It is not only the snow falling since this morning that makes me feel like in a fairytale. Baking rolls earlier today was also an experience reminding me of Sweet Porridge, a German fairytale by the Brothers Grimm where the pot with porridge does not stop cooking and rises over the edge filling the kitchen, the street and the village… until the girl who knows the magic words makes it stop, and everyone who wants to return has to eat their way back.
I was trying out a recipe for millet bread from The Tassajara Bread Book, a usually very reliable source. The recipe calls for 3 cups whole millet, soaked in hot water. Even though I love rustic wholesome bread I was afraid this was rather bird feed than human fare. So I decided to give the millet a quick boil. I have cooked millet before but never that much at once. The millet swelled and swelled and I ended up with 10 cups. There was no way I could work this amount into the dough for what was supposed to be two loaves of bread so I used 4 cups and froze the rest for some other time.
The recipe makes two dozens rolls. Unlike the porridge in the fairytale, it won’t be hard to finish those off!
Whole Wheat Rolls with Millet
1¼ cup whole uncooked millet
2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast
3 cups lukewarm water
¼ cup honey
1 cup non-fat dry milk
2 cups bread flour
5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons + 1½ teaspoons gluten
Cornmeal for the baking sheet
1. Bring the millet and 3 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Fluff the millet with a fork and set aside to cool.
2. Dissolve the yeast in 3 cups lukewarm water. Add the honey and the dry milk and stir to dissolve.
3. Add 2 cups bread flour and 3 cups whole wheat flour add mix with the dough attachment of the kitchen machine until well combined.
4. Let rest in a warm place (I do this in the switched off, cool oven and place a jelly roll underneath to catch any spills) for 45 minutes.
5. Add the remaining whole wheat flour, salt, oil and gluten. Knead with the machine to a smooth dough.
6. Drain the millet if there is water left in the pot. Work the millet to the dough. With floured hands, assemble the dough to form a ball and transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. I It is OK if the dough it slightly sticky.
7. Turn the dough over once to coat. Let rise in a warm place for 50 minutes.
8. Punch the dough down with both fists and turn it over. Let rise for 40 minutes.
9. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 3 to 4 minutes. Divide in half and shape each half into a long, baguette-like loaf. Cut each loaf into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Sprinkle two baking sheets with cornmeal, or line them with a pastry mat.
10. Place the unbaked rolls at generous distance on the baking sheet. Cover with a damp clean kitchen towel and let rise 20 minutes.
11. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a jelly roll on the lower oven rack.
12. Place the baking sheet with the rolls in the preheated oven and immediately pour 2 to 3 cups cold water on the jelly roll. Close the oven door at once to keep the steam in the oven. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
13. Remove rolls from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Bake the second batch the same way.
Makes 24 rolls