Friday, May 10, 2019

CRÈME FRAÎCHE DINNER ROLLS

When I first started baking, about two decades ago, my main goal was to create breads and pastries that will have a shiny, soft crust, and a pillowy texture. These rolls are just like that, and with the addition of crème fraîche, they stay soft and fresh even the next day. For me, crème fraîche is a magical ingredient in baking, especially for yeast breads and rolls, as it makes them very tender, and nicely browned.
I am a great believer in slow rise when it comes to baked goods, but sometimes a much quicker alternative is needed, and that is the moment when rolls like these come in handy. Done in under 90 minutes, they are fluffy and soft, and have a pleasant tanginess to them, making them a perfect choice for both sweet and savoury meals. And if you love toast as much as I do, you will be happy to hear that these miniature beauties toast flawlessly the next morning, and are divine with a spot of jam and a spoonful of clotted cream.


Ingredients
475 grams soft bread flour
150 grams crème fraîche
100 ml vegetable oil
135 ml warm water
30 grams fresh yeast
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
50 ml vegetable oil, for brushing


Preparation
Crumble the fresh yeast into a small bowl, sprinkle in the sugar, and pour in the warm water. Briefly whisk, then leave it in a warm place for about 15 minutes, so the yeast can activate. Place the crème fraîche into a large bowl, add in the oil and salt, and whisk well. Pour in the dissolved, bubbly yeast, briefly mix, then sift in half of the flour. Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until a thick batter forms, then start adding in the rest of the flour, kneading the dough with your hands as you do. The finished dough should be very soft and supple, and ever so slightly sticky. If it sticks too much to your hands, add another tablespoon or two of flour, but not more, the dough needs to be as soft as possible.
Turn the dough out on a well-floured surface, and shape it into a rough ball. Weigh the dough and divide it into thirty parts by weight, as this will ensure all of them bake evenly, and shape each of them into a tight sphere, rolling it on your work surface to help it form. Take a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment and arrange the rolls snugly – it is perfectly fine if they touch slightly. Brush them with half of the vegetable oil and loosely cover them with cling film, then let them rise for 45 minutes in a warm spot. Just before baking, brush them again with the remaining oil, and bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for 12-15 minutes. You can brush them with a bit of melted butter as soon as you take them out of the oven, for a shinier and softer crust. Yields 30 small dinner rolls.

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