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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pav or White Dinner Rolls

There are certain Indian dishes which must be eaten with white dinner rolls rather than a flatbread like chapati/roti or naan. Specially dishes like Pav Bhaji or Vada Pav can only be enjoyed when served along with a this kind of a dinner roll called "pav". These dinner rolls are usually based as one sheet of rolls, so only the top and base of the bread are browned and the sides are soft. In Marathi such a sheet of rolls is called "ladi-pav" and is usually store bought.  The main difference between these rolls and the white dinner rolls that we get in the store here is that the ones found here have a slight sweet tinge.

I made batata vadas recently along with the garlic chutney and I wanted the authentic pav that goes along with it to give it the perfect taste. So, the store bought roll wouldn't do and I decided to make the bread. I used the Amish Country Loaf recipe on the Bob's Red Mill flour bag as a guideline and altered it a little to create rolls out of it rather than a bread loaf. It turned out great and it was fairly easy and quick. After having experienced this great taste after many years, and the fact that it was very easy, I have decided to stick with this recipe and make it whenever I make sure dishes.

3 cups bread flour/all purpose flour
1 cup water
3/4 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

Warm up the water to a luke warm temperature, it should be less than 110F.  Add the water, sugar and yeast to it, stir and keep aside for 5 mins. If you are using a stand mixer or a food processor, you can add it to the bowl of the mixer. Once you see the yeast getting frothy, you will know that the yeast is active and will give a good rise. If the water doesn't turn frothy, and is fairly clear, the yeast is either too old and not active or the water temperature was too high and it has killed the yeast. Discard and start again.

Add salt and oil to the water, stir. Then add the flour about a cup at a time and knead it, till all the flour has been incorporated.  Knead it on low speed in the stand mixer. Use a steel blade if using the food processor.  Knead it till it comes together. Then turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it till the dough is smooth.
If kneading by hand, you will have to knead this for about 10 minutes after the dough comes together.

Place it in an oiled bowl and turn it over in the oil to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise till doubled in size, which will take about an hour. If the weather is cold, if may take a little longer.

Then punch down the dough and knead it again for a couple of minutes. Divide the dough into equal parts and then divide each part into equal parts again till you have 12 pieces of dough. Shape each piece of dough into an oval shape (mine were a little rounder than traditional) and place them in a greased baking tin. The rolls should be spaced out at least about 1.5 inches from each other.  Then cover the tin with a loose plastic wrap and let these rise for 30 minutes. As they rise and expand they will start merging into each other to create a sheet of dinner rolls or ladi pav.

Pre-heat the oven to 450F and adjust the rack to the center of the oven.

After 30 mins, place the tin in the oven and bake these rolls till nicely browned on the top. This takes about 8-12 minutes based on your oven. Check at 8 minutes. Let the tin cool for 10 minutes and then place this sheet onto a cooling rack. Let the bread cool completely before serving. It will be very soft when warm. Pull apart to separate the dinner rolls.

Serve these as white dinner rolls or pav with pav bhaji or vada pav.

If the water temperature is too hot, it will kill the yeast. So, if you are not sure then use room temperature water. Kneading ensures that the gluten strands develop and this is what creates the structure of the bread as it rises. The bowl used for the rise should be big enough to hold the risen dough.


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