I’ve made soft, fluffy rolls and buns over the years but recently I got a craving for a hard, crusty version. So I went web surfing.
Hard, Crusty Rolls
I adapted this King Arthur Flour “European-Style Hard Roll” recipe by substituting my own home made sourdough starter for the starter called for in the recipe. Based on the weight of the flour, water and yeast in the starter, I used a bit over 8 oz/225 gm of sourdough starter.
After the initial 3 hr deflate and turns called for, I divided the dough in half (14 oz/400 gm each) and refrigerated one portion in a covered bowl until the next day. I divided the rest of the dough into 4 portions and shaped the dough into balls, which I proofed for 1 hr before baking at 425 deg F in a preheated oven. I placed several ice cubes into a metal pie pan which I put into the oven to give me a steamy baking environment.
Because I was too cheap frugal to crack an egg for the egg white glaze, I just threw some all purpose flour over the proofed balls and slashed the tops.
Remarkably, the relatively flat proofed dough balls rose magnificently.
The bottoms of the buns were browned and firm (tapping gave me a solidly hollow sound) but the tops were still pale so I extended the baking time to 30 min (from the 20-25 min called for.)
After waiting impatiently about 20 minutes for the rolls to cool, I sliced one open. The crust was, as desired, very hard and crunchy, the texture was chewy and the taste was good. The crumb was fairly open so I’m guessing the hydration level was about 60%.
The roll was delicious on its own or dipped into extra virgin oil dressed with freshly ground black pepper and coarse sea salt.
The 2nd half of the dough was pulled out of the refrigerator the next day and allowed to come to room temperature … about 2 hrs. At this point, I shaped the dough into 4 rolls and let them proof for 2 hrs before baking. This time, in hopes of a nicer coloured external crust, I DID use an egg white glaze.
The crust wasn’t nearly as crunchy as the earlier bake but the texture and taste was similar. The colour was beautiful after 25 min of baking.