Rustic Dinner Rolls

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The lightest, crustiest bread roll recipe I've ever made. Of course, true to Cooks Illustrated tradition, it's also one of the most involved, with 5 different rising periods for a total of 3 hours just in rise time! It's worth it if you have time though.

1 1/2 c + 1 tb water, room temp
1 1/2 tsp instant/rapid rise yeast
2 tsp honey
3 c. + 1 tb flour + extra for forming rolls, etc
3 tb whole wheat flour
1- 1.5 tsp table salt

1. Whisk water, yeast, and honey in large bowl. Add flours and mix (on low speed with dough hook until cohesive dough is formed, about 3 minutes). Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

REST at room temp 30 min.

2. Remove plastic wrap and evenly sprinkle salt over dough. Knead (on low speed) 5 min. (Increase speed to medium) Continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, about 1 min. If dough is very sticky add 1-2 tb flour and continue mixing 1 min. Lightly spray large bowl with cooking spray, transfer dough to bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

RISE until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Fold dough over itself, rotate bowl quarter turn and fold again. Rotate bowl again and fold once more. Cover with plastic wrap.

RISE 30 min.

Repeat folding, replace plastic wrap.

RISE until doubled in volume, ~30min.

4. Spray 2 9-in. round cake pans with cooking spray and set aside. Transfer dough to floured work surface, sprinkle top with more flour. Using bench scraper, cut dough in half and gently stretch each half into 16-in. cylinders. Divide each cylinder into quarters, then each quarter into 2 pieces (16 total). Lightly dust each piece with flour, shaking off excess, and place in cake pan. arrange 8 pieces per pan, one in the middle & others around it with long side of each piece running from center of pan to edge and making sure cut side faces up. Loosely cover cake pans with plastic wrap.

RISE until doubled in size, ~30 min. 30 min before baking, heat over to 500 degrees.

5. Remove plastic wrap, spray rolls lightly with water, and place in oven. Bake 10 minutes until tops of rolls are brown, remove from oven. Reduce oven temp to 400 degrees, invert rolls from both cake pans onto large rimmed baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, turn right side up, pull apart, and space evenly on baking sheet. Continue to bake until rolls develop deep golden brown crust and sound hollow when tapped on bottom, 10 to 15 min; rotating baking sheet halfway through baking time. Transfer rolls to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

From Cooks Illustrated: Nov-Dec 2008

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