I have a fantastic white bread recipe. It’s makes four different, delicious things all from the same exact ingredients. This bread can be made as a loaf, dinner rolls, hamburger buns, or as pigs-in-a-blanket. I believe it would make excellent sweet rolls too, with a little more sugar, but I’ll save that for a future post!
Once the dough is all mixed up, you have a total of about 36 ounces of dough. You can make two 18 ounce loaves, 18 two ounce dinner rolls, 12 three ounce hamburger buns, or up to 18 pigs-in-a-blanket. Or just about any combination of the four! I like to make half of it as dinner rolls and the other half as hamburger buns. Or I’ll make one package (eight) of hot dogs into pigs-in-a-blanket, and use the remaining dough for rolls. There are lots of options!
Next, I lightly beat the egg and add it to the melted butter and water and stir. Then I add the other three quarters of a cup of water at a luke warm temperature and stir again. In the end, the water needs to be 110 degrees or cooler.
If mixing by hand, dust your work surface with flour and turn the mixture out onto it. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
If using a standing mixer, knead with the dough hook attachment on medium speed for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should just stick to the bottom of the bowl when it’s ready. If it’s too wet, add more flour, a little at a time. If it’s too dry, add more water. The next few pictures show the what the dough should look like at different stages.
Once the dough is doubled, you’ll want to divide it. If you want to make full sized loaves, divide the dough in half. Flatten each piece into a nine-by-eighteen rectangle and roll each into a loaf. Place each loaf in a loaf pan, seam side down. Cover with a clean, dry dish towel and allow to rise until doubled, about one hour.
Roll each piece into a smooth ball, or boule, and place in a bun pan or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes, then lightly press down on them with your fingers. Cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
Shape each piece into a smooth boule and arrange them with about an inch between each one on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Again, cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to rise until doubled in size.
For pigs-in-a-blanket, you will once again divide the dough into 18 two ounce pieces. Stretch each piece into a strip and spiral it around a hot dog. Place each one on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Again, place them on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a towl and allow to rise until doubled. These are a little harder to judge when they are doubled in size, but a good, general rule is to let them have their second rise for about an hour. If your home is much cooler than 75 degrees, they may need another 20 to 30 minutes.
Once you’ve added the egg wash, preheat the oven to 350 degrees for loaves, or 400 degrees for the rolls, buns, or pigs-in-a-blanket.
Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the interior temperature reaches about 190 degrees. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the loaves 180 degrees and switch their positions in the oven (moving the right loaf to the left side and vice versa).
Bake rolls, buns, or pigs for 15-18 minutes, or until interior temperature is about 180 degrees. I don’t rotate any of these while baking.
Once you remove everything from the oven, transfer to wire cooling racks. Allow loaves, dinner rolls, and hamburger buns to cool completely before serving. Allow the pigs-in-a-blanket to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
One Bread, Four Ways
Makes 2 loaves, 18 dinner rolls, 12 hamburger buns, or 18 pigs-in-a-blanket
4 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups water (3/4 cup hot, 3/4 cup lukewarm
1 egg, whisked with a teaspoon of water for egg wash (optional)
sesame seeds (optional)
Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer and stir to combine.
In a 4 cup measuring cup, combine the 3/4 cup hot water with the butter pieces and stir until melted. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg, then add it to the butter mixture and whisk slightly. Add the 3/4 cup lukewarm water.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until a dough just forms. If mixing by hand, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If using a standing mixer, knead on medium speed, with the dough hook attached, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. The dough should barely stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour 1-2 tablespoons at a time. If it’s too dry, add more water.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, divide and shape it, using the directions above, according to which bread you’re making. Cover with a clean, dry towel and allow to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size. Once doubled, brush with the egg wash and garnish as desired.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees for loaves. Bake the loaves side-by-side in the oven, with about 6 inches separating them, for 35-45 minutes (rotate them 180 degrees, halfway through the baking time), or until the centers are about 190 degrees. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees for dinner rolls, hamburger buns, or pigs-in-a-blanket. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they reach about 180 degrees inside. Allow rolls and/or buns to cool completely before serving. Allow pigs-in-a-blanket to cool for 10 minutes before serving.