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.
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.