It was a rather chilly day, despite ending up as a sunny day. I spent part of my morning meeting up with my high school friend Kristel as she finished the last 4 miles of the Portland Marathon (go Kristel!). It was a strange way to catch up after 11 years, but I had a great time being there for it. After coming home chilly from running outside, beef stew sounded just perfect. I also wanted to make my first attempt at making rolls. They couldn't be too much different than making bread, but something about their little perfect shape intimidates me.
I used the Test Kitchen as my basis for both recipes. I had never tried their beef stew recipe and found it unusual to throw it in the oven after browning the meat and adding the liquid. Don't doubt the Test Kitchen, though. The meat was unbelievably tender. One thing I don't understand, though, is the lack of celery in their recipe. I added it, but I find it unusual that they don't bother with it. Personally, I love celery in my stew. I failed to recognize the fact that I needed to cook the stew in the oven when planning my meal. It only became an issue when I was to heat the oven to 425 degrees for the rolls. Oops. I have a good Dutch oven (William Temple house--$5!) and finished it on the stove.Can't beat a $5 find like this! Not pretty, but man can it cook.
The rolls were pretty easy, actually. I started a sponge on Saturday night. The recipe is very similar to any rustic bread (I just found out that "rustic" actually means "simple"...interesting). the only difference is after letting the dough rise the first time, you divide it into equal parts (it was supposed to be 18, I got 17) and let the individual part rise again. The dough seemed wetter to me than my usual bread dough, but that might have just been operator error.
After heating the oven with the baking stone for a half hour, I slid my rolls and parchment paper onto the hot stone to bake for 20 minutes until golden. I was impatient and ended up doing all of them at once. I don't think it made too much of a difference, but I should probably rotate them out next time. The recipe says to allow them to cool for a half hour before serving, but who doesn't want a hot roll out of the oven?? C'mon.