My inspiration to make these rolls again stems from a recent restaurant experience. The other night, my husband and I met two friends for dinner for a late dinner at Meritage (20th and Lombard). We sat at the bar, ordered a bottle of wine and spent the first hour chatting. By the time we placed our order, we were all famished–a condition wholly magnified by the wine. Needless to say, the timing could not have been more perfect for the delivery of the piping hot seeded and salted rolls to each of our bread plates. Although the bartender warned us that the rolls had just emerged from the oven, none of us could refrain from tucking in. Sometimes nothing satisfies like warm bread and butter. These rosemary-olive pull-apart rolls similarly release steam as they are separated and are delicious when served immediately with softened butter.
Rosemary-Olive Dinner Rolls
Yield=9 (2-oz) Rolls
1/4 cup (2.5 oz) water
a heaping 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (2.5 oz) starter
1/2 cup (5 oz) water
1 and 7/8 cup (8.5 oz) bread flour
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) chopped, pitted Kalamata Olives
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
To make the starter, stir together the flour and water. Let stand at room temperature until bubbles slightly, stir to combine, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.
The next day, place 1/4 cup or 2.5 oz of the starter into the bowl of a stand mixer. (See note below for what to do with remaining starter.) Add the water, bread flour and yeast. Mix on low speed for one minute until the mixture has come together slightly. With the mixer running add the salt, increase the speed to medium-low and mix for five minutes. The dough should be balled up around the hook. If it is not, add more flour a little bit at a time until the dough is wrapped around the hook. After five minutes, return the speed to low, add the rosemary and olives and mix for 1-2 minutes until olives are slightly incorporated. Stop machine, scrape down dough, and turn out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead for 2-3 minutes until the rosemary and olives are evenly incorporated. Dust some more flour onto the board, cover dough with clean kitchen towel and let rest for 90 minutes at room temperature or until almost doubled in size.
After the 90 minutes, start dividing the dough. I portion each roll into 2-oz pieces, but if you don’t have a scale, roughly divide the dough into 9 equal pieces. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat. Ball each piece of dough into a nicely shaped roll and place on prepared sheet. Place the rolls next to each other–just barely touching–so that when they rise, they rise into each other. Lightly spray the tops with cooking oil or with water, cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm area to rise again, until nearly doubled in size. Depending on how warm the area is, this may take between 30-50 minutes. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
When the rolls have puffed nicely, gently remove the plastic wrap and place in preheated oven. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. If rolls sound hollow when gently tapped, remove them from the oven. Otherwise, return to oven to bake for 3-5 minutes longer, check again, and remove when ready. Bring to the table, gently pull apart (be careful of the hot steam), and serve immediately with softened butter. Enjoy!
Note: You may have extra starter. Place remaining starter in a Tupperware container, add one cup of water, and one cup of whole wheat flour, stir, let sit until bubbles, stir again, then store in refrigerator until ready to use for another recipe. It will keep forever. I always have a white and a whole wheat starter in my refrigerator, and I “feed” them with equal parts flour and water each time I take from them.