I have a confession to make, yeast breads terrify me. Quick breads not included, I can count on one hand how many times I have attempted to bake bread from scratch. The science of baking is such a mystery to me, I am in awe of anyone who can turn out a great loaf of bread in a conventional oven, let alone a dutch oven. I have tried baking bread in my dutch oven with disastrous results. On my journey to become a better dutch oven cook I chalk these mishaps up to experience and figure every botched attempt presents an opportunity to learn something new. My advice to anyone starting out with dutch oven cooking is to try your hand at baking first with store bought frozen bread dough.
|My first attempt at baking bread in a dutch oven
Now you know why I was overjoyed to have made these incredibly light and scrumptious Feather Bed Potato Rolls. They rose and baked beautifully and every step of the process went like clockwork. If this recipe can come together so well for me then I am convinced almost anyone can make these delicious rolls. One thing I might add is that I did use a thermometer to test the temperature of the water before adding the yeast and I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to do all the kneading. It was a hot and humid day which required the full 3 and 3/4 cups of flour. When I baked them in my 12 inch oven I started with 8 coals around the bottom and completely covered the lid. Ten minutes later I removed the center coals from the lid and left them to bake with two rings around the outside. They took 25 minutes to bake. Once I was hit with the aroma of freshly baked bread I lifted the lid to take a peek as to how they were progressing. If you are gun shy about working with yeast breads this is a great recipe to start with. I guarantee you will fall in love with the flavor and texture of these rolls. This recipe comes from Blue Ribbon Recipes by Polly Bannister and The Editors of The Old Farmer's Almanac. It can also be found at the Yankee Magazine website.
Feather Bed Potato Rolls
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (1 tablespoon) dry yeast
3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups flour
Boil the potato until tender. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water. Mash the potato and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the hot potato cooking water, sugar, butter, and salt. Let stand until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm (105-115 degrees F). Stir in the yeast and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Beat in the egg and potato by hand. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the flour as you can. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 3 to 5 minutes, adding enough flour to make a moderately soft dough. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Lightly oil and line a 12 or 14 inch dutch oven with parchment paper.
Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a 3-inch round cutter. Place the rounds 1/4 inch apart in dutch oven. Cover oven and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from dutch oven and cool on a wire rack. Makes 16-20 rolls.
|Cut rolls into 3 inch rounds and place 1/4 inch apart in dutch oven