Daily Life, Food

My Love Affair with Yeasted Breads

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The end of semesters are always a bit bumpy. Remember how I said that these last projects for my capstone were going to be a piece of cake? Well, that’s sort of true and sort of not. One of the deceiving parts of a condensed spring semester is thinking you have plenty of time to finish everything. Not true. Everything seems to come in at the last minute, which means a couple of long days, like yesterday, where I sat in the same chair for literally 8 hours finishing my work portfolio. It doesn’t help that I’m a major perfectionist. Sigh.

When I finally I sent off the email to my professor with my finished portfolio, I stretched and smiled for a moment. About a minute later, Aaron shot me a gmail chat asking me if we could have his future boss over for dinner that night while he was doing business in Utah. It was 5:30 PM. I hadn’t been grocery shopping for about a week. Whoops! I really wanted to meet Scott, the person who changed our life when he offered Aaron his first job out of college!

Thankfully, I was ready to make what I now consider my stand-by meal that I can whip together with minimal preparation: Italian breaded pork chops, broccoli, and cheesy garlic bread swirls. More about those rolls in a minute.

We had a really great visit with Scott! He’s a BYU graduate as well, and he and Aaron get along great already. Aaron will be working mainly with Scott at Accelereyes in the sales and marketing department. We loved hearing more about Washington, DC and what it’s like to live there. Here’s my favorite story he told us: One night when he was driving along George Washington Parkway (seriously, I’m moving to the most patriotic place!) by the Potomac river as the sun was setting, and he looked up to see a bald eagle soaring over his car. He said it’s enough to make you start singing the national anthem right there on the spot! It’s like living in a movie.

Scott also explained the company more to me, which is great because I actually have an idea what company Aaron will be working for! In a nutshell, the company is awesome and will take over the world. Google was interested in them a while ago, which tells you their pretty cool.

I’m glad Aaron will be working with such good people. It will make it a teensy bit easier to let him go next week. But only a little bit.

Back to these mouthwatering rolls. They’re perfect and amazing, and I’m pretty sure I gain a few pounds every time I make a batch of these. But they are happy pounds, so that means it’s OK, right? These are so easy to make, and it’s one of my favorite doughs to work with. You’ve gotta try ’em.

Don’t they look like roses?

Cheesy Garlic Bread Swirls
Recipe from Our Best Bites
Makes 12 rolls

Ingredients

For the French bread dough:
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 c. warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4–5 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg yolk

For the garlic butter:
1/2 c. (1 stick) of real butter, softened—no substitutions
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning (see below)
Shredded mozzarella cheese

For the garlic bread seasoning:
1/2 c. powdered Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. marjoram
2 tsp. parsley

Directions

Combine yeast, water, and sugar in large mixing bowl and let it stand 10 minutes or until bubbly. Add salt, vegetable oil, and egg yolk, and combine. Add 3 cups of flour and mix well until combined. Add enough of the remaining flour until the dough becomes soft and barely sticks to your finger. Knead the dough, by hand or in a mixer (Kitchen Aid for the win!) for another 2–3 minutes. Cover and allow to rise 1 hour.

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While the dough is rising, you can get the garlic bread seasoning together. Combine all of the ingredients and keep it in an airtight container. This seasoning is the best! Not only can you use it with this recipe, but it’s great to sprinkle on breadsticks and on french bread. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 months.

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If you’re a planner, leave the butter out for a few hours so it’s nice and spreadable. Or, if you make meals at the last minute like I do, you can try this trick I found out for softening butter! In the past, when I tried to soften butter in the microwave, I was always left with a melted puddle. Gross. The best way to quickly soften butter is to put the stick of butter in the microwave (with the wrappings still on) and microwave the butter at five-second intervals. After each five seconds, flip the cube over to the next side, and nuke it again for another five seconds. Keep this up until the butter feels a little squishy and softer to the touch.

Once the butter is softened, add the garlic bread seasoning and mix it together. Set aside.

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Spray your work area and rolling pin with cooking spray. Roll the dough into a rectangle until it’s about 18 inches by 6 inches. Smear garlic butter over the entire rectangle and sprinkle with cheese.
Now comes the fun part. Roll up the dough like you’re making cinnamon rolls, and then cut the dough into 12 equal slices (Our Best Bites recommends using dental floss to slice the rolls, which seems a little weird, but I’m sure it’d work as long as you don’t buy the minty kind like we do). Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray and place a slice in each section of the muffin tin. Cover the rolls again and preheat the oven to 350˚ F and allow the rolls to rise while the oven is heating.
When the oven is preheated, bake them for 18–22 minutes. Watch these guys for the last 10 minutes or so. If they start browning too early, place a piece of aluminum foil on the top until the rolls finish cooking. This isn’t an issue for me, but each oven may be different.
These are best eaten when they are warm and toasty. I love having these rolls still baking in the oven when guests come over so I can pull them out and people can eat them while it’s warm and gooey. Oooh boy. Be prepared for declarations of love once you serve these.

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