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Appetizers, Breads, Economical

Rustic Rolls

by Nick

Last week Betsy and I went out for her birthday dinner to Cashion’s Eat Place. The place is kind of an institution in DC and is consistently ranked very highly on the best DC restaurants. Betsy and I rarely go out to eat actually so it was a nice treat.

There was a lot of great parts to the meal, most of which I doubt I can replicate. The one part that I wanted to try immediately though was the bread they brought to the table. It was in the shape of large rustic rolls that had a great crust and a very chewy crumb on the inside that reminded me a lot of no knead bread.

I have no idea if that’s the method they use to make their rolls, but I thought I’d give it a shot. The results were pretty excellent!

I’ve written about no knead bread a bunch on Macheesmo and even interviewed it’s creator, Jim Lahey. This is just one more great way to apply the recipe.

Yield
16 rolls.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Rustic Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups bread flour
  • 2 Cups whole wheat flour (You can use all bread flour if you want. Don't use all wheat flour though.)
  • 2 Teaspoons Kosher salt (or 1 Teaspoon table salt)
  • 1/3 Teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 1/6 Cups lukewarm water
  • Cornmeal and extra flour for dusting

Helpful Equipment

  • Pizza Stone and Peel (You can bake this on a sheet pan of course if you don't have a pizza stone. The stone is a good investment though in my opinion.)

Directions

1) Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and then add water. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together in a loose dough.

2) Cover dough and let it sit at room temperature for about 18 hours, but at least 12 hours. It should more than double in size and be almost spongy.

3) Flour counter well and also sprinkle a good layer of flour on the top of the dough before turning it out.

4) Fold dough gently over a few times, forming a round boule or in this case a rectangle which will make it easier to cut up the rolls later.

5) Press dough into a rough large rectangle. Fold over the two longer ends so they overlap in the center.

6) Transfer dough seam side down onto a pizza stone that has been heavily coated with cornmeal.

7) Cover with a towel and let it rise again for about 2 hours. It should double in size.

8) Preheat it to 500 degrees with the pizza stone in it.

9) With a good serrated knife, slice the dough four times in each direction (horizontally and vertically) to produce a 4 by 4 square of smaller squares.

10) Slide dough onto hot pizza stone.

11) Bake in a 500 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes.

12) If you want to produce an even crispier crust, mist them with some water out of a spray bottle a few times during the first 10 minutes of cooking.

13) Once they are done, use the peel to remove them from the oven and transfer them straight to a wire rack to cool.

14) Cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Making the dough

If you’re a regular Macheesmo reader, you’ve probably seen me mix up this dough before, but basically you just combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl and then add your water. Then mix it all together with your hands.

The dough should hold together, but be pretty loose. It should slightly flow outward to the edges of the bowl if you just let it sit, but not be runny… if that makes sense.

This is what mine looks like.

Sloppy dough.

Sloppy dough.

Don’t stress too much about the dough consistency. Mine is a bit different every time but it always turns out great.

The Waiting is Next!

Cover your dough and let it sit at room temperature for about 18 hours, but at least 12 hours. It should more than double in size and be almost spongy.

Flour your counter pretty well and also sprinkle a good layer of flour on the top of the dough before turning it out. This is what mine looked like after 18 hours.

Flour is your friend.

Flour is your friend.

Forming the dough

This dough is kind of awkward to work with if you aren’t used to it. I like to fold it gently over a few times, forming a round boule or in this case a rectangle which will make it easier to cut up the rolls later.

To do the rectangle, kind of press your dough into a rough large rectangle. You don’t need to roll it with a pin. Then fold over the two longer ends so they overlap in the center. It’s okay if it’s not perfect obviously.

Transfer your rough rectangle on a pizza stone that has been heavily coated with cornmeal. If you don’t have a good layer of cornmeal under the dough, it will stick badly when you try to slide it into the oven.

Transfer your dough so the seam of your fold is down on the peel. This will give you a flat surface to cut your rolls on later.

Again. Lots of flour and/or cornmeal.

Again. Lots of flour and/or cornmeal.

Second Rising

Cover this with a towel and let it rise again for about 2 hours. It should double in size.

After about 90 minutes, you can get your oven ready for baking. Preheat it to 500 degrees with the pizza stone in it. You want everything to be as hot as possible!

After the dough has risen a second time, get a good serrated knife and slice the dough four times in each direction (horizontally and vertically) to produce a 4 by 4 square of smaller squares. Those are your rolls!

The knife might get kind of stuck in the dough some times, but that’s okay. Just keep working it and let the knife do the cutting. If you press down on the dough too much it will make the knife stick to the dough and the dough stick to the pizza peel.

The only two things to remember here are 1) don’t cut all the way through the dough. You want them to be connected so it’s easy to put them in and take them out of the oven. 2) It doesn’t have to be perfect. The less perfect it is, the more rustic it is!

Go crazy.

Go crazy.

Baking the rolls

Slide these guys onto your hot pizza stone. If you notice they are sticking to the peel, use a knife or dough scraper to pry up the areas that are sticking and toss some more cornmeal underneath to prevent the sticky situation.

They will need to bake in a 500 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes. If you want to produce an even crispier crust, mist them with some water out of a spray bottle a few times during the first 10 minutes of cooking.

Once they are done, use the peel to remove them from the oven and transfer them straight to a wire rack to cool.

Kind of different.

Kind of different.

After these have cooled for at least 30 minutes, you can eat away! I recommend still using a bread knife to cut them up as they are pretty sturdy rolls.

Very crunchy and chewy.

Very crunchy and chewy.

These aren’t the flaky, biscuit-like rolls you might be used to. These are hearty and have lots of flavor and texture on their own. They are good with just a bit of butter, but are really exceptional toasted with some jam, peanut butter, cheese, or Nutella.

Y0u really needed a sturdy piece of bread to hold up to those flavors.

If you regularly make no knead bread, these rolls are really just one more step away and a lot easier than all the shaping and proofing that normally goes into making rolls.

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10 comments on “Rustic Rolls

  1. No knead bread is exactly what I need, I'm always too freaked out about touching dough and risk ruining it.

    I really like the crust your got!

  2. ooh la la…. this is some kind of beautiful.

    Just like something out of Italy by the countryside. oh my.

    When you say bake in 500, that's Fahrenheit?

  3. I tried my hand at the rolls, and they were not a success. I suspect that the fault might lie with the yeast. I saw a picture of Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise in one of your posts; unfortunately, the product is not available in Italy, where I live, and I have been unable to unearth an ingredients list on the Net. I wonder if you would be so kind to list the ingredients for me so that I might look for a suitable replacement. If you can’t, don’t worry. Thank you for an amazing website!

    Carmen Dell’Aversano

  4. I make no knead bread all the time (over 4yrs) but found I like ABin5 method, olive oil dough is easier to work with. I have been making Ciabatta a lot, but lately I take the dough and make Ciabatta rolls, but form the rolls on a sheet pan. They are so good.

    My biggest problem is the conflict of measuring flour between volume and weight. It’s so confusing but that is caused a lot by the bakers, cooks and recipes I see. Even with the no knead method, Lehey puts 3 cups of flour at 400g, ????? and ABin5 method only provides cups, no weights. So even no knead turns out different. Please reply, Thanks, Rob

    1. Hey Rob, it’s just subtle recipe differences. Just find one that works for you and use that one I would say. A cup of bread flour weights 127g so three cups should weigh 381 but they probably round up to 400 just to make it easier… also, people normally over-measure flour in cups.

      Hope that helps!

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