In a few days, we’ll invite friends to join our small family a the Thanksgiving table, and while we’ll serve Slow-roasted Turkey, Pumpkin Custard, Mandarin and Cranberry Relish and other seasonal treats, this year will include a new addition for the table that has quickly become one of my family’s favorite breads: Sourdough Maple Einkorn Dinner Rolls.
Faintly tart, and mildly sweet, these dinner rolls are wonderfully soft with a tender crust and rich flavor – perfect buttered, or used to sop up extra gravy. We make them together, adding the ingredients to my big red stand mixer, and after the dough has risen, my little boy gently rolls them into little round balls that we place in a stoneware baking dish.
Einkorn is an ancient variety of wheat, the original wheat. As a non-hybridized variety of wheat, it is often tolerated by those who are otherwise intolerant of modern, hybridized varieties of wheat; further, einkorn is richer in protein, phytonutrients and minerals than modern versions of wheat, and its flavor is complex and slightly nutty. High-extraction einkorn flour, in which some of the bran and germ have been removed by sifting, is an excellent replacement for all-purpose flour and it produces remarkable results in baking.
Where to find Einkorn Flour
The Secret to Soft Dinner Rolls
While I love crusty artisan-style breads, I prefer dinner rolls to be tender and soft – pliable and sweet. To produce rolls with a soft crust and tender crumb, adding fat or egg to the dough helps, but the trick I’ve found to be most effective is to dampen a tea towel slightly with warm water and to lay it over the buns as soon as they emerge from the oven. This helps to ensure the crust doesn’t harden and the dinner rolls remain pleasantly soft.
- ¼ cup proofed and bubbly sourdough starter (click here for a tutorial)
- 3 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup (available here)
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2½ cups high-extraction einkorn flour (available here)
- 1 cup whole grain einkorn flour (available here)
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 1 tablespoon Grade B Maple Syrup
- Stir sourdough starter together with maple syrup, warm water and milk. Beat in the egg, and set the liquid ingredients aside while you prepare the dry ingredients.
- Dump the flours into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, whisk in the salt. Equip the stand mixer with a dough hook, and pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix the ingredients together on low speed in the mixer for 8 to 10 minutes, stopping the mixer from time to time to scrape the sides of the bowl, or until the dough is uniformly pliable.
- Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise until doubled in bulk - about 6 hours.
- Line a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Punch down the dough, and separate it into 12 pieces of the same size. Roll the pieces of dough into round little balls, and set them into the baking dish. Cover the baking dish with a damp tea towel, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk once more - about 2 hours.
- Heat the oven to 375 F.
- Make the glaze by whisking cream with 1 tablespoon maple syrup.
- Uncover the rising dough, brush them with the maple and cream glaze, and transfer the dish to the oven and bake them about 15 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove them from the oven. Place a damp tea towel over the baking dish, and allow the rolls to cool. Uncover the rolls, and serve.