Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dutch Crunch Rolls

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Dutch Crunch rolls
Dutch Crunch rolls

I have been working hard on developing some recipes that incorporate spelt flour into my baking.  So far I am still refining my recipes and techniques in my attempts to make rolls, breads and treats that are as light and elegant as the ones I can make with all-purpose flour or white bread flour.  One of the big hurdles I am trying to overcome is the extra crunchy, nearly hard, crust that I seem to get on my attempts at breads and rolls.

My personal goal just happened to tie in well with this month's Daring Baker challenge so I decided to combine the two efforts.  Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!

This was something completely new for me and I really enjoyed making these rolls.  I had never heard of Dutch Crunch bread and learning new things is a real pleasure to me.  These rolls are made in a 2 step process - first your dough, with the normal 2 rises before baking, and then a thick icing made with rice flour, yeast and water that is spread on just before baking.  I thought that having a topping on the rolls before baking them might help with the tough/hard crust issues I have been having when using spelt flour, so I was definitely intrigued to see how it would go.

The rolls turned out lovely, with a deep brown, almost reddish, crackled crust.  The coating definitely kept the rolls from getting that hard outer shell I have been fighting with when using spelt flour.  The only downside was -- no one in my family actually cared for the Dutch Crunch part of things.  The consensus was that the topping, although it really looks cool, was dusty when you eat it.  Since none of us have ever had this before I honestly do not know if this was due to my baking skills or that is just the style of it all and it is not a personal hit with my crowd.  I would love to hear from others who are more familiar with this bread - how is it supposed to taste?  I could use some pointers on what to do differently next time because I love the concept and the final product looks great.

This has been submitted to YeastSpotting.

Soft Whole Grain Sandwich Roll
This roll recipe is adapted from The Bread Bible to incorporate the use of whole grain spelt flour. These soft rolls are easy to build a great sandwich in.
  • 1 Tbs yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 - 5 cups spelt flour

  1. In a large bowl combine the water, milk, yeast and sugar. Let the yeast proof, until it is foamy, about 5 - 10 minutes.
  2. Add the salt and oil and 3 cups of the spelt flour and then mix well either by hand or using the dough hook on your stand mixer. Add up to another 2 cups of spelt flour just until the dough comes together and forms a ball. It will be a tender dough that is slightly tacky to the touch.
  3. Knead the dough for an additional 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  4. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, about 3 oz each. Space them out on a baking sheet and cover, letting them rise another 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 380 (F).
  5. If you are going to be applying the Dutch Crunch topping now is the time to mix it up and then let it rest for 15 minutes. See the recipe below. Once it has rested 15 minutes, apply liberally to your rising rolls using a spoon or your fingers and then bake immediately.  If you are not going to use the Dutch Crunch topping, just melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and brush the tops and sides of the rolls.  Let them finish rising and then bake as usual.
  6. Once the rolls are nice and puffy bake them for 30-35 minutes until they are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Slice and fill with your favorite sandwich ingredients. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10 rolls

Dutch Crunch Topping
This is the topping that you put on top of your rolls or loaf before baking. It should be rather thick when you mix it up, a bit like a thick pancake batter.
  • 2 Tbs yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rice flour (brown or white, NOT sweet or glutinous - I used brown rice flour)

  1. Combine everything in a medium bowl and beat together with your whisk until you have a thick consistency. It should dribble off the whisk, but slowly. Add more flour or water until you get the consistency you want. Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Coat the top of your rolls using a spoon or your fingers. You want a generous layer on top so that it will crackle properly.
  3. Let the covered dough finish rising, uncovered, per the recipe instructions. For the rolls above once all of the topping is applied you can bake them immediately.
  4. The Dutch Crunch topping should crack and turn a nice golden-brown color.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: topping for 2 loaves, or 20 rolls

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