Adapted from Heritage Baking (Chronicle Books, 2018) by Ellen King, with Amelia Levin
Like wine, wheat, too, is distinguished by terroir, and the taste and texture of flours will differ depending where grains are farmed. At Hewn bakery in Evanston, Illinois, Ellen King, co-owner/director of baking operations, bakes loaves that highlight the nuances of local heritage varieties, those cultivated pre-World War II. This recipe, from her cookbook, Heritage Baking (due out October 23), showcases the ability of flours to enhance flavor and crumb.
Heritage flour is available online or from specialty retailers, but King encourages using whatever wheats are grown and/or milled in your area.
- 3½ cups heritage flour, like Red Fife or Glenn
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Rosemary butter, for serving (recipe below)
In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, add flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix on low to combine. With mixer running, add egg, milk and ½ cup water. Add butter a few cubes at a time. Mix for 5 minutes, or until butter is incorporated. Fold in rosemary and thyme.
Remove dough from bowl, and knead gently with hands for 1 minute. Return to bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in warm spot for 45 minutes.
Remove dough from bowl. Divide into 12 equal pieces. Working one at a time, use palm to roll against work surface in circular motion until smooth and rounded.
Coat 10-inch cake pan or cast-iron skillet with cooking spray. Place balls about ¼-inch apart in pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rest for 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350˚F. Bake until golden brown, about 24 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Remove rolls from oven. Cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm, with rosemary butter. Makes 12 rolls.
Melt ¼ cup unsalted butter with 1 sprig rosemary in microwave or small saucepan. Keep warm.
Le Briseau 2016 Patapon Pineau d’Aunis (Coteaux du Loire). Bradford Taylor, owner of Diversey Wine in nearby Chicago, stocks shelves with equally terroir-driven bottles. To match the earthy flavor of heritage grains, “I’d seek out an overlooked grape, perhaps Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire Valley,” he says. “[This] is the benchmark example: bursting with resinous spice and violets, it is ripe, dark and charged with mineral acidity. It’s a joy to smell and to drink.”