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Wild Rice Country Rolls

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Exotic tasting wild rice transforms these crusty peasant rolls into chewy, nourishing dinner bread.

Ingredients

Makes 20 Rolls

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 115°)
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice, cooled 
(from 3/4 cup uncooked rice)
1 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cups wholewheat flour
2 to 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose 
or bread flour
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle in the yeast, and pour in 1 teaspoon of the maple syrup and 1/2 cup of the warm water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the remaining maple syrup, water, wild rice, salt, and wholewheat flour until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of the unbleached flour. Beat 20 seconds more. Add the remaining unbleached flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until you have a soft dough that just clears the sides of the bowl.

3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until springy and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. To prevent sticking, add only 1 tablespoon of flour at a time to the work surface. Adding too much flour at once will make the bread dry. At this point, the dough should be somewhat dense and retain a moist quality under a smooth exterior.

4. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a bit of flour. Place the dough in a deep greased container and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

5. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 4 equal portions. Divide each quarter into 5 equal portions; you will have 20 pieces in all.

6. Shape the pieces into round balls, tucking the ends under to smooth the tops. Press to flatten slightly. Place seam-side down, 1 inch apart, on 2 greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.

7. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 30 to 40 minutes.

8. Dust the tops of the rolls with flour. Bake on the lower and upper racks of a preheated 400° oven, switching their positions halfway through the baking, until lightly brown around the edges, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve.


Extra: Read the full magazine article, Flour Power.

Recipe adapted with permission from Bread for All Seasons, by Beth Hensperger (Chronicle Books, 1995).
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