It’s been a while since I last taught a bread class at my church. A good while. But I succumbed to the throngs of Sisters practically begging me to teach another class. In the end not all of the throng showed up and we all were able to comfortably fit into the church kitchen. Yeah!
The class was supposed to be on (dinner) rolls with the idea of showcasing two very different type of rolls. On one end of the rolls spectrum, we have the enriched, soft, yeast laden, and therefor very speedy-in-the-making, SNOWFLAKE ROLL (click here for recipe) .
On the other end, with 4 ingredients only, an overnight pre-ferment, hours of fermentation, a rest in the refrigerator, the smallest amount of yeast only, we have what I like to call my signature rolls: crusty european rolls by CRUSTIQUE SURVIVAL (an adaption of a recipe by King Arthus Flour).
Both kinds have their place in the roll universe. One of my students asked me, which roll is easier to make. Now that is a loaded question! If easy equates with speedy, then the snowflake rolls are what you want. They can be ready to eat in a little over 60 minutes
Here is a picture of my student asking me the question (not really, I just like the picture):
If one of your interest or concerns is emergency preparedness then the crusty european rolls would be of more interest to you. Because, in an emergency situation, less is always more. And the less resources you have to use, the longer something will last you. The crusty rolls may take more time to prepare, but the bulk of that time is just spent sitting lazily on the countertop (the dough, not you, silly!) They really are very easy to make, and the dough or the shaped rolls can be refrigerated to fit into your busy schedule.
But if you ask ME, I have a few reasons to prefer the crusty european rolls. Not that you actually asked me; but since this is my blog, I can make up and answer my own questions and then PRETEND you asked me. So. since you asked me…
It appears that a lot of the bad rap which wheat has been getting over the past years, may actually be attributed to the yeast rather than the wheat gluten. The advent of commercial yeast (bringing with it very inferior bread) replaced the natural and healthy breads made with “wild” yeast found in sourdoughs and my gut tells me that’s when all the gluten trouble started. The long fermenation with sourdough dough breaks down all the stuff that needs to be broken down to be easily digestible by us gut-sensitive humans. That would explain why many people who have gluten issues, are still able to tolerate breads prepare with a sourdough starter. You can probably tell that I am not a nutrional scientist. I am, however, someone who has done a lot of research and has at least some common sense.
Whenever I tell someone that I make sourdough bread, they immediately jump to the topic of San Francisco sourdough bread. Hello! Let me inform you, that there is a whole sourdough world outside the San Francisco sourdough! And sourdough bread does not even have to be “sour”. When I say sourdough, I generally mean bread that has been made with a “wild yeast starter”.
A good thing to have in your larder is… a wild yeast starter!
In fact, I am so convinced about the health benefits of baking with sourdough that I have gone on a crusade (in the gentlest sense of the term) to teach people to bake with it. (You can sign up for one of my classes or get a little group of friends together at your house for a “wild (yeast) party”. Just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, everyone LOVES a (sourdough) bread baker!!!). Oh, while I aways make sure to instruct my students properly, I am notorious for omitting one ingredient in my workshop dough (the one that goes home with me). Left out the sugar in the snowflake rolls and the salt in the crusty european rolls! Ha!Ha! Of course, I would claim that I am baking for a diabetic friend or one who has to watch his sodium intake.
I just read today that people’s average attention span has decreased LOTS over the past years, so I am going to insert another picture here for you, so I don’t lose you along the way. This is a picture of our crusty workshope rolls in the oven:
Ready to exit the oven and be devoured?
I can attest to you that they are as yummy as they look. Just so you know, I do have an extensive vocabulary and actually know many words to describe tastes, smells, or other sensory experiences relating to food. However, the single, simple word “yummy” pretty much explains that which would require a number of more sophisticated words, and would still fail to describe the european roll sensory experience properly. “Yummy” those rolls are!
So, what was the point of this whole blog post? Oh, yes! For you to find out which way YOU roll.
It’s alway good to have options. And Snowflake rolls certainly have their place in the roll universe. But if you are trending toward living more healthily, well, in this case I exhort you (awesome word I don’t get to use very often!) to learn how to roll down the path of long fermentation.
And thank you, Ladies of the Bonita 1st Ward, for another successful bread workshop. It is always a pleasure to share my passion of breadbaking with you.
Over and out.