Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Here is another popular Pinterest recipe. It's all over the place, pinned and re-pinned a bunch of times. If you're on Pinterest, I know you've seen it. Obviously so did I and since I'm trying to improve my hand at yeast risen doughs, this looked like a good recipe to work with. So I decided to give it a try.
At first I didn't realize it was a "copycat" recipe from a popular restaurant chain, Texas Roadhouse. I just thought that it was the name of a type of roll, like Parkerhouse Rolls or Crescent Rolls. Just a bit of poking around on the internet and I realized I was wrong. There isn't a Texas Roadhouse anywhere near where I live so I wasn't aware of them. But boy, do people seem to love their rolls. Kind of a cult following. And all the chatter seems to indicate that this recipe is a pretty close match.  I wouldn't know, I haven't tasted the rolls. But I did like this recipe. I'll be making it again soon and both my kids have already put it on the Thanksgiving request list. Thumbs up from the whole fam. For my first try I think I did ok. There's room for  improvement for sure but all in all, this recipe was a success.

The ingredients are pretty simple: A packet of active dry yeast, milk - scalded and cooled to lukewarm, melted butter - cooled slightly, sugar, AP flour, an egg and salt.

You want to scald the milk and then let it cool to room temp. It's scalded when over medium heat, active small bubbles start to form around the edge and there's a thin "film" forming on top. Do not let it boil. Turn off the head and let it cool.

Dissolve yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar. The water should be at about 110°-115°F. My hot water tap gets about this hot, so I use that. If you're not sure, use a thermometer.

A note about yeast: I followed the step above and after 5 minutes not much had happened. (RIGHT). So, I did it again, using a fresher packet of yeast and after 5 minutes I had a bubbling mass of active yeast. (LEFT). The yeast I used on the right was close to it's expiration date but not past it. On the left, I used a packet of yeast I bought less than a month ago. What went wrong on the right? Yeast too old? Water too hot? Who knows, the point is watch what's happening. If your yeast doesn't "activate", throw it out and start again. At this point, I was only out 1 packet of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar, an easy place to start over with little time or money invested.

Once the yeast has activated, combine it with the milk (Check the temp, it should be about 100°F, any hotter and it may kill the yeast.), 1/2 cup sugar and about 1/2 the flour. Beat until you have a batter about the consistency of pancake batter.

Add the melted butter, eggs and salt and beat thoroughly again.

Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Let it rest about 5 minutes.

Switch to your dough hook and knead for 4-5 minutes until you have a smooth dough.

Here you see my usually proofing set up: Load the dough into a large straight sided container that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Make a mark level with the top of the dough. Put it in the oven with a large pan below. Fill that pan with boiling water a close the oven. DO NOT turn the oven on. Leave it be until it's doubled in size.

There we go, just about double and it took just about an hour. Punch it down and turn it out onto a floured board. Let rest 10 minutes.

Next, roll the dough out and shape it. I like the thick square rolls like the picture on the website where I found the recipe so I rolled the dough out and cut into squares. My dough is about 1/2 inch thick and the rolls are about 3 inches square.

Lay the rolls out on a silpat lined cookie sheet and proof again until doubled in size.

Ohhh, nice and puffy and ready to bake. Put them into a 350°F oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. (For some reason, I don't have a picture of the rolls when they come out of the oven. Forgive me?) As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, brush them with more melted butter.

So, while your rolls are baking you can make the Cinnamon Honey Butter that the blog-o-sphere insists goes along with these rolls. Again, I've never been to a Texas Roadhouse so I'm taking this on faith. Take 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup honey and 1teaspoon cinnamon and whip it with a mixer until very light and fluffy.

Load it into a container (I used a washed out sour cream container.) and refrigerate until your rolls are done. Please don't save this just for the rolls. It is DELISH! We've been putting it on waffles, toast and just about everything since I made it. So good!

Like I said, these rolls were a hit with the family. The egg and butter makes them rich and flavorful and the sugar adds a hint of sweetness. We ate them hot out of the oven and the next day my kids used them to make sandwiches. The rolls turned out a little flatter than I was expecting and I was worried that they'd be heavy but they weren't. Next time I think I'll roll the dough out a little thicker and let them proof just a bit longer on the second proof. I'll also probably cut them a little smaller to get more rolls. Give 'em a try.

Follow this link to the recipe: Texas Roadhouse Rolls
(Note: I cut the recipe in half for this post.)

Cinnamon Honey Butter
1/2 C. unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 C. powdered sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 C. honey

Whip all ingredients until light and fluffy. Store in the refrigerator.

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