Well, today I’m a little swamped. First, I had to deal with the gentle folk of the Tennessee Department of Revenue. You see, my fine state eschews the state income tax because somehow, by hook and by crook, they have convinced the masses that they’re better off paying near 10% sales tax (yes, including food) and additional “personal property” taxes, business use taxes, and, my personal favorite, the Professional Privilege Tax. I capitalize it because it is important and better than me.
What this means is that all “professionals” — i.e. anyone who is licensed by the State — are required to pay an additional flat-fee tax every single year that they hold the TN license, presumably for the “privilege” of having Tennessee agree that you are fit to practice. If you are an attorney, it doesn’t matter if you make $0 or $1,000,000.00, you still owe $400 just for having a TN license. And yes, this is on top of bar dues, CLE fees, license fees, property taxes, etc. And yes, you have to pay it even if you aren’t practicing anymore, didn’t make any money, and didn’t get the fee notice on account of the DOR sent it and all reminders to your former employer from 3 years ago.
But I digress…
So I had to waddle my ungainly ass down to their office with Luli in tow. Luli, wisely, chose to come armed with her favorite wooden kitchen knife. Smart girl. I had only my giant abdomen and my residual bitterness over the whole lawyer thing. Of course when we get there, the person who handles us is incredibly sweet, understanding, and helpful and we get everything sorted out fairly quickly.
Anyhow, now the rush is on because I’ve got to hem K’s “concert” pants and try to get some lawyering done while Luli does whatever she does during naptime. I thought I would give you all a little something to do while I go take care of that stuff.
Several people have asked me about the tasty looking things in my banner. They are the awesome Savory Morning Rolls – basically brioche rolls with gruyere and prosciutto. They are incredibly delicious and fun (you know, in the challenging way) to make. Look at this as a chance to learn how to make brown butter brioche. Or short cut the whole thing and use frozen pizza dough (thaw it first people), fresh pizza dough, fresh biscuit dough (just fold it 3 or 4 times when rolling), or even refrigerator biscuit dough. I won’t think less of you.
Savory Prosciutto and Gruyere Brioche Morning Rolls
Basically, these are a savory version of the traditional cinnamon roll or sticky bun. For those of you who feel like a challenge, here is my recipe:
I learned how to make brioche from the excellent Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I have tweaked the recipe over time, and what follows is the recipe and method that I use when I make brioche that is to be used as a base. The idea of incorporating savory ingredients arose out of a desire for an alternative to the typical sweet rolls I usually make for breakfasts and brunch. This recipe requires at least two days for preparation and will yield 12 large rolls using 2 extra large muffin tins.
- 3 level teaspoons of fresh active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of warm water (100° to 110° degrees)
- 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup and approximately 1 2/3 cup of King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 oz (4 tablespoons) of browned and cooled unsalted butter (instructions for this will follow)
- 4 oz (8 tablespoons) of softened unsalted butter
- 8 thin slices of prosciutto (approximately 4 oz), lightly pan-fried, chopped into small pieces, and chilled
- 4 oz of gruyere, grated and chilled
- 2 oz of pecorino romano, grated and chilled
- 1 oz (2 tablespoons) of softened unsalted butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
(1). Proof the Yeast. In a small glass or ceramic bowl, combine the yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and stir until smooth. Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 – 20 minutes or until the mixture bubbles up.
(2). Prepare the Sponge. Take a 5 – 6 quart metal mixing bowl and fill with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes. Dump out the water and towel dry. With a whisk, combine one egg and 1/3 cup of flour. Mixture will be thick. Add the yeast and sugar mixture and whisk until smooth and there are no clumps. With a rubber scraper, fold in the remaining 1 2/3 cup of flour. Scrape down the sides and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside for 2 hours.
(3). Brown the Butter. Place 4 ounces of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium to medium high heat. As the butter melts, scrape or stir constantly while the solids separate and begin to brown. As soon as the solids have collected on the bottom and changed in color to a golden brown, remove from heat and scrape entire contents of skillet into a glass or ceramic bowl. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
(4). Prepare the Dough. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt. Place the mixing bowl containing the sponge on a stand mixer and attach the paddle. Add the sugar and salt mixture and 2 of the remaining eggs to the sponge. Mix together on low speed setting for one minute, then for approximately 2 more minutes on medium speed setting. If the dough is still very stick at this point and has not started to clean the sides of the bowl, add more King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, one tablespoon at a time (but not exceeding 1/3 of a cup) and beat on medium until the dough cleans the side and stays on the paddle.
Switch to the hook attachment and beat on medium high speed setting for approximately 2 minutes until the dough is shiny, smooth and tacky to the touch. Turn the speed setting to medium and slowly pour in the brown butter. Add 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) of the remaining butter one tablespoon at a time until all the butter has been combined into the dough. Stop the mixer and remove the hook. The dough should be shiny and smooth, and will feel both greasy and extremely sticky. Roll the dough into a ball, lightly coat with King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and place in a lightly-buttered large bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours. Once the dough has doubled in size, place the still-covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
(5). Shape and Fill the Rolls. While the dough is refrigerating after its first rise, prepare the prosciutto and combine the two grated cheeses. After the dough is thoroughly chilled, removed from bowl and place on well-floured surface. Using your hands, lightly pat the dough down and shape into a rectangle approximately 10 inches side to side by 6 inches top to bottom.
(A). Working from the left side to the right, fold the left third over to the middle and then the right third over that. Using your hands, lightly press and shape again until you have a rectangle approximately 6 inches side to side by 10 inches top to bottom. Rotate 1/4 turn and repeat (A) two more times.
(B). Using a rolling pin and working from the middle to the edges, lightly roll the dough until it is a rectangle shape about 2/3 to 3/4 inch thick and measure approximately 24 inches side to side and 12 inches top to bottom. Cover with dry cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting, prepare the muffin tins by spraying lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.
Remove cloth and spread remaining ounce of butter evenly across the surface of the dough. Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly on surface, leaving about an inch across the bottom edge without cheese. Cover the cheese with the chopped prosciutto, making sure that both are evenly distributed across the surface (again, save one inch along the bottom edge of the dough). Sprinkle with freshly grated pepper. Working from the top edge and starting in the middle moving out, carefully tuck in the top edge and roll down, making sure not to “smash” the dough down. Work slowly and make sure that the roll is tight and firm. Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, divide the roll into two rolls. They should measure approximately 12 inches long each and should be 3 inches wide at the widest part of the roll. Divide each roll into six equal slices, again using a gently sawing motion and taking care not to smash down on the roll.
There will now be 12 portions, approximately 2 inches thick and 3 inches wide at the widest part.
Place the rolls into the muffin tins. Cover lightly with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray on the side that touches the pan and rolls. Refrigerate the rolls overnight, or at least for four hours.
(6). Bake the Rolls. After the rolls have been thoroughly chilled, remove from the refrigerator and, keeping the plastic wrap on, place in a draft-free place until the rolls have risen 1 1/2 to 2 times in size. Preheat the oven to 400°. Beat the remaining egg and gently brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg. Once the egg wash has dried, bake the rolls until the center reaches 190°, approximately 18 minutes.
(7). Eat the Rolls. Preferably with an endless stream of mimosas. Bask in the adoration of your fawning diners.