tried your holiday granola yet? It contains lots of the delicious wildflower honey that, yes, until now I had rudely been neglecting...But the jar was just so pretty that I didn't want to ruin it!
If you can get mom to wear a pantsuit to your wedding, I'll wear whatever you want. Otherwise, I want imput as the matron of honor

Claudia- It was if the world as we Seattlites knew it ceased to exist.

peter said...

Come on, just admit that you've been drunk all week (like Heather.) And you needed both sweet and savory rolls when you finally woke up.

Cakespy said...

Damn, these look good. And thank god all that snow is gone--I thought I was going to go stir crazy!

Heather said...

Ha! Matt said "Woodinville". I love the name of that place. I got stuck in Centralia last year during the crazeh.

What Peter forgot to mention is that, yes, I was drunk, and very, but I walked, dammit. And blogged

Peabody said...

Yes, I was happy to be a confident Canadian driver the last few weeks. We were out in it pretty much every day. Of course we are in the burbs and have a little more flat than Seattle but we still have our hills.
I actually enjoyed having the foot of snow.
Your dough looks like a keeper.
Have a happy and healthy 2009!

Brittany said...

Peter- I will admit freely that we went through 3 bottles of vodka in less than a week.

Jessie- I know! Thankfully New Years wont be cancelled due to inclimate weather!

Heather- You win. Centralia is a much worse place to be trapped in than Woodinville. Ew.

Peabody- Yup it is a keeper, and same to you!

Emily said...

Oh gosh, I need some of those. They look perfect!

I can't believe how much snow you got. I probably would have baked a lot, too. The problem is that you're stuck inside with all those yummy baked goods, just asking to be eaten.

Ann said...

Okay...I totally want to have cabin fever with you. Movies, historical novels, DOUGH -- uh huh, I'm there.

Foodycat said...

Ham and cheese rolls sound delicious! And your weather looks scary.

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