Golden Parmesan rolls are a perfect accompaniment to so many soups, particularly tomato based ones like my Butternut Squash & Barley Bisque. I’ve been making these rolls as long as I have been making soup to go along with them, whether in the USA or now across the Atlantic in Britain, with whatever kitchen equipment I’ve had at my disposal even if it was simply a bowl and a wooden spoon. However, my preferred method of bread making is a dough hook attachment on my KitchenAid mixer.
In the move to Britain, we were forced to abandon our electrical appliances due to the differences in electrical output, something to do with the voltage. Or is it wattage? You can tell I am not an electrician. While my husband mourned the loss of his miter saw and high-end stereo system, I was sad to say goodbye to my cappuccino maker and my beautiful cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer. (The KitchenAid went to a good home with my sister in Pennsylvania.)
Once again we began the slow process of building up our collection of electrical equipment. Almost the first Christmas here, I was presented with a bread maker. I used it to make the dough for these rolls and other yeasty breads. But, after burning out the motor on two machines, I called a halt to bread machines.
A few years ago, I replaced my lovely cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer with one designed for British electricity, giving me the satisfaction of finally returning my kitchen – and Parmesan roll making – to status quo.
Golden Parmesan Rolls
- 3 cups strong flour (bread flour)
- 1 teaspoon dried active yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, approximately 2-1/2 oz.
- 1 cup warm water
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse corn meal (or polenta)
Place the the flour, yeast, salt and grated Parmesan in your mixer with a dough hook attached and add the warm water while it is mixing on a low speed. If the consistency of the dough is still dry looking after a little while, add more warm water, a little at a time. Remember the amount of water flour absorbs depends on the amount of gluten (protein) in your flour. Strong (bread) flour has a higher gluten content than plain (all-purpose) flour.
Once the water has been completely absorbed, put your mixer on medium speed to knead the dough – the process of generating elasticity in the dough. The final consistency should be soft, but not wet and sticky. The dough should not stick to the bottom of the bowl, but has “wrapped” itself around the hook.
Turn out on a floured board and test by pressing your thumb in the dough. If the dough has enough elasticity to slowly spring back, it is ready for the next step. However, if the consistency needs more kneading, do this by by hand. Push the dough down and away from you with the heel of your hand, fold back over and turn on quarter. Repeat this process until the dough passes the “thumb” test. It should not be stiff like a rubber ball.
In a liberally oiled bowl (using good olive oil), place the dough ball, rolling it around the oil and flipping it until it is completely coated. Place cling film (= American Saran wrap) over the bowl and place a clean tea towel over that. Let it stand in a warm place for 1-2 hours until the dough has doubled in height.
Lift out the dough onto a floured board and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece individually into balls. Place a handful of corn meal into a small bowl and dip the bottom of each of the rolls and place them on a baking tray, leaving room between for expansion. Cover the tray with a clean tea towel and let sit for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. I tend to bake breads using my convection oven as this tends to achieve a higher temperature, and retain the moisture in the foods. When the oven is up to temperature and the rolls are ready, bake for approximately 15 minutes until golden on top and the rolls sound hollow when tapped.
Cool slightly and serve with soup.