Saturday, December 09, 2006

Whole Wheat Rolls

I baked whole wheat rolls today. From scratch. Without a machine. It's been months since I baked them, and now I'm not sure why I waited so long.

Well, I guess I am sure why. They take time. And time is what I have in shortest supply.

I brought my work laptop home this weekend, because we're swamped, and I don't want to get in trouble for missing deadlines. And that made it a perfect day for baking, since I was going to be home anyway. The first rise is two hours, and the second and final rise are each an hour, so that gave me lots of time to get some work done.

My favorite part of baking bread is the kneading. The recipe is from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking, and they say to knead for 600 strokes, or about 20 minutes. I count to 600, making tally marks (and getting dough all over the pencil) every 100. I get a rhythm going of pulling the far right corner into the center and then pushing with the heel of both hands. Pull. Push... Pull. Push... Pull. Push... Counting as I go. It's a rhythm that's as natural to me anymore as riding a bike. It's soothing, relaxing. Except when I bump my head on the cabinet. That's not part of the rhythm.

The aroma of yeast and wheat and a touch of honey fills the kitchen.

I don't go for beauty when I form the rolls. I flatten the dough and make it as square as I can, and then I cut it with a knife. When they rise, the rolls round themselves a little into misshapen rectangles, with the line from the cut edges still clear around the top. And after they're baked, the flavor is full and rich and brown.

We make sandwiches out of them, and the meat and cheese stick out from under the bread. It doesn't matter, though, because the rolls are so much better than the store-bought sponges sold as bread. But most of this batch will be going with me to work Thursday for the "Holiday Potluck." Unless I get picked for a trial when I'm at jury duty Monday. If I'm still at court on Thursday, well, then my daughter and I will have to eat the rolls ourselves.


Anonymous said...

I'll supply the cocoa, the fireplaces and freshly baked cookies, and you can fly those rolls to NEO and we'll watch the snow fall?

They look wonderful, Skye, I believe I can small them over the internet.

I'm making sausage gravy and "dipping" eggs this morning after church. Do you think you can catch a flight and make it here by, oh say, noon?

SkyePuppy said...


No problem! Let me jump in my time machine first, and then I'll catch that flight...

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed!

Considering I'm currently struggling to get a batch of box-mix brownies to turn out right (I've tried twice with inedible results both times) I think that's a little above my skill level.

Just as a note....I used to be able to bake brownies and other foods, but something has gone terribly awry in my oven of late.

Still, those look and sound delicious.

SkyePuppy said...


That's such a shame about your brownies. Brownies are meant to be a delight to the soul.

I think your oven needs to get its head examined.