Most people get up in the morning and decide what they'll wear; I get up wondering what I'll bake. So, my starter sat out all night and got nice and bubbly. I put all the ingredients in my KitchenAid mixer with a dough hook and completed the dough for the Jersey Hard Rolls. When it came together, I turned it out onto a lightly floured bread board and kneaded the dough until smooth. It was then placed into a oiled bowl and let to rise for 1 1/2 hours. Next step was to form them into eight rolls (about 3 ounces each) and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with semolina. Next, you cover them and let them rise in the refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight, but not for more than 10 hours.
Here's a little trick I picked up today. Since steam is a critical step to create a crisp, shattering crust on these rolls, I placed a cast iron pan with grill "lava" rocks in the bottom of the oven while it preheated. When the oven came up to temperature, I poured 1/2 cup of water on the rocks just before putting the rolls in the oven. I found the lava rocks at
Home Depot and a good-size bag was less than $4.00. I have to say, this is one of the best discoveries I've made in creating the same texture crust I use to get in the professional ovens at the CIA. (Excuse my dirty oven, it's been a hot summer and I haven't wanted to heat up the house with the 4 hours it takes to run the self-cleaning cycle.) The result...perfect rolls that my husband says, "the best I've ever made!" We had them with our dinner of stuffed shells and I could just imagine our oldest daughter, Erin, sopping up the extra sauce with one. Next time you come to visit, they'll be on the menu!
The other baking I did today was a Texas Hospitality Cake from another King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet. In fact, it just came yesterday and since I had left over egg whites in the refrigerator, this was a good one to make.
The hint for perfect cakes, I've found, are these Magi-Cake Baking Strips. They're about $10.00 at Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table, but so worth it. Your cakes will never rise up in the middle again...no more trimming.