Recipe from Soup Night © Maggie Stuckey, used with permission
from Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA
Yeast rolls enjoy an extra flavor boost from bacon and caramelized onions. They are an excellent accompaniment to soups and chowders based on sweet vegetables, such as carrot, butternut squash, beet or corn— although truth be known, anything with bacon goes beautifully with anything else.
Makes about 3 dozen rolls
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk, heated to lukewarm (110°–115°F)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 bacon strips, chopped into small bits
1 cup finely chopped onion
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tablespoon cream
Make the dough: Sprinkle the yeast over a cup of the warm milk in a large measuring cup or medium bowl. Add the sugar and salt, and stir until dissolved. Set the yeast mixture aside in a warm spot until it bubbles. (This is called proofing the yeast, and if it doesn’t happen, your yeast is dead; start over with fresh yeast.)
Measure the flour carefully and place in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, egg yolks, the remaining cup milk and 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter. Slowly mix the flour with the wet ingredients. Beat vigorously, to form a firm dough.
Cover the bowl loosely with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot, such as a gas oven (the pilot light provides enough heat) or on top of the refrigerator, until the dough has doubled, 1 hour or more, depending on conditions in your kitchen.
Punch the dough down (this is the fun part—make a fist, smack the dough hard in the middle) and set it to rise a second time, covered, until doubled once again, another hour or more.
Make the filling: Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Remove and discard about half of the bacon grease from the skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the bacon into the onion.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat two baking sheets with 1 tablespoon melted butter each.
Assemble the rolls: Sprinkle a work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about ¼ inch. (You may have to work in batches; if so, cover the unused dough lightly with plastic wrap while it’s waiting its turn.) With a cookie cutter or a glass, cut the dough into circles about 4 inches in diameter.
Place 1 teaspoon of the bacon-onion mixture into the center of each circle and fold the edges inward, making a packet.
When all the rolls are baconed, put them, seam-side down, on the baking sheets and cover lightly with a clean towel. Set in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove baking sheets, paint with egg-cream wash, and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until golden brown.