accidental rolls

December 8, 2009 § 6 Comments

It’s been a long time since I had a proper baking disaster, and I suppose I was overdue. I unfortunately seem prone to the snowball effect when it comes to accidents: one small mistake rattles me, and then everything goes downhill from there. It’s like that time I was driving, and then someone honked at me, and then I got nervous and failed to notice that I was backing directly into a parked car. Happens to everyone, right? No?

At any rate, the snowball hit my kitchen last night when I was seized with a last-minute urge to make rolls. Despite my constant baking, I’m actually pretty inexperienced when it comes to bread, and usually the very idea of bread-baking intimidates me. But it somehow seemed reasonable given that I was making soup – you can’t eat soup without bread! It’s just not right.

The problems began when I wasted two packages of yeast by assuming they were defective, when in reality I had forgotten to add the sugar (the essential step to make your mixture frothy). Then I realized I was out of whole-wheat flour and had to substitute all-purpose. I then realized I was also out of eggs and had to run to the store – and by the time I returned, I forgot I was making a half recipe and tossed in twice as many eggs as I was supposed to. Oops.

At this point I was quite convinced that these were going to be the eggiest, ickiest rolls ever. But I baked them anyhow, just to make sure – and they were yummy! Fairly eggy, to be sure. But that can be a good thing. Compared to regular rolls, the were richer, denser, and somehow also more tender. They weren’t really hearty the way they were intended to be, but the chewiness imbued by far too much egg was actually pretty good. Definitely better when still still warm, but what isn’t? Anyhow, I’ve concluded that if I can be this incompetent and still make decent bread, perhaps it isn’t something to be scared of after all.

laura’s accidental oatmeal rolls
Yield: 1 loaf or 6 rolls

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant)
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 cups flour (approximately)


  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

In small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon of the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle in yeast and let stand for ten minutes, or until frothy. If your yeast doesn’t froth, it probably won’t work and you should start over with a fresh pack.

In a large bowl, stir together remaining sugar, boiliing water, oats, butter, and salt. Let cool to lukewarm. Stir in yeast and eggs. With electric mixer, beat in 1 1/2 cups flour. With wooden spoon, stir in enough flour to make soft dough.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm draft-free place for about 1 1/2 hours.

Gently punch down dough. If making rolls, divide into 6 portions and shape each into a ball. Place on greased baking sheet (or in greased loaf pan if making loaf). Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush tops with egg and sprinkle with rolled oats. Bake until rolls sound hollow when tapped on bottom, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool briefly on racks; serve warm.


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