Pocket Rolls

December 14, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Makes 9
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  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.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hilarybee
  • betteirene
  • cheese1227
  • mrslarkin
  • AntoniaJames

22 Reviews

Hilarybee December 18, 2010
Masterful work, sensei. I like to consider myself a "lucky" baker- as I'm not particularly reverent of recipes, but things generally go my way. I'll try to follow the recipe to a T when I make these for Christmas Eve. These rolls kind of remind me of Tom Collichio's Parker House Rolls featured in the New York Times around Thanksgiving- he credits barley malt syrup to making the rolls special.
thirschfeld December 19, 2010
thank you Hilarybee that is a very nice compliment. You know as much "science" as you can apply to baking you still need to be "lucky". Meaning there are so many other nuances beyond weights and measures that make for really good bread. I also really believe it is something that takes practice in order to get and understanding and handle on it. These rolls hold really well, meaning you can cook them early in the day and let them cool on a rack for a few hours before dinner.
betteirene December 16, 2010
Just beautiful!
thirschfeld December 16, 2010
Thank you betteirene
cheese1227 December 15, 2010
Can't decide which is better, the headnote or the recipe.
thirschfeld December 15, 2010
thank you so much cheese1227.
hardlikearmour December 15, 2010
He does do some of the best headnotes!
mrslarkin December 14, 2010
That roll is speaking to me, thirschfeld. It's saying "Behold my humble beauty, and I'm damn good to eat!" How do you do that, with the front roll in focus and the back rolls blurry? That ain't gonna work with my dinky point-and-shoot camera, is it?
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
Mrs L, yess!! I agree 299% (Arbitrary percentage there.) Incredible!!
thirschfeld December 15, 2010
thank you mrslarkin. Sometimes point and shoots have a focus freeze dealy where if you put the center of the screen on what you want to be in focus, let the camera focus, and then push the shutter button down half way it locks it in. Then while holding the button you compose your shot and then push the button the rest of the way to take the picture. While the rolls in the background look close they are further away than they appear and using depth of field you can throw them out of focus. Don't know if that helps?
AntoniaJames December 14, 2010
No butter, no jam? My kind of roll! So good it stands on its own? Not dumbed down with a lot of sugar and butter? Yeah, I like this. A lot. ;o)
thirschfeld December 15, 2010
thanks you AJ. I hope you get freed up from all these distractions you call work and can get back to the real business at hand here at food52.
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
Would you be offended if I said Damn you?
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
Make that a gosh darn it all.
mrslarkin December 14, 2010
or a dagnabit!
TiggyBee December 14, 2010
I'm thinking we should all be friends in real life!! That dagnabit just confirmed it for me.
thirschfeld December 15, 2010
TiggyBee by your tone I can tell it is a compliment, so no. mrslarkin you make me laugh, consistantly
TiggyBee December 15, 2010
Absolutely a compliment!
Sagegreen December 14, 2010
Perfect! Field trip to King Arthur this weekend. Come on along. Bring the kids!
thirschfeld December 15, 2010
thanks Sagegreen. You know King Arthur has classes where they teach yeast breads. I have often thought about going because Jeffrey Hammelman is a really great baker and as I said before his book Bread maybe one of the best I have seen for the professional and the homebaker.
thirschfeld December 14, 2010
thanks hardlikearmour, booth are pretty tasty
hardlikearmour December 14, 2010
Man, you out did yourself! The scoring makes them look especially good.