Salt-Topped Rolls

A delicious and easy soft roll with just a bit of crunchy salt on top. They can be ready in just a little over two hours.

Servings: 12-18, depending on the roll size
Hands-on Time: about 15 minutes
Rising Time: single-rise rolls take 50 minutes. (Double=2 hours Triple=2 3/4 hours)
Bake Time: 16-25 minutes
1 package active dry yeast (scant 1 T from jar)
3 T sugar
1 t sea salt (fine grain)
Optional: 1 T minced fresh herbs (dill, oregano, basil, thyme…) or dried "Italian Herbs"
1 T melted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk or half-and-half
3.5 c all-purpose flour (1/2 c of which can be whole wheat but the roll will be heavier. For folks with kidney or gall bladder issues, leave out the whole-wheat.)
About 1 T coarse sea salt
Egg wash (1 T lightly beaten egg plus 1 T water, mixed)

1. In mixer bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1/4 c cool (70°) water and then sprinkle with 1 t of the sugar to feed the yeast. Let stand until dissolved 5 minutes. Stir in the rest of the sugar, fine-grain salt, herbs (if using), butter,  egg, and milk. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 3 1/4 cups flour and stir to moisten (use dough hook).
2. Knead dough on lightly floured board until elastic and no longer sticky, 6- 15 minutes depending on humidity and temperature! Add flour as needed to prevent sticking. (You can do this in your mixer, too!)
From a double batch (made all at once), I got six rolls for us
PLUS nineteen to share. This is our pan.
3. Shape the dough. It's easiest to just shape it into 12 equal balls, then place them in a well-buttered 9 x 13 pan. Move on to Step 4.
More trouble, but better: for double-rise rolls with finer texture (C’s favorite and a happy accident),
place dough to a buttered bowl, turning to coat on all sides. Cover, let rise until double and punch down. You can repeat one more time more for even finer texture. (I almost always do.) Shape into 12 rolls and place in a well-buttered 9 x 13 pan.
4. Let rolls rise in a warm place until doubled, 45-60 minutes. In the last few minutes of rising time, pre-heat oven to 350°.  
I delivered these two pans before it was time for us to eat,
so our pan is still on my "proofing oven" (my dryer, running!) at this point.
Egg-washed, salted, and ready to bake!
5. Brush rolls with egg wash (1 egg + 1 T water) and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until deep golden, 25-30 minutes. (To use 8 x 8 pans,  make 9 smaller rolls and let rise. They’ll spread to fill the pan. Bake 16 minutes.)

     Confession time: sometimes I forget this step, so I block the oven as soon as I put the rolls to rising. You work with what ya got, you know?!

To freeze: bake until done but not browned. Flash-freeze in the pan, then remove individual rolls to zipper bags and re-freeze. Bake frozen rolls at 375° until brown and warm.)

To bake later: refrigerate rolls before rising or after some rising. Allow to return to room temp. Bake as directed.

My Kitchen Message Notes: 
Nov. 2009:  A-- & B-- B-- (A on chemo) like them a LOT (with herbs, but better without) 
Aug. 2010: C-- G--r says it helps with her meds’ metallic aftertaste (August 2010)
1/11/12: Steph's family loves 'em! 

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