I admit that I may be a little obsessive about making things from scratch. I make my own tortillas, pasta, yogurt, desserts, and most breads. The reason? As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a firm believer in “you are what you eat”.
Take a look at the ingredients list of any prepared food and you’ll notice all kinds of unpronounceable words that would seem right at home in a chemistry lab. I don’t want that stuff in my or my family’s body. So I cook.
Learning to do anything new takes time. But the more you do it, the faster and easier it becomes, especially if you have the right tools. You also have to plan. Time needs to be allowed for hands-off cooking such as the 12 hours it takes for yogurt to develop, the simmering time for a stew, or the rise-time for yeast doughs.
Preparing a yeast dough only takes a few minutes – which includes the knead time…IF you have a food processor. If you don’t, it takes about 10 minutes (and more work). (New food processors can be expensive. Check out thrift stores – they’re a bargain there!) I know you can buy a package of 6 subway rolls in the supermarket for cheap, but there’s something very satisfying, as well as healthy, about baking your own bread. Give it a try!
SUBWAY ROLLS – makes 6
- 1½ cups water
- 2¼ tsp dry yeast (any kind)
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 T sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- about 2 T milk (any kind)
- about 1/4 cup topping blend of your choice (dried minced onion, hard cheese such as Parmesan, garlic powder, poppy seed, sesame seeds)
Heat 1½ cups water between 100º F – 104º F. Stir in the yeast and let proof for 5 minutes.
Into the workbowl of your food processor, put 3 cups flour, the sugar, and the salt. Turn on machine, the slowly drizzle in the proofed water through the pour tube. Add extra flour 1 T at a time, as needed, to get the dough to pull away from the sides but not be a hard ball. When you’re happy with the look of the dough, run the processor another 30-45 seconds more to knead. Empty dough into a greased bowl, flipping dough to grease both sides. Cover and place in a warm area to rise – about 1 hour. Pour dough onto floured board and cut into 6 pieces. Shape into a 2″ x 5″ rectangle and place on a parchment lined (or greased) cookie sheet. Cover with tea towel and let rise while you preheat the oven to 425º Fahrenheit – this will take about 1/2 hour. (If you have a portable oven thermometer, use it! Internal oven thermometers are often wrong.) While dough is rising, mix together your topping blend. (I like to use 2 T Parmesan, 2 T dried minced onion flakes, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp salt.) When oven is hot, one by one, gently brush milk onto top of dough then sprinkle on topping. Lightly press down on topping to make it stick. Bake at 425º F about 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. You’ll notice significant rise to the rolls after a few minutes. When golden brown, remove from oven to a wire rack. Let cool before slicing.