Friday, August 19, 2011

100% Whole Wheat Rolls/Buns

Confession: I really do not like to bake. I don't know why either, and it actually baffles me since I love to cook so much. So I am spreading my wings and am trying my hand at coming up with my own recipe for whole wheat rolls/buns since I can't find a recipe I like or any store-bought that meet my strict criteria! ;)  You may recall me talking in previous posts about nixing wheat/gluten around here, but my husband is undergoing testing next month for gluten-related issues, so I actually have to make sure he is getting gluten in his diet until then, thus sending me on what is turning out to be a baking frenzy.

All the recipes I have found call themselves "whole wheat", but then I am disappointed to see that they use mostly an all-purpose or bread flour with just a small amount of whole wheat flour. Admittedly, I grew up on 100% whole wheat bread, so I am used to the taste and texture and much prefer it, but if you find you need to ease yourself or your family into it, by all means substitute all purpose flour for some of the whole wheat flour. Give this a chance as is though--my husband raved about how light and moist these are and what a nice texture they have, he said the weren't at all heavy or grainy like he thought they would be! I also didn't want to use milk, butter, shortening or sugar, and while I did use an egg, I am playing around with substitutes (such as milled flaxseed mixed with water, a common egg substitute these days). You could also substitute all or some of the water for milk--water happens to be super easy, and since we limit our milk intake, I don't always have it on hand. Sugar can be substituted for the honey, but if it's not already, you need honey in your life. ;)

You can really get creative here, shaping the dough into dinner rolls, hamburger buns, sub rolls, etc. I yield approximately 16 generously-sized hamburger buns and approximately 24 dinner/cocktail rolls that are also great for sandwiches. You could bake the rolls close together in a baking dish and make pull-apart rolls. I am going to play around with making it into a loaf of bread as well. To make it even more convenient, I freeze the shaped dough I don't need right away and take it out when I need it--you will see instructions below in the recipe. You will also see sort of a "Choose Your Own Adventure" (remember those books?!) section in the instructions. You can either finish the entire recipe in one day, or you can mix up the dough in the evening (I do it after the kids are in bed) and then let it slowly rise in the refrigerator over night and finish them the next day when you get time.

Except for the honey (which is local, from the farmers market) and the yeast, I used all organic ingredients. At only $3.89 for 16 generous burger-sized buns or 24 smaller rolls for sandwiches or just on the side, that is a steal for me. My grocery store's bakery charges $2.69 for 12 cocktail rolls (think what you serve deli meats on at parties), which are not 100% whole wheat and most definitely not made with organic ingredients or the types of ingredients I like to use. They do sell big brand organic breads and buns, but they are always frozen, and they are pushing $6 per package--eeks! Depending on the types of ingredients you use, substitutions and other variables, your cost could be quite low compared to mine even.

100% Whole Wheat Rolls/Buns

5 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp canola/vegetable/light olive oil (any light, mild oil)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp salt

Step 1: In a small bowl, add water and honey, stir and sprinkle in yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Step 2: Add flour and salt to large mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in egg, oil and water mixture. Mix until dough forms a ball. If it is too dry, add warm water just a little bit at a time. If it is sticky/wet, you can correct that in the next step.

Step 3: Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth, 8 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary to correct wet/sticky dough.

Step 4: Place dough in a large bowl that you've oiled, making sure to coat entire ball of dough with oil as well. Cover bowl and follow one of the following two options, 5A/6A OR 5B/6B:

Step 5A: Place bowl in a warm place and let dough rise until it doubles in size, approximately one hour. Punch dough down and form into rolls of desired size and shape, keeping in mind you will be letting them double in size.

Step 6A: Place rolls on oiled baking sheet 2-3 inches apart, cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately one hour, until doubled in size.

Step 5B: Place bowl in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, punch dough down and form into rolls of desired size, keeping in mind you will be letting them double in size.

Step 6B: Place rolls on oiled baking sheet 2-3 inches apart, cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.

Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees for 10-13 minutes, until light golden brown on top. If desired, cover with a towel as they cool to keep them soft.

To freeze dough for ready-to-rise-and-bake rolls: Whichever method you use, letting the dough immediately rise or letting it rise in the fridge overnight, after you divide it into rolls, put them on a baking sheet and into the freezer. When the rolls are frozen, place them in a zip top bag or container. When you want to use them, place them 2-3 inches apart on an oiled baking sheet, cover and let thaw and rise in a warm place until doubled in size, approximately 2 1/2 hours. Bake as directed above.


Whole wheat flour (organic): $2.84/2 lb bag, used 5/7 = $2.03
Egg (organic): On sale $3.09/dz, used one = $.26
Canola oil (organic): On sale $5.09/16 oz bottle, used around 1/11 = $.48
Honey (farmers market/local): $4/16 oz bottle, used 1/8 = $.50
Yeast: $1.86/3 pk, used one = $.62

Total Cost: $3.89 
16 Servings: $.24 per serving
24 Servings: $.16 per serving

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