12 June 2020

SOFT SOURDOUGH CRESCENT ROLLS

Sourdough has a long tradition of being not only healthier than regular bread, but also tremendously delicious and versatile. Once made, the starter itself can be kept for a very long time, and if fed properly, it is a true gem. It is so very forgiving that even the discarded portion can be used for baking. I deeply dislike wasting food, so a need arose to use up the discard from feeding my sourdough starter, and thus, these lovely soft rolls were created.
Deliciously tangy, savoury, generously filled with large pieces of white Cheddar cheese, these make a lovely snack, a fantastic picnic item, or even a dinner roll alternative, with a hearty soup. Buttery enough to be pillowy soft, yet light and slightly chewy. They contain no commercial yeast, only the natural wild yeast created by the long fermentation. Wild yeast can be created by many foodstuffs, including beer and potatoes, but sourdough remains my favourite. The initial starter does take some time to ferment, but the flavour and texture that it rewards you with are immeasurable.


Ingredients
400 grams plain flour
150 grams ripe sourdough starter or sourdough discard
150 millilitres warm milk
75 millilitres warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
50 grams unsalted butter, softened
150 grams white cheddar

Preparation
Pour the milk, water, and sugar into a large bowl, mix well, add in half of the flour, along with the salt, and whisk until blended. The dough will resemble a thick cake batter. Add in the sourdough starter, and mix again with a wooden spoon. Start adding in rest of the flour, and mix vigorously until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a piece of cling film, and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. After the dough has rested, remove the film and add in the softened butter. Knead the butter into the dough until it is fully absorbed. Cover the bowl once again with cling film or a kitchen towel, and leave it to rise in a warm spot, for about an hour and a half or two hours, until doubled in size.
In the meantime, slice the block of Cheddar into 16 pieces, one for each of the rolls. Turn out the risen and airy dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and press it down gently to release all of the air, and roll it out into a large circle, about 5 millimetres in thickness. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 triangles. Shape each of them into a crescent roll by placing a piece of cheese on the wider part of the triangle, and then rolling the dough towards the narrower end. Place them onto a baking sheet, seam side down. Let them rise for another hour or so, and bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden. If desired, brush the baked rolls with a bit of softened butter and serve immediately. Yields 16 crescent rolls.

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