I have been into a “bread baking mood” lately, making all types of breads in just the last couple of weeks, ranging from no-knead rustic bread to pannettone, pandoro, cocas de patatas…and now these Rye's Sally Lunn rolls which are rolls served at a restaurant called “Rye” situated in Louisville, Kentucky. A customer happened to want the recipe and asked the Los Angeles Times to get it for them, and they kindly obliged (http://articles.latimes...). I made these rolls and they blew my mind. While I have some other roll recipes that are excellent, this one so far is my most favorite. To me, the texture and flavor is magically like a cross between a croissant and a regular roll. Although it does not have a lot of butter, the flavor is very buttery. It is extremely light and stays fresh and soft for a couple of days. I think 3 factors contributed to this. First, I made sure the dough passed the windowpane test (more on that in the instructions). Second, I was patient in letting the dough rise to double its size; and last, I used, as required, instant yeast, but one called Platinum Superior Instant yeast by Red Star. It apparently has a dough enhancer that makes the bread rise more and taste more professional. This being said though, I still think that using regular instant yeast will yield a great roll if you do number one and number two as explained above. Enjoy! Please note that the recipe is very slightly adapted by me in terms of ingredients but more heavily adapted/detailed in terms of instructions as I am specifying that the dough should pass the windowpane test. This helps maximize the airiness of the rolls. —Regine
mashed potatoes at room temperature (just unseasoned potatoes, i.e. Yukon Gold potato, baked and peeled, then finely mashed)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl, in the order provided, add ¼ cup + ½ tbsp butter (melted and cooled), then 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, followed by the milk, mashed potatoes, sugar, 1 ¼ tsp salt, flour and yeast. Start combining all ingredients before using the stand mixer; then using stand mixer and the dough hook attachment, combine all ingredients to form a homogeneous dough. Let rest for 10 minutes, then continue with the dough hook attachment till it passes windowpane test.
The windownpane test entails taking a walnut size amount of the dough or a small area of the dough and stretch it. You want it to stretch into a thin film that does not break easily. If you are able to do that, you have passed the windowpane test and it means that you have sufficiently kneaded the dough. Refer to this link to see a picture of a dough that has passed this test, http://www.thekitchn.com/bakers-techniques-how-to-do-th-70784.
Place dough into a lightly oiled/greased bowl; also lightly brush a tiny bit of oil on top of the dough, and cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside until it doubles in size. You can like me boil 2 cups of water in the microwave, and place the bowl with the dough next to the boiled water. Close microwave, unplug, and let dough rise till doubled. Be patient. It may take a couple of hours or more depending on the temperature in the air that surrounds the bowl.
Once dough has doubled, turn dough onto a clean work surface (you can lightly oil it but I usually don’t see the need), and portion dough into 18 balls. Place onto a lightly oiled parchment lined baking sheet in 6 rows of 3 rolls each. Very lightly brush the top of the rolls with oil and gently cover with a layer of plastic wrap. Set in a warm place until doubled in size, one hour or more. The baking sheet is too big for the microwave trick.
When the rolls are almost ready, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Carefully melt in a saucepan or in microwave the remaining 2 tbsp of butter, let cool a bit and then stir the remaining yolk. Gently brush the tops of the risen rolls with the butter mixture, then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt.
Bake the rolls until golden brown and completely set, about 20 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before serving. I prefer to wait about 30 minutes.