Friday, January 25, 2008


Sorry, this is a crazy photo. The season finale of Amazing Race was starting, and I’d inadvertently set my camera to some crazy manual-focus setting that made the foreground blurry and the background clear.

This recipe is from a recent issue of Cooking Light. It was a bit frustrating to make, because my dough turned out super-sticky, even after I added well over ½ cup of extra flour during the kneading process (which was really more like the “desperately peeling dough off the counter” process). I had to laugh bitterly at the “to prevent dough from sticking to hands” instruction in step 3—my dough was sticking to hands, bowl, counters, everything. Shaping it in step 5 was kind of a joke; as you can see, my “knots” look pretty much like smooth, round rolls. But just when I was on the verge of despair, I bit into a roll fresh from the oven and it tasted great. Sort of like my beloved Bumpy Rolls, but sweeter, and with the added wholesomeness of oatmeal and flax meal, plus sesame and poppy seeds, which I love. Although the original recipe didn’t call for it, I ground a little coarse salt on top of each roll, and I’m so glad I did—it contrasted nicely with the sweetness—that I’ve added it to the directions below.

Would I make these again, considering what a pain they were? I’d like to try at least once more, to see if I can make the dough more workable—I know something containing that much oatmeal and honey is bound to be a bit sticky, but mine seemed way goopier than what the recipe was expecting. I also think I’d skip the whole dividing-and-tying-into-knots step, which was mainly cosmetic, and make them into cloverleafs in a muffin tin, as with Bumpy Rolls. I’ll keep you posted.

Postscript, December 2009: Not worth it. I don't bake a lot of bread, so when I do, I want Bumpy Rolls. Maybe I can just throw some seeds on top of those sometime.

1 cup regular oats
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
1½ tablespoons salt
2 cups boiling water
1 package dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
1/3 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
¼ cup flaxseed meal
3 cups whole wheat flour (about 14¼ ounces)
1½ cups all-purpose flour (about 6¾ ounces), divided
olive oil or cooking spray
1 large egg
1 tablespoon regular oats
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
coarse salt

1. Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl and add 2 cups boiling water, stirring until well blended. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add yeast mixture to oat mixture and stir well. Stir in flaxseed meal.

3. Measure flours by lightly spooning into dry measuring cups and leveling with a knife. Gradually add 3 cups whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour to oat mixture, and stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes, adding enough of remaining all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough should still feel tacky, however).

4. Place dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil or cooking spray, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place (about 85 degrees Fahrenheit), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into the dough; if indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch the dough down and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Divide dough in half, then cut each half into 12 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep it from drying out), shape each portion into an 8-inch rope. Tie each rope into a single knot and tuck top end of rope under bottom edge of roll. Place rolls on baking sheets coated with olive oil or cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap coated with olive oil or cooking spray (or use a damp disk towel), and let rise on a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

7. Combine egg with 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, and brush egg wash over rolls. Combine 1 tablespoon oats, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over rolls. Sprinkle a little coarse salt over rolls. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Yield: 24 rolls
Time: 2½ to 3 hours

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