Cast Iron Garlic-Herb Butter Rolls Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups (420g) All-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Salt
  • 1 packet (7g) Instant yeast
  • 1 cup (240ml) Warm milk (about 110°F or 45°C)
  • 1/4 cup (60g) Unsalted butter, melted, plus more for coating
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Herbs (such as parsley, thyme, or rosemary), finely chopped
  • Additional melted butter for brushing

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Yeast Mixture: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm milk. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
    • Yeast Activation: Warm milk activates the yeast, and sugar provides food for the yeast to consume, releasing CO₂ and alcohol through fermentation.
  2. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
    • Flour: The base of the rolls, providing structure.
    • Salt: Balances the flavor and regulates yeast activity.
  3. Make the Dough: To the dry ingredients, add the yeast mixture and melted butter. Mix until a soft dough forms, then knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
    • Kneading: Develops gluten, which gives the rolls structure and elasticity, allowing them to hold the gases produced by yeast.
  4. First Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
    • Rising: Allows the yeast to ferment, producing gases that make the dough rise and developing the flavor of the rolls.
  5. Prepare Garlic-Herb Butter: Mix additional melted butter with minced garlic and herbs.
    • Flavoring: Garlic and herbs infuse the butter with aromatic flavors.
  6. Shape and Second Rise: Punch down the dough and divide it into pieces. Shape each into a ball, dip in the garlic-herb butter, and place in a cast iron skillet. Cover and let rise again until puffy, about 30 minutes.
    • Second Rise (Proofing): Allows for further fermentation and expansion, creating a lighter texture.
  7. Bake: Bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
    • Baking in Cast Iron: Provides even heat distribution and a crispy bottom crust. The heat causes the yeast to have a final burst of activity (oven spring), solidifying the gluten and starches and triggering the Maillard reaction for a golden crust.
  8. Serve: Brush with more melted garlic-herb butter if desired. Serve warm.

Scientific Explanations

  • Yeast Fermentation: Yeast fermentation is essential for the rising process. The yeast consumes sugars, producing CO₂ and alcohol, which cause the dough to expand.
  • Gluten Development: Kneading the dough aligns the gluten proteins, forming a network that traps the CO₂, giving the rolls their structure and chewy texture.
  • Proofing: The second rise allows the dough to develop a lighter, airier structure, as the yeast continues to ferment.
  • Baking: The high heat in the oven kills the yeast, but not before it gives one last burst of CO₂ (oven spring). Proteins coagulate, and starches gelatinize, setting the structure of the rolls. The Maillard reaction and caramelization give the crust a golden brown color and deep flavor.
  • Cast Iron Baking: Cast iron retains and distributes heat evenly, providing a consistent baking environment and contributing to the texture of the rolls, especially the crispiness of the bottom crust.

This recipe for garlic-herb butter rolls baked in a cast iron skillet is a delightful blend of science and culinary art. The combination of yeast fermentation, gluten development, and the unique baking properties of cast iron results in fluffy, flavorful rolls with a delectable crispy bottom, perfect for any dinner table.

John Nguyen
John Nguyen
Articles: 103

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