Olive Oil Rolls

I have been wanting to try this recipe for a while. Finally when I made my Curried Squash and Apple Soup, I decided to make these rolls. A good olive oil is really key in this bread because it will make a huge difference in the final flavor. I had a hard time keeping the dough into “rounded” balls especially when transferring them onto the stone, so my “rolls” turned out flatter than I had anticipated. The dough was very soft and elastic, I’m not sure how well it would have handled the transfer. While the rolls didn’t exactly have the shape that I had anticipated, they were really delicious: rustic and had those gorgeous little air pockets that made them great for dipping into soup. The recipe allowed for this recipe to be made into one big round loaf, so that is also an option that I think I will do next time. Happy eating!

Adapted from Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

2 cups water, room temperature
1-1/2 lbs (~4-1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 ounce fresh yeast
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap
1 tablespoon coarse salt
Cornmeal, for dusting

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine water, flour, yeastm and olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hr to 1 hr and 15 minutes.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the salt, and mix to combine on low speed. Raise the speed to medium, and beat until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still sticky, about 3 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surfacce. Knead it for 1 minute, then transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Return dough to a lightly floured work surface. Fold in the following fashion: fold the bottom third of the dough up, the top third down, and the right and left sides over, tapping the dough after each fold to release excess flour, and pressing down to seal. Flip the dough seam side down on the work surface, and cover with oiled plastic wrap; let rest for about 15 minutes.

Dust a large wooden peel with cornmeal; set aside. Transfer dough to a clean work surface. If the dough is overly sticky, you can lightly flour the surface. Divide the dough into 16 pieces with a bench scraper (~2-1/2 ounces).  Then cup each individual dough between your rounded palms; roll it in circular motion, pulling down on the surface of the dough to form a tight smooth round. The bottom of the dough should drag a bit on the table as you roll; this will help it take shape.

Transfer all of the individual rounds of dough to the prepared peel, and drape with a piece of oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rest on the peel until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile place a baking stone on the floor of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degree.

With lame or a razor blade,  make four slashes on top of each individual round (this was difficult for me to do since the dough was so elastic, like it should), to make a square. Slide each individual dough onto the stone and bake until the crust is dark golden brown about 20 minutes.

Yield: 16 rolls


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