Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dutch Oven Soft Dinner Rolls

When I first was making this dinner, and Jodi mentioned that she wanted dinner rolls, my mind immediately jumped to a certain buffet restaurant we go to. Their rolls are light and fluffy, amost to the point of having no substance. Generally, I like my bread to have a little body (sometimes a lot), but then I also like learning how to get the results I want. So, I thought I'd take on the challenge. The results today were good, and lighter than normal, but it's still not quite there.

Or, in this case, still not quite not there...

Dutch Oven Soft Dinner Rolls

10" Dutch Oven
10 Coals below
20-22 coals above

2 tsp yeast (or 1pkg}
I/4 cup warm water (105°F-110°F)
1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 cup milk, just to scalding hot (do not simmer or boil)
¼ cup melted butter

4 cup bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

2 T butter, melted, for brushing

The process for these rolls was very similar to my standard process for bread, with a few changes. I started out by activating the yeast in a bowl with the warm water and the sugar. I set that aside to get frothy for about 10 minutes or so.

Then, I heated up the milk and the butter. If I'd been out in the wild, I could've done this in a dutch oven, like my 8", over about 12 coals, but since I was in a bit of a hurry, I did it in the microwave. May the Gods of Iron forgive me.

I sifted the bread flour into a mixing bowl, and added the salt and the egg. I stirred in the yeast mix and the milk mix. It was pretty sticky still. When I turned it out on the table and started kneading, I didn't add much flour on the table. I wanted it to be a pretty wet dough, to make it lighter. Not quite so wet as the no-knead or a ciabatta/focacia dough, but definitely more loose than a regular sandwich bread as well. I kneaded it to a good windowpane. Then I oiled the bowl, and set the dough aside, covered, to rise.

I let it rise a bit higher than normal, in both the first and second fermentations.

After the first rise, I cut it into eighths and rolled each piece into a small ball. I set these into the base of my oiled 10" Dutch oven. I set these aside to rise, while I lit up some coals. Once the coals were ready, I put about 20-25 of them on the lid of the Dutch oven, to preheat. After about 15-20 minutes of heating, the rolls had risen well. I took them out and set up the coals as listed above, and started the baking.

After about 15 minutes, I turned the lid and the oven, and set the thermometer in the dough. They had sprung up nicely, and were just starting to brown. About 10 minutes later, the thermometer read about 190, and they were ready to come off the coals.

I brought them in, turned them out of the Dutch oven, and set them on a cooling rack. While they were still hot, I coated the top with some butter, which immediately melted onto the crust. Then they cooled while I cooked the rest of the dinner.

As I said before, they were lighter than most loaves I'd done, but not quite the airiness I was shooting for. I think that making the dough wetter helped, as well as the extra rise time. I also think baking to 190 instead of 200 was a part of that as well.


  1. Try this recipe it is very similar...

  2. I haven't cooked bread in a dutch oven yet. What thermometer do you use?

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