I have a problem with fresh bread products. When I first discovered No Knead Bread I ate half the loaf in an afternoon (and then fell into a carbohydrate induced coma). OK, confession over, but when I came across this recipe in my new Homemaker’s Magazine (my grandmother has been bankrolling this subscription since I got married and as much as the feminist in me cringes at the name, I’ve gotten some excellent recipes from it), I was immediately intrigued. Of course it’s taken me a month and a half to get around to making them, but it was well worth the wait. These are crusty (not unlike the No Knead Bread) but nice and dense and chewy. A perfect accompaniment to a good soup or stew, or in our case, tonight’s conduit for Sloppy Joe’s (thank you Meagan for making my children so happy). Also, you do need to make a basic starter here the day before, so make sure to read through the recipe and plan ahead.
Makes 16 rolls
3 3/4 cups flour (approx. – I used unbleached all purpose)
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup spelt flour (next time I will probably increase the ratio of spelt to all purpose flour, but I wanted to try this one by the books to start)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
1. In a small saucepan, whisk 1/4 cup all purpose flour with cold water over medium low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and ridges form with every turn of the whisk (a thermometer should read 150 F, but I found it was hard to get an accurate reading with such a small amount of goo). Remove from heat and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but up to 2 days. This is your starter. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
2. In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let stand 5 – 10 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in starter and sour cream until smooth.
3. Stir in spelt flour and salt, then add all purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time until a shaggy dough forms. If using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook, or dump out onto a clean well floured surface. Knead, adding flour to the surface and your hands as needed, 8-12 minutes, or until dough is smooth, moist, and still fairly sticky.
4. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (1 1/2 to 2 hours). Punch down and knead lightly for a few turns, then cut in half and form into 2 balls. Cover and let relax for 10 minutes.
5. Cut each ball into 8 pieces. Form each piece into a ball by pinching the sides together at the bottom. Place on a lightly buttered cookie sheet and brush the top of each bun with the melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled.
6. Bake in the centre of a preheated 400 degree oven for 21-24 minutes, or until browned and hollow sounding when you ‘knock’ on the top. Let cool in pan on rack. If you want a crustier bun, spray the inside of the oven with water immediately before putting the buns in.
PS I didn’t price this out, as most of the ingredients used such a minimal amount of my bulk ingredients that it hardly seemed worth it. However, I imagine I used $2 worth of sour cream and butter here, and then add the very generous estimate of $1 worth of the other ingredients (combined) and you are looking at $0.19/bun. This is probably a little high, but you get the idea – cheap and way better than store bought!