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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    Don’t over-zhoozh: Pull Apart Bundt Dinner Rolls

    A supposed glazed cake baked in the Intreccio silicone mold. Intreccio is probably Italian for “a vortex of wasted time and effort”. (photo courtesy of Silikomart)
    Now that’s more like it. Pull apart dinner rolls with Everything Bagel seasoning baked in a basic steel Bundt pan.

    On Easter Eve, while prepping a sous vide porchetta roast, a boneless leg of lamb and putting the final chocolate touches on Peanut Butter Stuffed Banana Bread Bars, I had an idea to also make dinner rolls for the gathering I was attending. I mean, why not? The oven was already hot, the dough only takes a few minutes to throw together and everybody loves ‘em, right?

    This is all true, if only I didn’t have an inherent need to zhoozh them up a notch. I thought maybe I could make them in a bundt pan, like pull apart monkey bread. And maybe coat the inside of the buttered pan with bagel everything seasoning mix to really get the party started. I cobbled together a basic dinner roll recipe from a couple sources on the net and got started.

    But here’s where the plan went south: I decided to use my silicone spiral Intreccio bundt pan (see photo). Which has been relegated to my kitchen storage area for about four years because it’s just awful to use. It heats unevenly; everything I’ve ever made in it comes out half baked. Also, it is almost impossible to remove anything short of Portland Cement from this pan without tearing it apart. Literally, if you could make a successful cake in this pan, you’d need to freeze it solid to remove it.

    But I used it anyway, and, in the spirit of Easter, IT WAS RISEN. I watched through the oven door as the rolls rose in a magnificent golden splendor about two inches above the rim and transformed into a muffin top. Knowing that this pan heats unevenly, I let it bake for an additional 10 minutes to ensure it was cooked all the way through.

    After pulling it out of the oven, I let it cool for about 20 minutes and then tried to unmold it. The “muffin top” overflow bulge tore completely off, revealing a steaming but otherwise uncooked, gooey center.

    Undeterred, I chucked the mess into the trash and dug out a standard metal bundt pan and started over. This time, success. It was even more impressive than I first imagined (see photo). The only drawback was when I flipped it over, the top was a teeny bit pale from being at the bottom of the pan. I let it cool for a few and then popped it under the broiler for 2 minutes to get the seasoned top crust up to a toasty brown.

    At Easter dinner, I got more compliments on this afterthought recipe than I did for either of the roasts. Also, the way it just pulls apart into even slices is very satisfying.

    Pull Apart Bundt Dinner Rolls

    1 cup warm water

    2 Tbsp sugar

    1 Tbsp instant yeast

    1 large egg

    1 tablespoon oil

    1 teaspoon salt

    3 ¼ to 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

    1 stick salted butter, melted

    2 Tbsp Everything Bagel seasoning (optional)

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the warm water, sugar, yeast, egg, oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour.

    Mix until combined. With the mixer running, gradually add flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and forms a ball that is soft but not overly sticky. Knead for 3 minutes. Cover the top of the bowl, and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes. It should puff slightly.

    Pour half (4 tablespoons) of the melted butter evenly in the bottom of a bundt pan. Swirl it around so it evenly coats the sides and the center post. If you’re using the bagel seasoning, sprinkle it evenly around the insides of the pan.

    On a lightly floured or oiled surface, roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle, about 10 x 12 inches. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 somewhat even squares.

    Grab one square at a time, dip the bottom of the square in the butter in the pan and layer the squares against each other (kind of like a trail of dominoes that has fallen over on each other). All 24 squares should fit in a layer around the bottom of the pan. Lift and rearrange the squares, if needed, to fit them all in.

    Cover the pan and let the dough rise, approx 60 minutes. After the dough has risen, pour the remaining 4 Tbsp butter over and around the top of the bread.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and baked through. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a plate or platter. Serve warm.

    Note: If you need to brown the top crust more to your liking, place it onto a baking pan and put it under the broiler for a minute or two. You might even take the opportunity to sprinkle a little grated cheese before broiling to really zhoozh it up. But don’t over-zhoozh, it leads to trouble.

    Rich Swanson is a local cook who has had numerous wins in nationally sponsored recipe contests. He is also the layout specialist here at The Day.

    Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Rich Swanson can be reached at TheSurlyTable@gmail.com.

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