Why did parbaked dinner rolls in the middle of the pan shrink once cooled? (I used my tested finalist recipe for sour cream dinner rolls.) ;

I baked until about five minutes before I thought they'd be fully cooked. The dough was gorgeous; the rolls rose properly before baking and in the oven; and the problem was only with the ones in the middle. What happened? I went ahead and froze them, and will thaw/reheat for a meal this weekend (and find some other purpose for the center ones, if necessary). I'd really like to know, however, what if anything I did wrong.? Thank you! ;o)



creamtea November 17, 2011
AJ, boulangere, Droplet, sdb, this was so interesting. I had just gotten to the point of believing that baking isn't rocket science...I guess it still is.
AntoniaJames November 17, 2011
Droplet, what you say makes a lot of sense. I actually just left them in the pan, though I did not cover them. I'm not sure what I was thinking. When I make rolls in a springform, I immediately remove the side ring, but don't typically take the bottom off. Oh well. So much to learn, still. I'm considering freezing the next batch before baking -- shaping them after the first rise, then immediately popping the pan into the freezer. And I'll use a round pan next time, too! Thanks so much. ;o)
Droplet November 17, 2011
AJ, what did you do with them once you took them out of the oven? Did you let them cool in the pan all the way, did you cover them with anything (kitchen towel or loose foil), did you transfer to a cooling rack after a while? My guess would be that it was a moisture issue. An improper cooling can really ruin an otherwise good baked product. Since the once in the middle are surrounded by others on all sides, they cool differently and since they were slightly undercooked, I guess they couldn't effectively evaporate the remaining moisture. You should be able to tell if this was the issue by their inside texture.
sdebrango November 16, 2011
Thanks AJ, it will be my first time also. I am going to try because its a logistical nightmare getting everything done on Thanksgiving and par baking the rolls will take some of the pressure off. I will try wrapping tightly and leave them in the dining room which is the coolest room in my house. Thank you!
sdebrango November 16, 2011
I see that you par baked the rolls, I was thinking about doing that the day before Thanksgiving, do you have to freeze par baked rolls or can you just refrigerate? Sorry if I am digressing was just wondering.
AntoniaJames November 16, 2011
The day before, I'd probably tightly wrap and leave on the counter. I don't think they need refrigeration. And I'm sure you need the space in your fridge!! Another benefit is you don't have to worry about bringing them to room temperature, etc. Others may have more experience with this, though. This is the first time I've parbaked dinner rolls!! ;o)
boulangere November 16, 2011
AntoniaJames, is there a chance you overworked them even just a bit? If so, the gluten will be a bit tougher and tend to shrink. Any chance you could post a photo?
AntoniaJames November 16, 2011
I'm not sure if I'll have time to take a photo. I will if I can. The dough looked and felt great . . . perfectly normal. What's so odd is that only the ones in the middle of the pan shrank. The ones on the sides are all glorious. I used an 8 x 8 pan, thinking the square shape would be more practical in the freezer this week. And I shaped the dough into much smaller rolls than when I bake the dough in my 9" spring form. (There are 16 pleasantly small rolls in the pan I made last night.) It's really puzzling, but not troubling, as I am happy to make another batch. I'm wondering if I might do better to freeze the rolls after shaping after the first rise. I've had great success freezing sticky buns and cinnamon rolls uncooked and shaped after the first rise. Thanks so much! ;o)
boulangere November 16, 2011
Oh yes, I've also had great luck freezing "logs" of cinnamon rolls stacked up in the freezer like cordwood. I'd pull out one or two at a time to the fridge overnight, then, cut, pan, proof and bake the next day. I have a feeling your shrinkage may indeed arise from the square pan. The physics of a round springform (or any round for that matter) are very different. Whenever I bake a cheesecake in a square or rectangular pan for buffet service, the baking time is vastly different. The best news is that you're not troubled by it. The holiday dinner with our families all together is the point, yes?
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