Pumpernickel Rye Rolls


It's time for bread week!  This is one of the series of challenges that I have been looking forward to as a true and ferocious lover of bread.  Bread: the carb to end all carbs and one I want to indulge in all day everyday.  Plus, I'm sick of drooling over all those bread-makers I follow on Instagram and I'm ready to make my own drool-worthy, gluten-stuffed concoctions.  Gluten.  Ahhh, yes.  Warning: gluten happening.

Mel and Sue explain to the bakers that this Signature Challenge is to bake 12 identical "right royal rye rolls."  Now, rye is in actuality a low-gluten flour, which Mr. Hollywood explains requires extra work to develop the gluten to build up the necessary air pockets.  I've never worked with rye, and quite frankly, I don't even know where to even buy it.  But since rye is typically described as being "healthy" then, I know I should be able to find it at Whole Foods.

I typically add my baking ingredients to our weekly grocery list and have my husband pick it up.  But my husband was off doing who knows what on the day that I was buying everything, so I toted my infant son to Whole Foods for my items.  Luckily, the baby was in a good mood because I walked circles around that dang store looking for everything, namely, the rye flour.  I would have thought that it was in the bulk bins, and naturally I could not find an employee to ask when any other day I would have already been approached multiple times.  A few laps around the store and I finally find it...in the bulk bin section.  Have you ever bought anything out of the bulk bins?  I haven't, so pro tip: be sure to include the skew number on your brown paper bag to avoid the scathing gaze of the granola, preservative-free cashier at checkout.

After my marathon of a grocery trip and frantically running across the parking lot to return the cart to the cart return (citizen of the year) while leaving my son alone in my running car (mother of the year), I am back in my kitchen...to another dilemma.  If you have been following me on Instagram (you can find me at @greatbhambakeproject!!), then you will know that my treasured Sunbeam stand mixer finally kicked the bucket.  As I am embarking on my bread journey, the thought of going on without a stand mixer is rather daunting, and despite constantly toting around a 20lb human, my arm strength is lacking.  Looks like I'm wiping the dust off my electric hand mixer.

I mixed up all of my dry ingredients, leaving some of the flour aside for mixing in later.  This recipe calls for brewed coffee which is perfect because I never finish a pot of coffee and I just happened to have just the right amount leftover from the morning.  I took the leftover coffee and mixed in oil and molasses and heated to about 125 degrees F.  Then added all the dry ingredients, the warmed liquids, and then the remaining flour while kneading with my hand mixer.  Oooh this hand mixer.  The kneading hooks on this thing was a little concerning.  As the dough got thicker, it crept up the hooks.  Like way up on the hooks.  Like up into the part of the mixer where the attachments attach.  Into the whole mechanics of the darn thing.  Is this something to be worried about?  This may be an issue later, but for now, I have to knead this sucker.

After potentially ruining my mixer and letting the dough rise, I punched it down and hand-kneaded in dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds before forming into 12 rounds and allowing to rise briefly a 2nd time.  Then my rolls are in the oven until the intoxicating aroma of the baking bread is positively irresistible.

PBS/Love Productions/BBC/via thedigitalspy.com

PBS/Love Productions/BBC/via thedigitalspy.com

The bakers are using an array of ingredients to flavor their rolls, but I am seeing a lot of cocoa powder and treacle (the British term for molasses, apparently), which as Mary Berry explains, creates the dark color for the rolls.  Norman is on thin ice due to his lack of creativity which is doing nothing but giving me anxiety.  Oh, you haven't heard about my intense adoration for Norman?  Go back here to read all about it.  But he is standing firm on his laurels and creating a simple rye roll.  During judging, Mary points out the simplicity, but Paul can appreciate the technique.  Good on you, Norman!  Martha is planning on an egg wash on the outside of her rolls, which Paul claims is "daring".  Mr. Hollywood, being the bread expert, clearly knows why egg wash is a terrible idea, but Martha is sticking to her original plan.  What did we eventually learn of the danger of egg wash on these rolls?  The egg wash turned the bread a dark shade, or as Paul more eloquently stated, "Falsely accused the bread as being ready," resulting in Martha pulling the bread out of the oven too early.  The more you know, folks!      

I began baking my rolls but before they were completely done I covered them in a cornstarch glaze (take note, Martha), topped with a few caraway seeds, then returned them in the oven to finish them off.  My oh my, did my house smell absolutely outstanding!  After cooling my husband and I both ate one...then we ate another.  Oh my gosh, these were delicious smeared with a bunch of butter.  Mmmm, mmmm, MMMM!!!  My baby even ate a whole roll, so ladies and gentlemen, I call this bake a complete success.......with one caveat.  I learned I don't like the flavor of caraway seeds.  A small note to make for an otherwise amazing result.  If you are looking to experiment with different flours, try these rye rolls!


In case you were curious, I did in fact ruin my hand mixer.  I did my best to clean it all up after baking and put it away without giving anything a second thought.  I pulled it out again not long after this to make a chocolate cake, and noticed a strange odor coming from the mixer and a liquid dripping out of it.  Uuuuum, gross, but I had a cake to make and I thought that this stinky mixer wouldn't affect my cake batter.  Once the switch was flipped and the beaters were turning, all that fermented dough that was stuck in the gears heated up and starting smelling atrocious.  I threw my shirt over my nose and told myself to deal and just mix this cake, but then my husband, who was sitting in the living room and easily over 30 feet away yelled, "Oh my gah, what's that smell?!!"  It was getting worse.  It was spreading.  We threw open the doors and windows, despite this being a bitterly cold winter night, and brought a box fan into the kitchen.  My husband was on the brink of retching, we were both worried this commotion and scent would wake the baby up, and he was begging me to turn off the mixer.  No.  Not until the cake is mixed.  

The mixer went in the trash immediately after.  And the cake was delicious.



Adapted from Foodwanderings

for the rolls

  • 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp room temperature brewed coffee
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 1/4 cup bread flour
  • 5 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sugar in the Raw
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 oz packet yeast
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly chopped

for the glaze

  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water

Combine 1 cup of the bread flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl.  Combine the coffee, canola oil, and molasses in a bowl and heat to 120 to 130 degrees F.  

Combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients with an electric mixer with a dough hook or paddle attachment for 4 minutes on medium speed.  Gradually add the rye flour and the enough of the remaining bread flour to form a firm dough.  Then knead with the dough hook for 5 to 7 minutes until the dough is a smooth consistency.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Punch down the dough and add the cranberries and pumpkin seeds, kneading slightly until everything is is thoroughly mixed.  Divide into 12 equally sized pieces and form into a ball, placing each roll on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  

While baking, combine the water and cornstarch and heat to boiling.  Remove bread from oven after 10 minutes and brush the cornstarch glaze over the rolls.  Return to oven and bake for 5 minutes until the rolls are glossy and hollow when tapped.    



Alexandra WhiteComment