Children are natural experimenters. They’re fearless, they’re creative. I firmly believe that a kid came up with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, because the average adult would have said “Ewwwww” and been done with it. But kids aren’t thwarted. Cooking is a real, hands-on practical way to teach children more about their world and their bodies, while having a great time. And kids who are excited about cooking and healthy nutrition are far less likely to reach for processed food at every turn, hopefully living longer and better lives for it.
These simple bread rolls are easy to make and even easier to eat, with a fabulous outer bite and addictive inner chew. Delicious plain out of hand, served warm with butter as dinner rolls, or as a base for hearty sandwiches. This recipe was selected by my older daughter from a favorite cookbook, Let’s Cook! by Pamela Gwyther, and adapted slightly for sodium restriction. Both of my daughters loved being in charge of the recipe – getting to measure, add and mix the ingredients, knead the dough and form the rolls, glaze and then decorate – almost as much as they enjoyed the scrumptious fruits of their labor.
Yields 8 sandwich-sized rolls.
SODIUM CONTENT: scant trace per serving
3 1/2-4 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/4 t. (1 pkg.) dry instant yeast
1 T. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. warm water (lukewarm, NOT hot)
1 egg (for glazing)
2 T. sesame and/or poppy seeds (for decoration)
Measure 3 3/4 cups flour into a mixing bowl, add the yeast and whisk well. Add the oil and warm water and stir to combine. Once a thick dough begins to form, turn the bowl out onto a clean lightly-floured surface and begin to knead, adding a little flour as necessary to prevent dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface. Knead dough 7 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a clean mixing bowl, place dough inside and cover tightly (I like to use plastic wrap secured at the top with a rubber band). Place in a warm spot and allow to rise until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Once dough has risen, uncover bowl and turn dough out onto a clean, lightly-floured surface. Knead until smooth, about a minute, then cut dough into 8 equal portions. Form each portion into a round roll. Arrange formed rolls on a lightly-oiled baking sheet and cover gently with a clean dish towel. Let the rolls rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Once rolls have risen, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove dish towel from the baking sheet. Gently break egg into a small bowl and beat well with a fork. Lightly brush surface of the rolls with the beaten egg, then sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds over top if desired. Place pan on middle rack in oven and bake 15 minutes for a soft golden brown color or 20 minutes for a deeper brown. Remove pan from oven and place rolls on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Best if consumed same day; these also freeze well.