December 18, 2010
Y’all. I have a serious case of end-of-the-semester-teacher brain. I keep trying to write you a coherent post but unrelated thoughts keep whizzing through my mind at random and I cannot seem to stop them.
a) Pretty pleased that my students pronounced today’s English midterm “challenging but not too hard.”
b) Real excited about not having to wake up in the 5 o’clock hour for the next two weeks.
c) Will probably miss my students during those two weeks, though. Yep. I will.
d) Feeling overwhelmed (in the best way) by the number of folks I will get to see in the next two weeks that I don’t get to see often—some I haven’t seen in years!—Phil, Varsha, Anita, Courtney, McKee, Kate, Stephen, Marynelle, et al., you are my Christmas presents.
e) Oh and my mama. Hey mama! I can’t wait to see you. And eat your spaghetti sauce of goodness. And watch movies. And make you laugh.
f) Rumor has it that my godsons are getting big boy bikes for Christmas. I don’t think they read my blog (yet), so I feel I am not betraying Santa by posting this information.
g) Another Memphis visit bonus: being fitted for my bridesmaids dress for my friend Kristen’s June wedding. It’s black and real purty. Squee!
h) Today I ate my namesake hamburger. More importantly, I have a namesake hamburger.
i) You can donate socks to soldiers here, and the company will cover the shipping costs. I think that’s pretty great.
j) Currently, I got me some red fingernail polish, and lots o blessings.
k) I can’t stop eating bread products lately. Can’t. Get. Enough. Carbohydrates. Hope I fit into my pants come January.
CRACKED WHEAT ROLLS
from Gourmet, February 2009
You need a half a day to get these rolls from start to finish, but they are a worthy consumer of your time, I promise. Chewy, salty outer crust and soft, layered interior…they’d go nicely with any holiday meal.
Additionally, I can recommend no better thing for a winter breakfast than one of these babies toasted and slathered with butter and jam. Pants be damned.
1 ½ cups boiling hot water
½ cup bulgur (a.k.a. cracked wheat)
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 ¼ tsp (or 1 package) active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (warm but not hot to touch, ~105 to 115˚ F)
1 T honey or sugar
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T water)
flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)
Part One: Soak the Bulgur (40 minutes)
Pour the boiling water over the bulgur & ½ tsp. of salt in a small bowl. Let stand until the wheat is tender, approximately 40 minutes. Drain in a sieve & let cool a bit before mixing into the dough.
Part Two: Make the Dough (first rise = approx. 2 hours)
Heat the milk with butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool. Stir together the yeast, warm water, & honey (or sugar) in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. The mixture should foam; if it doesn’t, throw it out and start again with new yeast.
Once foamy, add the flours and 2 ½ tsp. salt to the yeast mixture. Mix the drained bulgur & cooled milk mixture into the flour with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Dough will be sticky!
Flour up your counter and get to kneading—5 to 8 minutes of elbow grease should do the trick. The dough should be smooth and spring back when pressed with a finger. Oil the bowl you mixed the dough in, roll the dough into a ball and stash in the bowl to let rise in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel. Depending on the warmth of your kitchen/house, it may take closer to 2 ½ hours for the dough to fully double.
Part Three: Form the Rolls (second rise = approx. 1 hour)
Line baking sheets with parchment. Punch down the dough and divide it in half (but leave it alone otherwise! No more kneading!). Cover one half of dough with plastic wrap while working with the other.
For small rolls, cut one half of the dough into 12 equal pieces. For bigger rolls, divide into 6 pieces. With floured hands, roll each piece into a long rope, then tie each rope into a knot, tucking one end into the bottom to form a flat surface. Transfer the adorable! little! knots! to a baking sheet, placing them generously far apart. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Let the rolls rise, covered with kitchen towels, in a warm place. Again, depending on the warmth of your kitchen/house, it may take an extra half hour for your rolls to double in size.
Part Four: Bake those Rolls (30-40 minutes total for baking & cooling)
Heat the oven to 375˚. Brush the rolls with egg wash and then sprinkle generously with sea salt. Bake the rolls until golden brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before serving.
You can also cool the rolls completely and freeze them for up to a month, reheating them in a 350˚ oven for 10-15 minutes. But you’re probably just going to eat them all the day you bake them and the next morning for breakfast. Or maybe that’s just us.