Calin loves ham rolls. Mostly he loves ham, but he does usually want to eat it on something, and ham rolls are the ideal. At the grocery store this weekend, I bought a rotisserie chicken that came with a free 4-pack of hawaiian rolls. I generally consider hawaiian rolls the best possible (store-bought) roll for ham rolls, and we happened to have some leftover Virginia ham from Yoder’s Country Market (best ham ever for ham roll purposes). It was all a set-up.
Hubby decided one stormy morning that what he wanted for dinner that night was ham rolls. But the hawaiian rolls were only a 4-pack, like I said, and they’re small enough that that’s not really enough for dinner. So I said I’d make rolls, and we could have home-made ham rolls to supplement the hawaiian rolls. I underestimated the appeal of fresh-from-the-oven rolls, clearly. The hawaiian rolls are still sitting in their package on the counter, and these honey challah rolls are gone.
They were almost gone instantly, actually. I made us stop while there were still enough left to pack some for lunch the next day. It was an intervention.
When a man with a toothache says he wants pumpkin bread, you make it for him. Especially if you’ve already been planning to make some, and it’s a Sunday afternoon, and you really want the house to smell good.
I have been planning on this for a while, but I didn’t actually bother to find a recipe until it got time to settle down to it. I figured I’d try my cookbook collection first, but they turned up nothing of consequence. (Okay, that’s a stretch – they turned up plain old nothing.) So I turned to my trusty internet, with its trusty other-people’s-cooking-blogs (and with AllRecipes – let’s give credit where it’s due), and low and behold found an amazingly simple recipe on of my old faithfuls – My Baking Addiction.
I’ve been worse than usual about posting lately, possibly because there is a new baby (not mine) in my life taking up lots of time, or possibly because it’s been beautiful weather and the flowers are bursting and I’ve been spending tons of time in my yard. Or (most likely) because I am essentially a lazy person and I can’t be trusted to stick with something as benign and undemanding as what essentially amounts to a journal for longer than few months consistently. I’m trying, I promise. I love my posts, and I love sharing with you, I just wish they would write themselves while I think them.
You can basically assume that anything I post here in the next few months was done weeks before, and I have only the vaguest memory of what I actually did (and if I’m lucky, I’ll actually remember what recipe I used). So, that said…
A while ago, I made these pretzel dogs:
They were awesome. Comparatively easy, and really tasty. Calin didn’t like them as much as I did because, as he says, he doesn’t like the “baking soda flavor” that home-made recipes use to create the pretzel effect. I happen to love it, and he didn’t mind it, so I’ll probably make these again.
Last week, I found this recipe, which looked amazing. Then yesterday I found THIS recipe, which just about floored me. And then I read the second recipe again, and realized it wasn’t actually a dough recipe. It was a technique recipe, that requires another dough recipe. Light Bulb. (Pardon the weird subtitles – and if you haven’t seen that movie, go rent it NOW).
For some reason, yesterday was a bread day. As in, I wanted it. Badly. So as soon as we got home from work, skipping any semblance of dinner prep, I started working on these. Dough has to rise, you know. I barely had all the ingredients I needed, and fortunately I have the world’s biggest rosemary shrub growing in my garden, so this was perfect.
As a preface let me say that I have had the perfect challah bread. It’s made by Double H Farms in Nelson County, Virginia, and it’s absolutely amazing. You’ve seen it featured here in at least one french toast recipe. I buy it biweekly during the summer at the Saturday Charlottesville Farmers Market, and usually we’re lucky if it lasts until breakfast on Sunday.
Now, Double H Farm’s challah is apparently not traditional challah. It’s much flatter and much softer and much lighter in color. But it is utterly delicious, and I can’t get enough. So that’s what I’m trying to replicate, so far unsuccessfully.
Here are my three attempts with the challah recipe from Cook’s Illustrated’s New Best Recipes. I tried three times with the same recipe because I was sure I could just tweak something and make it work. Well, I made it better, but I didn’t make it perfect.
I’m working on a new format for my posts, since I’ve discovered that the biggest barrier between me and blogging is sheer laziness. I have pictures of all my kitchen extravaganzas, they just don’t make it up here. So, from now on (and cleverly going backwards with some back dated posts) I am going to document in pictures, only making notes where something significant happened or I changed something. Now I just need a staging table so that my pictures don’t have construction equipment in the background…
This adventure is a recurring recipe in our house, a frequent staple of large brunches and lazy weekends. It was discovered as a necessity – Double H Farms outside of Charlottesville makes the best challah bread I have ever had, and challah bread makes the best french toast, so naturally we needed the best french toast recipe.