Wheat French Hamburger Rolls

I loooove hard rolls. I thought about saying I love hard buns, but I am not hocking a Buns of Steel DVD…we’re talking about bread here!

Thanks to the genes I got from my Mom that I unwittingly passed along to my son, we are a family of bread eaters. Bread in any form – from bagels and baguettes,  to just plain ‘ol ugly white bread, its all slices of heaven to us.

I made some whole wheat French bread some time ago, and I was wanting rolls to make burgers for dinner. My mind longingly drifted to a local grocery store that has an evil bakery that makes the most awesome french hamburger rolls, and in my twisted thoughts I merged them and got very excited.

Hubby had come home for lunch that day like he sometimes does, and I had just popped these lovelies into the oven as he was about to head back. He actually went back to work 15 minutes late just so he could take a piping hot one with him. But who can blame him – the smell of baking bread is like a sailor’s siren for the sniffer!

After splitting two more open and myself and the boy inhaling one each, I was just happy I still had enough for dinner. The pastry flour made them extra tender, yet they still had an amazing crumb and chewy crust. I had to hide them from view, or there was a huge danger of having Atkins Burgers for Dinner!

Wheat French Hamburger Rolls

adapted from Famous French Desserts

3  c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 c.  All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 tbsp. Dry Active Yeast

Sift the two flours together into a large bowl. Mix in salt and sugar with hand. Move the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a large “well” (an empty space) in the middle.
Pour the yeast into the “well” and pour 2 cups of lukewarm water over the yeast. Sprinkle about 1 tbsp. of flour over top. Wait (about 10 minutes) for bubbles to appear in the yeast.
Once the bubbles have appeared, you can start to mix together the ingredients (hands work best) to form the dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.
Kneading: remove the bread from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead it by pushing your palms into and then turning it one quarter. Keep kneading and doing quarter turns for about 5-10 minutes, or until the bread is supple and non-sticky.
Place the bread in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a damp dish cloth. Let it rise for about 2 hours (depends on the room temperature, you want it to be fairly warm). It should double in size.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Re-sprinkle a counter top (or other surface) with flour. Prepare a baking pan by lightly oiling and flouring it. With your hands, remove bread and place on floured surface. Punch it down once, hard, with your palms. Now, re-shape it into 12 small balls and place onto the baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal lines across the top of the rolls. Using a spray bottle of water, coat the top of the bread with a generous misting.  Put in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes (more or less, depending on how much you like it browned).

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