dinner rolls and timing

A bakers' dozen of #omnomnom

One of the things I’ve determined when churning out dinner rolls to go with a roasted bird is that the optimal time to put the rolls in the oven is as soon as the bird comes out.  The oven temp will be perfect (325, cranking it up to 350 if using a conventional oven), and for a 20-25 minute bake, the rolls can be pulled from the oven, brushed with softened butter and get a few minutes to cool down while the bird is carved.  The timing just works out well.

This also means that the timing of the dough formation, bulk fermentation and bench rise should be calculated against the time the bird comes out of the oven.  Working backwards, then:

My bird will come out at 3:30pm.

90-minute bench rise takes us to 2:00pm.

15 minutes for shaping takes us to 1:45pm.

360-minute bulk fermentation in the fridge takes us to 7:45am. (This is for sanity’s sake; the dough is horrifying to shape at room temp.)

10 minutes with the dough hook on high speed takes us to 7:35am. (It’s done when the dough cleans itself off the bowl.  You won’t think it will.  It will.)

30-minute autolysis takes us to 7:05am.

5 minutes for scaling out the ingredients and giving it a brief stir to combine takes us to 7:00am.

And 60 minutes to get ingredients up to room temp gives us a 6:00am start time.

For dinner rolls.  6:00am.  But so worth it.  (The photo is from two Thanksgivings ago.  I am particularly thankful on this day for Instagram, since I seem to have deleted the photo from my iPad sometime between then and now!)

The Dough (for 12 rolls)

  • 450g all-purpose flour
  • 4g yeast
  • 7g salt
  • 48g sugar
  • 120g water
  • 240g milk (room temp; buttermilk is also delightful)
  • 1 egg (room temp)
  • 90g butter (room temp); use the remainder of the stick for a post-bake shine

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oatmeal pancakes



The kids love oatmeal.  They also love pancakes.  I love making food I don’t eat, especially when I can geek out.  I see a win/win/win here.

Pancakes could technically be called panmuffins, since you use the Muffin Method of construction: scale dry ingredients in Bowl 1 and mix thoroughly; scale wet ingredients in Bowl 2 and beat to combine; pour Bowl 2 mix into Bowl 1 (not the reverse!), then stir briefly until the dry mix is mostly absorbed, but lumps remain.  

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cooking when i don’t feel like it: chicken milanese 



I suffer from a strange reaction to food – when I cook it, I don’t want to eat it and when I eat it, I don’t want to cook it.  Multi-homed satiety has its benefits and drawbacks.  Tonight was a drawback, since I was full enough from lunch that I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.  But I have two stomachs in the house that don’t cook and therefore expect to be fed regularly.  What do?

Chicken Milanese, that’s what.  It’s fun because I get to play with the food, but not labor-intensive and incorporates downtime, so I can wash the prep dishes during Intermission and don’t feel like the kitchen was hit with a hurricane when I’m done.

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magic-enough-for-me sauce



I like The Flame Broiler, which is to say, I am addicted like a smack addict to the marinade and magic sauce used on the meat.  They aren’t giving up the recipe; until then, a simple Korean(ish) BBQ sauce will do.  I was going to research a shitload of recipes and test them all out, but the first one I found was close enough to the stated ingredients and taste of the smack that I have called off the search.

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this chocolate cake is not a lie

The vast appeal of a boxed cake mix, besides not having to measure dry ingredients, is that it’s a one-bowl operation.  Dry mix goes into the bowl; liquids go into the bowl; presto, cake batter.

I can get that down to a bowl, a bag and a drinking glass, with the advantage of reusing the bag – as soon as one cake’s worth of dry mix is emptied, scale in the next cake’s worth, re-seal the bag and smugly reflect on your water conservation skills and environmental conscientiousness.  Or toss the bag, preferably whilst lighting a contraband legal Cuban cigar with a Ben Franklin and laughing maniacally.

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dirty rice (my daddy would not approve)



I’ve been noodling over The Food Stamp Challenge, again.  Nope, still not taking it; looking at it from a home ec perspective, though.  For a family of three in Los Angeles County, the maximum monthly SNAP benefit is $511/month.  The Hillbilly Housewife has two meal plans that could take the challenge – one devoid of meat (but with eggs) and the other with a bit more variety.

The last time the author updated the meal plans was in 2009, but the core items in the lowest-cost plan can be purchased from Amazon Fresh, in most of the quantities indicated, and come in at the $511 price point for the month.  (My basket for the week was $96.81 – $20 to spend for the last two days would be pretty slim pickings).  So, in theory, one could buy through Amazon Fresh on a food stamp budget without starving.   But I think I could do better, for my specific situation, with that monthly allotment.

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