These just kind of happened one day when I decided to bake dinner rolls in a square pan instead of a round one, and ended up with dough for two more rolls than the pan would accommodate. So I shaped them to stand alone, rather than putting them in a small pan, and then baked them on a hot stone. The result? A nice chewy crust, a ratio of crust to inside that’s considerably higher than a pull-apart roll, and a handy, no-plate-needed size, sort of like a drop biscuit. Thus the name. These chubby guys can be sliced and stuffed with good local salame, a bit of cheese and a generous slathering of mustard to make sturdy little sandwiches perfect for taking on hikes or for basket suppers outdoors. They also make excellent croutons, too, if you think to set a few aside in advance. ;o) —AntoniaJames
20 - 24
1 large russet potato (about ½ pound / 226 grams, before peeling), peeled
Pinch of salt for cooking the potato
55 grams (½ cup / 120 ml) quick oats
12 grams / 15 ml / 1 tablespoon brown sugar
330 grams (660 ml / heaping 2 ¾ cups) bread flour (it's best not to use all-purpose)
253 grams (253 mil / 1 cup + 1 tablespoon) water, lukewarm (use as much potato cooking water as you can)
5 grams kosher salt (1 ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal brand)
42 grams (heaping 1/3 cup / 1 ½ ounces) grated fresh Parmigianno-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano or similar cheese
1 tablespoon / 15 ml dried oregano or marjoram
Extra flour for kneading, if necessary
Extra olive oil for your proofing bowl, and for brushing on the rollscuits before baking
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on, just before baking
In This Recipe
Cut the peeled russet into three or four large chunks. Cover with cold water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the potato is tender. Remove from the cooking water, put in a bowl, and mash well. Let cool.
Measure potato cooking water with enough filtered water to make 253 grams / 253 ml / 1 cup + 1 tablespoon.
Put it in the bowl of your stand mixer along with the oats, wheat germ, bread flour, instant yeast, olive oil and brown sugar. Using a spoon, stir together to incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. Put the bowl on your mixer, and using the dough hook, mix at low speed for about five minutes, scraping the sides down after the second and fourth minutes.
Remove the dough hook and cover the bowl with a damp tea towel. Let it sit for about 25 minutes. We’re letting the gluten form, undisturbed by the other, non-flour ingredients.
Add the mashed potatoes, cheese and herbs and knead with the dough hook for about ten minutes, scraping down occasionally. After 7 or 8 minutes, if the dough seems very wet and sticky, and does not pull away from the side of the bowl, add one or two more tablespoons of flour, one at a time, letting the dough hook incorporate the first before adding the second (or more, if necessary).
Drizzle a teaspoon or two of olive oil into the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Put the dough into the bowl and flip it over so the top is coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Let rise for at least 1 ½ hours.
Form the dough into 22 – 24 small free-standing rolls. I do this by shaping the dough into a circle, cutting it into fourths with a bench scraper, and then cutting 6 skinny wedges from each quarter. Then I roll each wedge up and pull the sides down to the bottom, stretching to create surface tension, giving a gentle pinch on the bottom.
Set the rollscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet with at least one open side. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let rise for at least 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a baking stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven at 400 degrees.
When the rolls have nearly doubled in size, brush them ever so gently with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with flaky salt.
Slide the rolls, still on the parchment, onto the hot stone, through the open side of the baking sheet. Bake for 23 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack; let sit for at least ten minutes. I hope you like these. Yours truly, AntoniaJames
Variation: These can also be made with 3 ounces of well drained feta, crumbled, with ¼ cup each chopped dill and sliced chives. You’ll need an additional ¼ - 1/2 cup of flour, depending on the moisture level of the cheese; add that flour once the cheese and potato have been incorporated into the dough, after at least 5 minutes of kneading. These rolls will be a bit more dense than the dry cheese and oregano variety described above (which you'll find smells and tastes for all the world like a particularly good pizza crust).
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)