Do you know the thing that I think has saved us the most money over our frugal years has been keeping a tight rein on our food budget.
The thing that keeps that low and keeps us eating like Kings ……………. is the old pickle jar in the freezer full of yeast. With some yeast to hand a bag of LIDL bread flour and a few favourite recipes I can conjure up nann bread and pitta breads, pancakes and crepes and English muffins, sandwich bread and crusty breads, soda breads and no-knead breads and of course the now infamous one-hour dinner rolls and the brilliant bagels shared by Shlomo.
With brilliant breads on the menu ….. cheaper dinners are fine by us.
Today I felt like standing a little after my walk – so Nathan (who owns a New York Deli) offered to share his “Chewy Pretzel Rolls” recipe. Its a “mash-up” recipe … using the dough of the famous NY pretzel (which is the size of your head and eaten with sinus clearing yellow mustard) but making it into a roll shape instead. This is his best selling roll – stuffed with smoked slow roast brisket, coleslaw and whey cured dill pickles.
He follows along on the blog – and comments by sending me fabulous emails of his journey from jobbing bar-tender to owner of his little corner deli. He is debt-free … all his credit cards are gone, his eye-watering student loans are history and he has worked three jobs for the last year in order to launch his new business on a shoestring.
He is sharing this recipe today …………. because after only 4 months he has actually met his first years sales target!! I mean ………………. WOW!!!! I of course claim my teeny part in his success as six months ago I taught him how to make Tablet on Skype and every customer gets a golden nugget of Scottish sweetness with their cup of coffee. Mostly I think it must be because he delights his customers … and with rolls like this I am not surprised!!
(Blow kiss to Nathan!!!)
CHEWY PRETZEL ROLLS
- 1 tablespoon dried yeast
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 500 ml warm milk
- 350 ml warm water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 kilo strong bread flour
So the milk and the water need to be at blood temperature. Nathan suggests measuring out the milk then topping up with boiling water to the 850 ml level. Whatdayaknow!!! It makes blood temperature liquid!!! How cool is that little trick?
So add the yeast to the liquid and stir – then set aside for ten minutes to activate. Measure out your flour and add the salt. There is no sugar at all in this dough which I found a little odd … but Nathan assured me that this was right – just to go with it. After ten minutes the yeast and liquid should be frothy. Drizzle the oil over the flour and then start to add the yeasty liquid little by little and stir well with a knife or a chopstick until the dough comes together. Nathan says you can do this in a food mixer with a dough hook ……….. but he couldn’t find a decent second had one when he was starting out so he uses a melamine chopstick like I do to create the dough. Depending on the flour and temperature you may find that you don’t need to use all the liquid. I had about 50 ml left at the end … but the dough was forming a ball and I really didn’t need it to be any wetter. Out onto your work surface and a quick knead for five minutes turns a rather shaggy looking dough …… ………….. into something much smoother to work with.
Pop it back into your bowl and cover and set aside for at least an hour until the dough has doubled in size. Nathan uses my trick of the shower cap too….. in fact he has a regular from a local hotel that keeps him supplied when he needs new ones. Apparently the free Tablet is pretty famous on that little corner Puffed up and looking gorgeous!! You can of course prove the dough overnight in the fridge …. To make life easier in the mornings where he serves mostly bagels Nathan makes the roll mixture up and stores it in big plastic boxes ready to form into rolls after 10 am. Now – here is where we did a little juggling. For a NYC sized sandwich …. 125g of dough is the perfect size. If you have ever eaten a NYC “sammich” they are a little (ahem) on the largish size!! So we think that a 100 g piece of dough is probably the size of a decent lunchtime roll here. Of course … these are for the kids packed lunches so I opted for 75 g sizes …which made decent palm sized rolls ( 2 for big one and one for little one at lunch)
So weight out your dough …. …………….. and form into lovely balls using the palm of your hand. Eep!! 75 g balls make two dozen rolls !!! Use a wet hand to flatten the balls into roll shapes about 2cm thick and set aside to prove again for 25 minutes. This is the secret to the chewy crust ………….. 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of bicarb in 3 litres of water. Bring up to a brisk boil then you are going to “poach” the rolls for 45 seconds on each side before lifting them out, draining and setting them back on your baking sheet.
They will puff up a little as they enter the heat – can you see the first tray has been poached and the second hasn’t? When they have all been poached use a very sharp blade to cut a couple of scores through the top of each roll and sprinkle with some crushed sea salt. Bake at 220 degrees for 20 minutes where the rolls will expand through the cuts from round in shape to a cute little oval. They look totally “Artisan!” … really professional. They are quite crisp at this stage …. the crust is kind of like the “Tiger Bread” crust that you can buy here. But as they cool the salt sprinkled over the top begins to draw in moisture from the air and the dough becomes a dense and chewy crust that is very satisfying to munch on.
This is going to be the perfect roll for filling for a packed lunch …………….. or simply slapping some butter on and dipping in a bowl of soup!! Heck …. at about 4 p each you could have two LOL
If its halfway as decent as his rolls recipe I think we should encourage him to share don’t you??