I struggled with what to make for a work potluck. In general, I enjoy making desserts for potlucks. I’m not sure why I don’t like making main dishes for groups. Perhaps it’s because I’m a picky eater, and I’m not sure that my tastes (no eggs, no cheese, no pasta salads, no condiments – the list goes on) would produce something that other people would really want to eat. I also have trouble thinking of main dishes or side dishes that I could make in advance and serve cold or easily reheat at work. Desserts, on the other hand, are fun, easier to serve, and please more people overall. Sure, some people don’t like desserts (and I still don’t understand how that can be), but I believe I can make sweet desserts and not-so-sweet desserts equally well. I have confidence in my dessert-making skills, simply because I’ve done it so often.
It’s not fair to have others feed me actual, not-sweet food while I only make what’s fun. I didn’t sign up for a dessert; I wanted to challenge myself. I’ll make desserts on my own – I wanted to make something that I might not make otherwise. It sounded bread would be a good accompaniment to some of the food that would be there. I hadn’t prepared my sourdough starter or I might have tried a loaf of bread, since that’s something that’s hard for me and Alex to eat all of. Instead, I decided to make rolls.
Specifically, I found the recipe for Whole Wheat Butterhorns. I haven’t made many recipes from 101 Cookbooks, but I really enjoy browsing there. She has a lot of yummy-looking whole grain breads that I dream about making someday. This recipe, however, didn’t have a lot of distinctive exciting ingredients, which was perfect because I wanted to make a bread that would go well with whatever other people decided to bring, not something that would stick out too much.
I mixed the yeast and warm water together in the stand mixer bowl, added the brown sugar, oil, honey, salt, and some of the whole wheat flour, and let the stand mixer do the work for me. After the ingredients were mixed together, I added the rest of the whole wheat flour and all the AP flour the recipe called for; I would have added less white flour but the dough needed it all.
I put the dough in a greased bowl and set it on my stove. My oven was running for at least an hour of the rise time, so the dough got lots of happy warm air – I’ve never had bread dough rise so well. After an hour and a half, I divided the dough into 3 balls, weighing them to make sure they were even. They rested for 10 minutes (or perhaps more, as I was making something else in the meantime) before I rolled them out.
This was the easiest time I’ve had rolling out dough into circles. I used a pizza cutter to evenly cut each circle into 8 wedges. I melted butter, little by little, to brush on the butterhorns. I ended up only using about 3 tablespoons on them, rather than the 6 the recipe called for. To form the butterhorns, you roll from the wide end of the triangle toward the peak to form a crescent. I placed them on a Silpat on a baking sheet with the triangle tip tucked underneath the crescent. I let them proof on the stovetop, while it was still warm, for 30 minutes (including while I heated the oven again).
I brushed them with a little milk mixed in the remainder of the melted butter before I put them in the oven. They baked for 15 minutes. I am always finding prettier baked goods and desserts, but I honestly think these are probably the most perfect-looking thing I’ve ever baked.
These were fantastic right out of the oven, as expected. They had a wonderfully soft texture and gentle taste of wheat. I generally don’t like butter, but I think they would have been better if I’d managed to use more butter on them (which I was willing to do, except that it’s difficult to thickly spread melted butter). I don’t think they were quite as good the next day, but everyone at work seemed to really like them. Perhaps the best compliment I got was that they looked too good to be homemade. I saved Alex a few of the ones that were a little over-brown on bottom, and he said they made a delicious breakfast.
These were a great recipe to make. Although I did make them in a stand mixer, I believe they were easy to make for a yeast bread. It came together as the instructions said it would, and there wasn’t a ton of hands-on time aside from mixing and shaping, and the shaping was easy. I would definitely make these again.