Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dinner Rolls, Five Ways

Is it a freezing cold and snowy Saturday afternoon? Perfect! Then you have enough time to make these delicious rolls for dinner. Part of the reason they take so long - aside from being a yeast-dough that requires rising - is that the base of the original recipe called for evaporated milk. But unlike dairy-eaters who can purchase this item conveniently in the supermarket, a vegan has to make her (or his) own.

There is a quick method to this - simply make 2 cups of soy milk from powdered mix using double the powder called for. Use 12 ounces for this recipe, and set aside the rest for another use. However, I find it infinitely more satisfying to use the slow method: Pour 3 cups of plain soy milk into a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until reduced to a cup and a half (12-ounces), stirring constantly (about an hour and fifteen minutes). See my post for Thai Iced Coffee from June 2008 for suggestions of fun things to do while you stand at the stove for that long! Seriously; it's pretty therapeutic.

However you do it, place twelve ounces of evaporated soy milk, at between 100 and 110 degrees, in a large bowl. Dissolve in 2 teaspoons raw sugar and one packet of yeast (2 and 1/4 tsps.), and let stand 5 minutes.

Add 3 cups all-purpose flour and the equivalent of one egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G), stirring until combined. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.

Add an additional 3/4 cups flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, adding up to 1/4 cup more flour, one tablespoonful at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. (You remember the kneading steps: punch down, fold over, quarter turn, repeat!)

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top of the dough as well, then cover and let rise for 40 minutes until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. As per the title of this recipe, you have five shaping options.

1. Simply divide into 16 equal balls.

2. Divide into 16 equal portions; roll each into an 8-inch rope. Tie the dough into a knot around itself, tucking the ends under.

3. Divide into 16 equal portions; roll each into a 20-inch rope. Coil the rope around itself, pressing the end in to seal.

4. Divide into 16 equal portions; roll each into an 18-inch rope. Fold in half, then twist to form a breadstick.

5. Divide into 16 equal portions. Divide each of those into 3 smaller balls. Press the balls together on a baking sheet, making sure they adhere together.

Or do a variation of all 5!

Place 8 shaped rolls on each of two baking sheets, each sprinkled with 1/2 a tsp. cornmeal. Lightly coat the tops of the rolls with cooking spray, then cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt two tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), and let cool.

Brush the tops of the rolls evenly with the melted 'butter'. You could also opt to sprinkle them with poppy seeds here, although I did not. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for twenty minutes, with one baking sheet on the bottom rack and one on the middle rack. Rotate midway through cooking.

You can serve these warm out of the oven, or cool completely on wire racks. They freeze beautifully, so if you want to save them for future use, wrap individually in foil once cooled and place in the freezer. When you want to serve them, just reheat, still wrapped in the foil, at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Each roll is 160 calories.

plain soy milk $2.49

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance