Tangerine Rye Rolls
I wish I could tell you that I loved these rolls immediately, but I didn't. In fact, at first, I kind of had to convince myself that I liked them, and even now I'm certain they'd make better sandwich rolls than snacking rolls. They just need something to stand up to, to push back against, especially because their lingering flavor is slightly sour, slightly, well, beer-like. I also have to admit that I didn't have fennel seeds. I could have sworn before hand that I did, but the sad reality is that they were left out of my finished product.
But if I had some soup, some flavorful, hearty, winter soup, I have a feeling these rolls would have been more than happy to strip it all off and dive right in. Now you have me regretting making these when I had no soup on deck. Poor lonely little tangerine rye rolls, trying to make their case with no proper accompaniment. If you decide to give these a try, don't make the same mistake.
Tangerine Rye Rolls
1, 12 oz bottle dark beer
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 packages active dry yeast
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon tangerine zest
2 1/2 cups rye flour
1 large egg, for the wash
1 tablespoon water, also for the wash
Heat the first four ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until the butter melts and the mixture is just warm to the touch. Pour the liquid over the yeast in a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes, by which time it should foam.
With a wooden spoon, stir in 1 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour into the mixture, along with the salt, fennel seeds, and zest. Continue to stir until all (or most) of the lumps are out. Begin to gradually stir in the all of the rye flour and enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Remember, you will incorporate more of the all-purpose flour as you kneed.
On a lightly floured surface, kneed the dough until it is smooth and elastic, adding more flour to the surface as it is absorbed by the dough. This will take around 8 minutes. Place the dough in a large, buttered bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until the dough is doubled in size (check at the 1 hour mark).
Punch the dough down and set it on a lightly flour surface. Roll the dough out into a long snake form and cut it into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece between the palm of your hands so that it forms a roll (see note).
Place the rolls on two parchment paper-lined baking sheets and allow to rise again for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375. With a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each roll. Whisk together the egg and the water to make a wash, then brush the wash over each roll with a pastry brush. Bake the rolls for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.
* A good way to get the roll shape is to place a piece of dough in the palm of one hand and kind of smash it with the other. With fairly hard pressure, begin rotating your hands so that a roll begins to form, slowly and steadily decreasing the pressure until you're rolling around a perfect little ball. This will allow you to work out any wrinkles from the dough as it's rolled.
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