Pocket Rolls

December 14, 2010
Author Notes

If my dinner rolls where the song of the South these would be the Marlboro Man. They are lean, leathery and deeply flavored with three of my favorite ingredients, barley malt syrup, honey and cumin. They are the perfect au jus mop for prime rib or a great foil for suckling pig. When I was a kid we were never inside. Winter, Fall, Summer or Spring we were always out playing with our friends. Come dinner time my mom would call us in to eat, or more like scarf down, dinner and then grab two or three rolls and shove them in our pockets to go. We were boys and we knew we would be hungry again in half an hour. Well if I were little again this would be the perfect pocket roll. It isn't to crusty or too soft but it still has a great interior crumb and it is loaded with flavor, no butter or jam required. - thirschfeld —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

Two words: simply sublime. Whether you are a novice baker or a master, this recipe will impress you. The dough becomes as smooth as the lobe of your ear, just perfect. The cumin adds an interesting depth of flavor and spice. The corn meal on the bottom and the flour dusting on top finish these rolls beautifully. With the okay from Chef Tom, I substituted spelt flour for whole wheat with great results. I was able to send my grown son off back to his home with a pocketful! Not only an heirloom recipe, but now a family memory. Thanks thirschfeld for your distinctively great roll recipe! —Sagegreen

  • Makes 9
  • 11 ounces water, room tempeerature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons barley malt syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1/2 cup fine grind whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground in a mortal and pestle
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cornmeal for dusting
In This Recipe
  1. In the bowl of a mixer combine the water, honey, barley malt syrup and then sprinkle the yeast across the top to bloom.
  2. Once the yeast has dissolved add the rest of the ingredients, minus the cornmeal, and mix with dough hook until the dough pulls cleanly away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
  3. Remove the dough from the mixer and kneed it until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  4. Lightly oil or butter the mixing bowl and put the dough back into it. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it into the fridge and leave it there overnight.
  5. The next day remove the dough from the fridge and let it slowly rise (you will notice it has risen a lot already and doesn't have far to go) and come to room temperature, about an hour.
  6. Punch down the dough and kneed it a few times. Divide the dough into nine equal pieces, about 3 ounces each, and roll them in a circular motion with with the palm of your hand on the counter top until you have a smooth ball.
  7. Line sheet tray with parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Space the rolls out evenly on the tray leaving about 2 inches all around. Cover them with plastic wrap and leave them to rise for about and hour or until doubled.
  8. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a little bit of flour into a strainer and lightly dust the rolls by tapping the strainer gently from about 8 inches above. Score the rolls with a very sharp knife once across the top. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes. You may want to rotate them after 10 minutes so they brown more evenly.
  9. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 10 or 15 minutes before serving or cool them on rack completely and gently rewarm them before serving.
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