Raw Honey Dinner Rolls (Pick Farm Series)

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With so many projects on my plate and several more exciting ones coming up, I need to stop and take a moment to catch my breath. I felt like cooking something simple and decided a basket of fresh baked rolls would be nice, plus I would get to play with dough! I should tell you up front this was an experiment; I started without a recipe and thought I might end up with a basket of rock-hard doorstops. However, my effort was rewarded with a batch of tender, delicious rolls!

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After combining in all of the ingredients I turned the dough out onto a floured work surface and worked the dough until it was elastic, and pinched it into twelve equal pieces, shaping them into balls and then placed them in a lightly buttered baking pan to rise for an hour.

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Mine rose perfectly until they were all gently touching each other, then I put them in a 400f oven for 25 minutes. With 10 minutes remaining, I carefully took them out of the oven and brushed them with melted butter, then popped them back in for the last 10 minutes of baking time. There is nothing like the aroma of fresh bread baking in your kitchen, and although its nearly summer, the smell is still just as comforting, and totally worth heating up your kitchen for. I opened all the kitchen windows to avoid heating up the rest of the house.

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I could barely wait ten minutes before pulling one apart to check the texture, which thankfully is light, soft, and tender. As for the taste, they turned out just slightly sweet with a yeasty tang and a texture that melts in your mouth.

I enjoy them with a swipe of butter and drizzled with raw wildflower honey, as a summery breakfast treat that goes perfectly with hot tea or coffee. They are also perfect to serve with dinner and make great breakfast sandwiches which my husband loved. They are also easy to freeze, so if you don’t have time to make them during the week, make them on the weekend and pop them in the microwave for 60 seconds.

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I prefer to use raw honey, and the best I’ve found locally is collected straight from the honeybees at Pick orchards. In case you are unfamiliar with the difference between raw and pasteurized honey; raw honey is the unprocessed sweet liquid that honeybees produce from the concentrated nectar of flowers and has a lighter, more complex and more floral flavor than honey processed with heat. Pasteurization changes the taste of honey, adding a bitter flavor and flatter taste that some people object to. Collected straight from the extractor; raw honey is totally unheated, unpasteurized, unprocessed, and so it retains all of the antioxidants and health benefits that nature intended!

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Always scoop honey from the jar using a dry spoon, and store honey in a cool dry place in a tightly capped jar since honey tends to absorb moisture. No need to store honey in the refrigerator; if it gets cold it will crystallize, which can be reversed by setting the jar in a pan of hot water until it is clear again. So what are you waiting for? Head to Pick at 14158 W. 159th Street, Homer Glen, IL 60491 and grab a jar of their delicious raw honey!

Honey Rolls
Adapted from my pizza dough recipe!
Yields 12 rolls

Ingredients

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup slightly warm water
1/4 cup honey (you could substitute 1/4 cup sugar)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra if necessary
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 teaspoons sea salt
1 egg (I used farm fresh eggs from Pick Farm)
1 tablespoon butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast into the bottom of the bowl and pour warm water over it. Add the honey and gently blend the mixture and allow the yeast to activate for 5 minutes. Add the flour, oil, salt and egg. Stir until blended. The dough will be sticky. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until soft and elastic. You may need to add a little flour to keep the dough from sticking to the surface. Be patient, the dough will become workable the longer you knead it.

Roll the dough into twelve balls and place in a lightly buttered 13 x 9 baking pan. Place a towel over the rolls and allow them to double in size, the time required depends on the temperature of your room. Mine took 1 1/2 hrs to double. Place the rolls into the oven and bake for 25 minutes. In the mean time melt a tablespoon of butter and 15 minutes into the baking process, pull the rolls out and lightly brush with the melted butter. Place the rolls back in for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe notes:
* This dough can be refrigerated for up to a week.
* These rolls reheat very well. 325 degrees F for 12 minutes

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