The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Newbie problem with rolls

Greybeard's picture
Greybeard

Newbie problem with rolls

I'm an experienced cook (40+ years) but have always said, "I'm a cook, not a baker". Lately I've been trying to change that.

I found this recipe:

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/french-bread-rolls/

Printable version (skips all the discussion):

https://www.melskitchencafe.com/wp-json/mv-create/v1/creations/1243/print

and made it four times now. Each time, the dough rises nicely, but is very soft and winds up as a flat focaccia-like loaf instead of rolls. We're actually happy with that now: we use it for tomato sandwiches. But it's so far from rolls that I must be doing something wrong, yet I can't figure out what!

I'm using fresh Bob's Red Mill active dry yeast, good white flour from a local bread store, and the water, sugar, and salt should be pretty hard to get wrong.

The one thing I'm not doing is using a stand mixer, because I don't have one. I mix it and knead it by hand.

Any suggestions gratefully accepted!

Colin2's picture
Colin2

Is the problem that the 12 rolls merge together during the final proof and baking, so that you end up with one rectangular loaf that doesn't easily pull apart?

Could you maybe post a picture of the final product, ideally sliced across to show the crumb?

Greybeard's picture
Greybeard

I actually halved the recipe, so it was supposed to be six rolls, but yes. After proofing they were separate but after the second rise they weren't.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

Looks like too much oil or liquid.  and maybe the flour is not strong enough.  are you sure this is AP or bread flour and not Cake flour? or the gluten is under developed. 

Check out this youtube video on rolls. different recipe, but shows you how things should look at each stage.  it's very important to get the window pane in the dough for rolls so that they expand properly and doesnt go flat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFsjf7LevEU

-James

Colin2's picture
Colin2

Yep.  The quantities in the recipe look OK, but the picture looks like a focaccia made with too much oil.  

James' guidance is good.  When you shape the rolls, they want to look like what you see at 6:30 in the video: elastic little balls of dough that more or less hold their shape.  You put 'em next to each other in a pan with a little room to expand, and they should pull apart readily after baking.

See also: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/33340/soft-white-pull-apart-dinner-rolls

Greybeard's picture
Greybeard

From watching the video, I probably made all the mistakes you list. I was afraid of too much flour, and the dough WAS stickier than what she showed, and I probably didn't knead enough, either. (I've had four hand surgeries, so it's real easy for me to convince myself "That's probably enough"--must fight this!)

It's definitely bread flour, from a Great Harvest.

Next iteration I will try the recipe from the video, using AP flour, kneading more, etc.

ciabatta's picture
ciabatta

If kneading is an issue. check out videos on Stretch and Fold or Coil fold methods.  much easier on the hands.  maybe a bit more time for dough to rest between sets of folding. but definitely easier.  I dont remember the last time i kneaded dough.   you goal is to achieve window pane after a set. when you get that. the dough is ready for final proof and then shaping. (for rolls, you'll want a full punch down to get rid of air bubbles in the dough)

Greybeard's picture
Greybeard

This is great advice, too. I had no idea how to tell if 'twas done enough; I assume an experienced baker Just Knows, but that sure isn't me! The windowpane thing is going to be invaluable.

And will research those other techniques.

Colin2's picture
Colin2

In terms of easier mixing: I haven't tried this with rolls, but the technique called "autolyse" is worth a try.  (https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/blog/2017/09/29/using-the-autolyse-method) You'd mix up the water in the recipe with most of the flour, just so it "comes together" to make a shaggy soft dough, and just let it just sit, for up to an hour.  Then sprinkle yeast and salt on the dough, add sugar and oil, mix and finally add enough more flour to give you a non-sticky dough.  Then, yeah, try stretching and folding instead of classic kneading.  Stretch and fold, let it rest a bit, do another stretch and fold.  Rolls are pretty forgiving!  You want a soft smooth texture in the dough, but it's not like you need to build a monster gluten structure like in classic baguettes.