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No-Knead Yeast Rolls

March 9, 2010

There’s something about the cold and the rain that has been getting to me recently. My cooking habits have always changed a bit by the seasons (I’m sure the availability of ingredients has something to do with this), but I’ve never been so keen on baking as I have been this year.

The recent purchase of Art Smith’s gorgeous cookbook, Back to the Table inspired these no-knead yeast rolls that will become an easy go-to recipe for you. They’re soft and flavorful and great for dinner and then breakfast the next day.

No-Knead Yeast Rolls
Adapted from Art Smith’s Back to the Table

The original recipe is double the following, but I think making a dozen rolls at a time just makes sense for my small household. So therefore it follows that you could easily double this recipe.

1 cup warm water (105°F – 115°F)
1 ¼ oz package active dry yeast (not instant)
1/4 c. sugar (you could also use honey here)
1 large egg, beaten

1 ½ T. vegetable oil, plus a little extra for brushing
½ t. salt
3  c. all-purpose flour
2 T. unsalted butter, melted

  • Pour the water into a large bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let stand until the yeast softens and begins to foam, about 5 minutes.
  • Add sugar, egg, oil, and salt and stir until the mixture is smooth and the yeast has dissolved.
  • Gradually stir in enough of the flour to make a soft dough, using your hands if necessary. Work the dough until it is soft and smooth. It may still be slightly sticky, but add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky to work with.
  • Lightly brush the top of the dough with additional oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic or a clean tea towel and set in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 1 hour).
  • Punch down the dough and then cut into 12 equal-sized pieces, forming each piece into a smooth ball. You might need a little oil on your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you.
  • Arrange the balls of dough in a buttered 10″ cake pan; cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let stand in a warm place until puffy and doubled in volume (about 35 minutes).
  • Since my rolls were for dinner, I sprinkled them with black pepper as well before popping them in the oven. You can take this opportunity to sprinkle anything you like, really. Here are some suggestions:
    • cinnamon and sugar
    • herbs
    • toasted nuts (press these into the dough a bit so they don’t burn)
    • sesame seeds
  • Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter and bake until golden brown and delicious, about 20-22 minutes.
  • Let stand a few minutes before breaking out of the cake pan. Serve, with honey and/or butter.

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