“Acorns were good till bread was found.” Francis Bacon

It has been suggested by my wife that I should write a weekly posting about bread. I didn’t exactly jump at the opportunity. It’s not that I don’t enjoy making bread because I really love it. And anybody who knows me understands that I love writing at least as much. The reason I’m not anxious to contribute a weekly post for this blog is that scheduling an hour in the kitchen once a week to make a loaf of bread is nearly impossible with Freya at the helm. You'll be lucky to see a Bread of the Month!

What upsets me about the current arrangement is that I’ve always considered the kitchen to be my domain. I’ve been cooking since my first spectacular failure making a grilled cheese sandwich when I was six years old. My mom never did figure out where that pan went! Most kids who take up cooking are inspired by a culinary tradition passed down from the matriarch, but not me. My desire to cook came from summers at home with a father who had absolutely NO skill in the kitchen. My desire to cook came from months of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup with grated cheddar on the top and a side of Saltine crackers with a thin smear of butter. In his defence, he has recently claimed that he was also capable of making Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese in those days.

After filing all the proper documents, a slot was cleared on Monday to do some baking. I have been enjoying the old Time-Life Good Cook series of books which Freya has been collecting recently. They're not a showcase for popular chefs; they're just very well structured how-to guides that cater to every skill level without being patronizing or overly complicated. My favourite is, of course, Breads. This book is packed with information about the history, the science, and the diversity of bread. The premise is fairly straightforward. Lots of styles of bread in the first half of the book and lots of recipes for dough in the second half. Choose a style, choose a compatible dough, and the permutations are infinite!

I decided to make clover rolls using a milk/butter dough. I have been eating clover rolls for years usually as part of holiday meals, but had never considered how they were made. From now on I'll always make my own.

CLOVER ROLLS (6-8 rolls)

5 cups plain flour
1.5 cups warm milk
7g dry yeast
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 water filled spray bottle


1. Dissolve yeast in .5 cup of the milk and allow 10 minutes for activation.
2. Sift flour and salt in bowl. Rub butter into dry ingredients.
3. Add .5 cup milk/yeast to mixture and stir in with a fork. Add remaining milk and mix together until a stiff dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 10-15 minutes until dough becomes elastic and firm.
4. Place dough in a clean bowl and cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1.5-2 hours. When dough has doubled in size, punch down, re-cover, and let rise for another 15 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C. Grease medium sized muffin tin. Pinch off golf ball sized balls of dough and roll between your hand to smooth. Align three balls evenly in each muffin slot. Repeat until all dough is used up.
6. Open the heated oven and give it several sprays from the water bottle to humidify. Place the rolls in the oven, cook for 15 minutes misting the oven every five minutes.
7. Remove rolls from the oven and brush with milk or butter.

My rolls came out of the oven well after 10PM. They would probably be more appropriate for lunch, but we didn't wait. Freya loved them with butter. For me it was a new Italian salami I purchased over the weekend. And they were just as good reheated the next day.

Coming Attractions: BEER BREAD (RATED R) and PIG IN A TROUGH (RATED G)


Shaun said...

Dear Freya's hubby - So glad Freya got you in on the act. If only my partner would write on the Taiwanese and fusion dishes he makes for us on occassion. The clover rolls sound too easy not to make, and guests are always floored when hosts present them with homemade bread. Thanks for the inspiration.

Kathryn said...

YUM! These rolls look really good. What a great idea to have your husband write a guest feature every week, and on bread, no less. Mmm. Thank you for posting this - they look really good...


FreyaE said...

Shaun, the trick is constant nagging! She wore me down eventually!

Kathryn, you won't see a guest feature EVERY week, not unless we build a second kitchen in the basement! YOu'll probably see more during barbeque season. To a Wisconsinite, that's all year round!