RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
For some folks cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, or even if you are delegated the task of bringing a particular item, the fear… the challenge… however, you’re feeling internal about wanting to tackle homemade yeast rolls or achieving that perfect pie crust is starting to sink in.
Have no fear Chef Scotty is here. First of all, Good-For-You for wanting to take the “homemade” road as opposed to the store bought route. Now there is nothing wrong with store bought, but as many home bakers can attest, the joy of baking at home far surpasses the last minute dash to the supermarket for a big old bag of Potassium Bromate, Partially Hydrogenated Oil, Azodicarbonamide, and Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA).
Now as far as pie crusts go, and you have heard me say this on a number of my segments and recipes using pie crusts, the number one rule to remember is to keep everything COLD! Pie crust/pastry crust is counting on there being small separate bits of fat, layered between flour and ice water. When these tiny bits of fat layered between dough hit the hot oven, they melt. When they melt they release their oil, but also release any moisture, they contain. That moisture causes steam, which in turn creates rise and separation of that dough, giving us layers. Hopefully flakey and flavorful layers!
So below are two recipes, my “go-to” recipes that I think are perfect and not that labor intensive. Having something natural and homemade are two beautiful things when it comes to Thanksgiving; especially if you are doing the whole meal yourself.
HOLIDAY DINNER ROLLS Makes approximately two dozen/2 ounce dinner rolls
4-5 cups All Purpose Flour (I’ll explain)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 egg, room temp (soak in warm water for 30 minutes or more if cold from the fridge)
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
With your stand mixer and with its dough hook attachment, add four cups of the flour to the mixing bowl. On one side of your flour add the dry yeast and sugar. On the other side add the salt. Salt will inhibit yeast growth initially, so I always keep the two separated in the mixing bowl.
Warm your milk to 100-110 degrees… so a little warmer than body temperature. Place the milk in your microwave for a few seconds until it is warm to the touch, or slowly warm in a pot on your stove. If the milk is too hot, and you will know “too hot” when you touch it, you will kill the yeast.
Add the room temp egg to the milk and beat with a fork gently.
Start running your mixer with the dough hook attachment and let the hook begin to combine the dry ingredients. Pour the warm milk and egg into the mixing bowl while the mixer is slowly running, Once the dry and wet start coming together a thick wet dough will begin to form. Knock the codes of the bowl gently so that all of the flour starts working its way to the center and incorporating. Increase the speed of the mixer to get that dough working and the needed gluten in the flour to begin developing.
One tablespoon at a time start adding the softened butter, The butter will mix into the dough on its own, and you don’t have to wait for it to add the next tablespoon. Now, for that fifth cup of flour: Add half of it while the mixer is running (on low…else flour will go everywhere) and wait for it to mix in. Increase the speed and see if the dough starts to pull away from the sides. If not add a little bit more, let it blend in, and see if it starts to pull away from the bowl. The idea is to get the dough just right with just enough flour (Yes bakers, I know weighing the ingredients would be better, but not every home cook is a semi-pro baker like you.)
Once you have enough flour, and I tend to use 4 1/2-4/34 cups, an the dough has pulled away from the bowl and is working with the dough hook, increase the speed even more to really get that nice “knead” worked into your dough, Plan at least five minutes on a higher speed to finally work that dough.
Remove the dough hook from the dough and bowl. Remove the dough and add a tablespoon or so of oil to the bowl. Rub the oil all around the inside of the bowl then add the dough back to the bowl. Cover the top of the mixing bowl with plastic film or a damp towel and place the bowl in a warm spot to rise, My oven has a “dough proof setting,” and I can place the bowl in there... a lot of the new ovens do. If you have one, do that. If not, I’ll let you figure out where a sweet, warm spot in your kitchen is. Let the dough proof 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
When doubled in size, “Punch down” the dough and remove it to a lightly floured surface. Prepare a 9x13 well baking pan or cake pan with cooking spray or oil. For the rolls, I used a small kitchen scale to weigh out 2 ounces of dough. You can eyeball it if you have no scale (which is also why we aren’t weighing ingredients) and cut and roll the dough pieces to about the side of a small lemon or lime. Roll the ball out on your work surface until smooth and make sure all your dough balls are approximately the same size for uniformity. You may also roll the dough into a “snake” shape and cut off uniform pieces.
Place the dough pieces onto/into your prepared pan, and back to the warm spot, your dough rose before. Let the rolls rise another 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and melt some butter!
Once the dough has risen (HaLa-loo!) place the rolls into the oven and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove the rolls from the oven and brush the tops and sides with melted butter. Congrats dinner roll baker… I’m sure you can take it from here. Enjoy!
SCOTTY’S BASIC PIE CRUST
The recipe for my basic pie crust is pretty much burned into my brain. Anyone from a passerby in the grocery store, to my esthetician, a buddy on Instagram, to my mother, has “out of the blue” asked me for my pie crust recipe.
Why I have never singled the recipe out for this blog and you… no idea, but as the holidays approach and you’re warming up your pie making skills I thought it time to get it down on paper finally. Or keyboard. Or screen… whatever this is.
The critical factor and number one MUST when making pie crust? Making sure everything is
Frozen butter, frozen shortening, and ice water, please. I always keep a stick or two of butter in the freezer along with sticks of solid shortening. Chilling the dough for an hour to overnight before rolling it out is another must *see Gluten*. The small little chunks of butter and shortening in your dough need to stay solid. When the crust bakes in the oven, those small chunks melt and cause tiny little layers and pockets, thus giving your crust “flakiness” and “crispness” while keeping the crust flavorful and tender.
The steam/moisture that rises from the small chunks of fat also gives way to leavening and layers. When your recipe calls for you to pre-bake your crust, or “blind-bake,” you can either lay parchment on the inside of your dough that has lined the pie pan and fill it with dried beans or pie weights… or you can prick the dough with a fork like our mothers did to allow the steam to escape and prevent it from rising and bubbling.
Another rule when rolling out your dough and lining the inside of your pie plate…. Do not stretch the dough! Always fit the rolled dough inside the pan loosely then trim off the excess. Why? Because your dough naturally shrinks when baking. If you stretch the dough and not fit in loosely, the dough will snap back while baking. No snapbacks, please.
Okay, now that you’re even more intimidated by the “make your pie crust” challenge, let's get to the recipe.
Ingredients: Makes two standard sized crusts or one “deep-dish” crust
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, FROZEN and cubed
5 tablespoons solid shortening, FROZEN and cubed
5-6 tablespoons ICE WATER
This is my BASIC crust… an all-purpose pie crust, if you will. I use it for anything from Pecan Pie to Chicken Pot Pie… cobbler, galettes, quiche, Shepherd’s Pie, turnovers… whatever.
Depending on what you are making you may add a teaspoon of sugar for a lightly neutral to sweet crust… or even a large egg yolk to add richness, as I do, when making Tarte Tatin.
In a food processor add the flour and salt. Give it a pulse or two to combine.
Add in the frozen shortening and butter cubes. Pulse 4 to 5 times until you get a nice course cornmeal consistency.
With the processor running add in the ice water one tablespoon at a time. Keep it running until the dough naturally balls up inside the processor.
Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface. Without handling the dough too much, shape into a nice smooth ball and then flatten. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour to overnight.
Roll the dough out when ready.
It takes practice… don’t freak out if you haven’t nailed the crust the first time. After a while, your hands will know when the crust is perfect. Go and Get ’em, Tiger!