Now that we are destined to stay at home for a while, it’s time to build your sourdough starter or Levain, as it’s called in France. Sourdough Starter is the yeast the makes bread rise, and if you make it from scratch, it’s healthier, natural and comes from mother nature, as opposed to a packet from the grocery store. I like to think of my Levain, as my own pet, or science project that I nuture on most days, except when I am gone, or traveling. It does need a little TLC, but it doesn’t take much work, and it can rest in your refrigerator for months, when you need a break, unlike most pets in your house.
You can make all kinds of things with your own sourdough starter, more than just bread. Waffles, pancakes, muffins, noodles, pie dough, cakes and good rolls (like this recipe), all can be made with a simple sourdough starter. Let’s face it, good rolls are hard to come by, and I hope you’re not one of those who like to poppin-fresh too often. Homemade rolls are different, they’re hardy with great texture because you can choose your own flour, and use good yeast. Nothing else is required in a good roll recipe, except some H2O and a few spices from your pantry.
These rolls have a little sugar in them to heighten the fragrance of the warming spices like cardamon, allspice and cloves, but they don’t taste Chrismassy, if you know what I mean. They just have a hint of orange, spice and everything nice. I added a few currants to the dough, for a speck of additional chew and sweetness too. These rolls are great for breakfast with a smear of butter, also pretty delish when split, and stuffed with ham & cheese, and then warmed in the oven for lunch, or nice with a big bowl of soup at dinner. Wow, these are some pretty versatile and amazing rolls.
1 1 /2 cups Levain, on my blog
1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 cup tepid water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cloves
zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup dried currants
1 egg white, for wash
(Makes 12 Rolls)
- In a large bowl, mix together all Preferment ingredients with hands. The dough will look a bit shaggy, that’s okay. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, leave on counter overnight, or up to 12 hours.
- In another bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until combined. Add salt, allspice, cardamom, cloves and orange zest. Make a well in center of Preferment dough, then add egg mixture. Using your hands, fold wet mixture into dough, until combined. Still a bit shaggy looking, but that’s okay.
- Add bread flour and mix until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with currants and knead until smooth. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 1/2 hours.
- On a lightly floured surface, remove dough from bowl. Cut into twelve equal portions and shape into rounds, using palms of your hands (see video).
- Place rolls in a 13 x 9 inch oiled pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place egg white in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon cool water, whisk. Brush rolls with egg wash before baking. Bake rolls for 20 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Let cool for 1 hour before serving. These rolls store nicely in refrigerator, or will freeze for several months. Enjoy!